The Woman I Represent


Idelette -The Woman I Represent5I represent the woman who knows what it means to be completely out of place. I am the woman who has lost her footing and has found her soul standing naked, like a tree whose branches had been cut off. I am the woman who knows what it means to start from nothing. No friendships. No strength. No dates on the calendar. Only days that stretch into more days for months on end.

I am an immigrant woman.

I am the woman who knows what it means to look for everything: where to buy a pair of scissors in this new country? What brands of medicine work best? Where do I buy a gift for my sister-in-law? I feel incompetent, stupid, even. I feel lost.

I am the woman who has to go into each new store and study it. I have to learn the contents of its shelves, the colours of the brands, the taste and smell of each of them. I am a student of this new place, but I don’t have a teacher or a manual. I have to find my own way. The simplest acts of learning require so much time, so much energy, so much humility.

I am the woman who has to decide which deodorant to use now, which laundry detergent, which shampoo? Where do I buy makeup?

O, dear. Who will cut my hair?

I start from scratch. Bare feet in the dirt. Lonely steps in long aisles. I have to learn who I am in this new place.

I am the woman who knows what it feels like to see people hustling off to work or spending time with friends—people they have known since high school or even elementary school. I watch the comfort of those long relationships and I long for them too. But I also know: those kinds of relationships take time. I remind myself to never ever take these long relationships for granted again.

So I just put one foot in front of the other and I drink tea alone and I scroll through channels on TV to see what’s there to watch. And some days I want to sleep and not get up, because conquering in this new place is tiring. Conquering requires strength and I have long since forgotten what it feels like to be strong.

I am the woman who cries every Sunday night when we watch Touched by an Angel. It unleashes something deep in me … The tears help me to connect with my pain and my longings and everything I am feeling, but don’t even know I am feeling. Because I am walking this out alone. With God, but alone. With my tender husband, but alone.

I am the woman who knows what it feels like to drive on a highway and not know where I’m going, because it’s the very first time I’ve ever driven on this road and I’m driving on the other side of the road, for goodness’ sake. And why is everyone honking at me?

I am the woman who has to take deep breaths and face the fear on every new road. It doesn’t just feel like driving, it feels like conquering. Conquering myself, conquering new roads. I am the woman who cries the first time I drive across the Alex Fraser Bridge, the big bridge that takes me out of my new city for the first time. The bridge that takes me into more unchartered territory. More new places to set my feet.

More of this new land. It’s the first time I’d ever driven on a bridge that size and I wonder if anyone from my home town has ever driven here? It’s the first time anyone in my family has ever been this way.

I learn what it means to make new paths in the desert, God as my Helper. God holding my hand and God cupping my heart … I hold onto God as I grip the steering wheel.

I am the woman who knows the deep loneliness that comes with a new country.

I am the woman who can never drop in for a quick cup of tea with my mom. Or Sunday lunch with my parents. I am the woman who knows how to calculate time zones and teach my parents to use Skype. I am the woman who aches when I see my parents getting older. How will we navigate their sunset season when I live on the other side of the world?

I am the woman who has learned that “home” will never be simple again. I am a woman who has stopped trying to find “where home is” and just accepted that home is where my people are—the people I love—and that is in too many places. Home is everywhere on this big, beautiful planet.

I am the woman who knows that because I speak English, I am so much more privileged than many of my fellow immigrants. I am now the woman who smiles at every other immigrant woman, because I know how hard this is. We need our own kinds of bridges.

I am the woman who learns how Love conquers fear. I am the woman who knows the power of a simple invitation from a new friend. I am the woman who knows the God who meets her in her nothingness and sets her feet upon a Rock.

I am an immigrant woman.


So, my dear SheLovelys, Who do you represent?

Ask yourself this: The woman I represent is …

I’d love to hear your responses! I’ll be reading every one of them.


This question was sparked by the beautiful creators of Gather:Women. I’ve been traveling with this movement across Canada and one of my favourite parts of this day, is a session where Cathie Ostapchuk and Helen Burns ask women, “Who are you?” And, “Which woman do you represent?” Women, just like you and me, line up on the stage and they share a little bit about themselves and the woman they represent. Pass the Kleenex!

I remember the stories and the women’s faces—from Vancouver, to Edmonton and most recently, Montreal. GATHER: WOMEN is coming to Toronto on Saturday, October 2. I would love to see you there! Watch the website for details.

Here are a few pics from GATHER across Canada.



Our theme this month is “Orange.” It’s perhaps a little esoteric, but with deep purpose. We want to spark some fresh ideas. One of our writers, Nichole, shared this as we pondered the theme:

be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire


Let’s be fearlessly in pursuit of what sets our souls on fire.

May this month inspire you, spark fresh ideas, refresh you and restore you. May the God of all Inspiration, fill you with the breath of Heaven itself.



PS: Happy Birthday, Canada! From one of your immigrant daughters.

Idelette McVicker
If you only know one thing about me, I'd love for you to know this: I love Jesus, justice and living juicy. I also happen to drive a minivan and drink my lattes plain. (My life is exciting enough!) Nineteen years ago, I moved from Taiwan to Canada to marry Scott. We have two teenagers, a preteen, a Bernese Mountain dog and a restaurant. (Ask Scott to tell you our love story.) In 2010, I founded and it has now grown to include a Dangerous Women membership community, a Red Couch Bookclub, events and gatherings. I'd like to think of it as curating transformational spaces for women in community. I long for women to be strong in our faith and voice, so we can be advocates for God’s heart for justice here on earth. As an Afrikaner woman, born and raised in South Africa during Apartheid, my story humbly compels me to step out for justice and everyday peacemaking. I have also seen firsthand the impact injustice has had on the lives and stories of women around the world. I refuse to stay silent. I am anti-racist and also a recovering racist. I am a Seven on the Enneagram, an INFP and I mostly wear black, with a dash of animal print or faux fur.
Idelette McVicker

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