SheLoves 2018: Reflecting on the Year of Power

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In the summer, Scott and I carried a couch out of a two-storey home to the U-haul truck we’d rented. It was a sectional that came in three pieces and I honestly hadn’t thought of bringing help along. I figured we could easily do it. It turned out, one piece of this sectional was eight feet long.

It was in the middle of carrying this Beast piece of furniture that we stopped on the lawn and I confessed to him: I guess I am not as strong as I thought I was. 

When I think of this year, that sentence rings through the days and the nights and the weeks and the months. I am not as strong as I thought of was. I am finally admitting that I can’t do everything. No more all-nighters. No more marathon sessions to finish a project. I am learning the beginning and the ends of my own power.

My One Word for 2018 was Power, but I never publicly shared my One Word before this month. It was something I kept close to my heart and just watched as the Spirit worked it out in my life. To be honest, it didn’t begin to make sense until this month, when I started reflecting on the year and this word.

At the beginning of 2018, I wrote a vision statement that was about my personal life—including fresh paint and a new couch in our living room—as much as it included the life of SheLoves. But now I see how Power was woven throughout my story and this story of SheLoves this past year.

THE ENDS OF MY OWN STRENGTH

If you had asked me before what gifts I have, I could name a few and one of them would always have been: I am strong.

I have always been strong. I can carry heavy loads—physically and emotionally. I can share the burden. I can go and go and go and go. I have relied on my strength, knowing that if it came down to the push, I could dig deep and my strength would rise. I imagined the Spirit worked with my strength to do what we needed to do in the world.

Standing on that lawn, next to a couch that I didn’t think I could lift any longer, I had reached the end of my own strength. My power. I can no longer get through on pure strength. I am getting older. My body needs sleep. My back can’t carry as much. I can’t sit for hours on end. I am needing and learning to embrace the “unforced rhythms of Grace.”

Ironically, as I am learning the ends of my own strength, I am connecting with the Power of Love. I am asking for help. I am appreciating the love and support from our incredible team in this work. I am seeing others rise in their strengths and their power. Of course, it reminds me of that African proverb:

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Here’s what I learned during my year of Power: The Power of Love lived out in community can begin to dismantle the powers of injustice.

THE STRENGTHS OF OTHERS

Kathleen Bertrand joined our team at the end of December last year. Kathleen is gifted in areas where I am weakest. She is organized, loves administration, keeps lists, makes lists, finishes lists. PLUS she has a lot of heart and wisdom. Kathleen brought a new strength to our community as Submissions Editor, with vision to get new and different projects off the ground.

Kathleen Bertrand is our Submissions Editor and a powerhouse team member.

It had been on my heart for quite a while to train up leaders and start SheLoves Circles, based on the original Circle that started in my home nearly 10 years ago. We have seen so much Goodness and Beauty from that original Circle over the years, we longed to offer that to others as well. So, thanks to Kathleen, we trained some fabulous Circle Leaders in the summer and then launched our first SheLoves Circles in September. I remember feeling like my heart was about to burst—like I was stretching and stretching—but Kathleen was so calm, organized and on task, we actually made it happen.

Then 78 women sign up to become part of SheLoves Circles! Now we have eight Circle Leaders who lead 10 groups in different cities across North America and online. This includes a circle as a safe space for LGBTQ2S+ persons.

If you’d like more information about SheLoves Circles, check this out. 

THE POWER OF REJECTION

For the longest time, one of my biggest fears has been rejection. It’s hard to start a membership community and not face that Fear head on. Every time somebody joined our Dangerous Women Tribe, I wondered when they would leave. Every time somebody left, I felt the sting of it. I carried it in a personal way. Meanwhile, we were finding our feet, figuring out our DNA, building community. When the one-year anniversary of the Dangerous Women Tribe came around, I was terrified of members leaving. Some left, but so many stayed.

Then a very close friend rejected me. She could no longer be around me. It felt like my world came crashing down. I went inward to process. I cried. I read. I prayed. I journaled. And I pulled out the water color paints. I processed. I sat by the water. I kept going. And as the months passed, I began to heal.

In all of this, I have begun to build some rejection muscles. And instead of fearing the ones who leave, I began to focus my attention on the ones who need what I—and especially our community—have to offer.

I am grateful that I am walking on a journey of reconciliation with that special friend. Love always remains. But I have also learned some valuable lessons in the process this year. I have faced the power of Rejection. Rather than fearing what will happen if I show up fully, I choose to focus that energy on the positive: Creating communities of Love who care about injustice together.

THE POWER OF COMMUNITY

Our SheLoves teams astound me. In December, we had a SheLoves Media Society Board meeting and some of the initial team members and friends gathered on a Zoom call, along with current Board and team members. Seeing their faces brought such a feeling of warmth, friendship and solidarity. We could not have come to this place without every one who has brought us to this place. And we couldn’t move along as we do without the strengths of the people who carry this community currently. We have an incredible team.

Night after night, five days a week, Chervelle Richards adds a graphic to the post. Plus: she creates monthly graphics to illustrate our themes. She brings her creativity and her faithfulness. It is an incredible gift to work with someone like her, knowing she is there, doing what she does best.

The talented—and gorgeous—Chervelle Richards.

