Glory is a Woman Fully Alive


St. Irenaeus of Lyon is known for the quote, “Glory is man fully alive.” The true quote from his work, Against Heresies, is this “Life in man is the glory of God; the life of man is the vision of God.”

Growing up, I got to witness firsthand what it means for glory to be a woman fully alive.

My mom grew up the eldest daughter of a Baptist preacher. My grandfather made next to nothing as a pastor, so he supplemented income through odd jobs, like following his own father’s footsteps in making pews to adorn churches. Even then, there was very little extra income. Basic needs were barely met, and nothing beyond that. My mom has memories of waking up on Christmas morning to find the Christmas tree covered in tiny hangers of handmade dresses for her doll and for her sister’s doll. These were sewn by their grandmother who had worked on it all year as she gathered bits of fabric. This was the one and only gift for the year. Those doll clothes were well-loved and she still has some of them to this day.

My grandfather was an incredibly charismatic speaker and the church pews were always full on Sunday mornings. He was a very good-looking man with a dry sense of humor. He also had a sexual addiction. As a result of his addiction, my mom’s childhood was never stable—not emotionally, nor physically. She suffered abuse and lived in a constant state of fear of what would happen next.

Growing up, I watched as my mom confronted, wrestled and grappled with her past. I watched as she mustered the courage to seek freedom from fear that had so understandably taken root in her so early on. I watched her get the help she needed to be fully present in her marriage. She broke chains by telling us the truth, so that her daughters did not have to carry the weight of the past, either. I have been a small part—the baker of the cookies, mostly—of the welcome of women into our home, seeking a safe place to tell their own stories and receive support and encouragement.

My mom now runs a non-profit that equips and supports those in leadership, especially women, and I have the privilege of watching glory manifest itself in her life.

What are the lies we as women allow to keep us from living fully? As we enter the holiday season, it can be a time in which those lies are like the perfectly wrapped gift under the tree, poised and ready to be opened. What would it look like if we ignored that particular gift this year?

As an Enneagram 4, I am the queen of wallowing. If you need someone to empathize with you to the point of shared tears, I am here for you. They are real tears—those of an Empath—and it can be a gift. Life has brought some very real, ongoing grief which means I have to lean into it AND lean out of it, the latter often being the harder of the two.

Being a woman fully alive requires courage to rescind that welcome mat to the darkness, and instead, embrace the Light. It requires an investment in those things that makes us feel alive. Or perhaps it is time to start figuring out what it is that makes us feel fully alive. It is not always intuitive to invest in ourselves this way. We hear the term “self-care” frequently, but perhaps we have yet to explore what that looks like when it is customized to fit who we are, let alone admit to ourselves that we are worthy of pursuing it.

As my mom invested in herself and as she replaced darkness with Light, Glory was revealed. Oh, it was and is so beautiful. The ripples of impact are so far-reaching and they are just as powerful within her family.

My mom is fully alive. She is leveraging every ounce of her being to bring glory to God. It radiates in her and through her. My mom understands her own belovedness. She believes that she is worthy of Love—and it is out of that confidence that she is able to pour into the world around her.

Glory is Woman Fully Alive.