Our Daily Editors bring their strengths and their presence. I feel so fortunate to work with Leslie Verner, Leah Abraham, Holly Grantham and Claire Colvin. We meet every month on a Zoom call and it is one of my favourite times all month. These women are not just faithful team players, they bring their wisdom, their gifts and their unique perspectives on the world. We also begin the discussion around the next month’s editorial theme, so the themes get a richness to them as each person adds her story and vision.

Annie Rim is our Red Couch Bookclub Editor and also joins us for those monthly editorial team meetings. Her presence has meant that our editorial themes are aligned with our Bookclub picks. Then these themes become the main discussion points at the SheLoves Circles. And I am so excited about reading these incredible books together in 2019!

Together, we have seen the power of cohesion. From the Bookclub to the editorial team, to Circle Leaders to Circles. We are finding our rhythm together, pulling towards a common goal every month.

I am also grateful for our Dangerous Women Team. In December, Shaley Hoogendoorn, Nichole Forbes and Courtney DeBoer launched the “12 Days of Dangerous Women” to promote our beautiful community. I loved seeing the creativity and it’s women just like them who make me so grateful to walk this journey. (Be sure to follow us on Instagram!)

Some of the fabulous and significant initiatives we launched in the Dangerous Women Tribe this year, included:

  • Each One, Teach One: where members share something we can teach on without notes or preparation
  • Dangerous Prayer, with Diane Down
  • Three Worlds of the Text, with Nicole Joshua

Diane Down took us under her wing to teach us the ins and outs of “Dangerous Prayer.”

Nichole Joshua taught us the “Three Worlds of the Text.”

I love love love the women we get to walk with in our Dangerous Women Tribe. These women inspire me daily with their courage and wisdom. I also finally feel like I’ve found my groove with the newsletter, now that it is weekly. (It’s only taken me 18 months to figure that out!) There are such rich discussions in the Facebook group and I love when we hop on a Zoom call together. If you’d like to join us, check this out. 

FACING THE POWERS OF INJUSTICE 

We started 2018 off with a gathering we called “The Embodied Woman.” We partnered with the brilliant Hillary McBride and gathered some powerful voices to talk about what it means to be a woman in a body.

The fabulous and brilliant Hillary McBride.

O, so grateful to have been in the company of these brilliant women. From left to right, top to bottom: Tina Francis Mutungu, Trisha Baptie, Tara Teng, Cheryl Bear, Hillary McBride, yours truly, Idelette, and Leah Abraham. #EmbodiedWomen

We heard from Cheryl Bear about what it means to be a woman in an indigenous body, Leah Abraham on what it means to be a minority woman in a body, Trisha Baptie on what it means to be a woman in an objectified body and so much more. We gathered on a weekend we then affectionately called “The Snowpocalypse” in Vancouver. There was So. Much. Snow. But those who had signed up, came. We had hard conversations—about racism and objectification, but also beautiful conversations about empowerment and change. We learned that dismantling systems of injustice is hard. It is not the next sexy thing to sign up for. Those conversations require a lot of trust, time to process and space to be. It also requires our willingness to learn and make mistakes. I realized that this is something we are in for the long haul.

Leah Abraham was one of our speakers at Embodied Woman and she is also our Tuesday Editor and regular contributor on SheLoves.

A special shoutout to Shaley Hoogendoorn. We hosted three big and meaningful events this past year and we could not have done it without her initiative, tenacity and leadership. She is another person who adds her strengths and her story to our community and I am so ridiculously grateful of her.

In March, we hosted an intimate Kairos Blanket Exercise for our SheLoves team and a few friends. This exercise is a powerful way to experience some of the pain and injustices done to indigenous people in Canada. If you would like to learn more, check it out here. 

In April, several of our team members and friends got on a plane to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Together, we attended the Atamiskakewak National Gathering, created and hosted by our friend Kallie Wood. We shared hotel rooms and daily we learned about the injustices against indigenous people. We heard painful stories, we learned from the wisdom of the Elders, we laughed, we cried, we showed up. Then we had the incredible privilege to host an evening of stories we called SheLoves Reconciliation. Our friend Sarah Bessey joined us in Moose Jaw and I will never forget when Nichole Forbes told her story and the room gave her a standing ovation, as she owned her identity as a Metis woman.

We had communion with bannock made by Nichole’s daughter, and water from the Red River in Winnipeg and Jesus was present in the most beautiful way.

At the end of the night, we all stood in a circle—storytellers and listeners all connected in the Larger Story. I was so moved, because the story of my growing up life, is marked by separation. That night, I truly felt the power of solidarity.

Sisterhood, stories and solidarity in Moose Jaw, SK.

I love these women—even after spending a whole week with them in Moose Jaw, SK. Here we are with Moose Jaw’s very own Moose.

We have a long road ahead of us—in Canada and around the world—but every time we gather in the spirit of unity and Love, I pray we dismantle structures built on hierarchy, racism and greed.

As a community, we have raised funds for Skyesong Alexis and International Justice Mission, Canada. Through the Dangerous Women Tribe, we have also contributed to Rescue Pink and Honour Consulting.

I have more dreams for our future together, but I don’t want to do bigger things, without walking together in the small things with Great Love.

If you had asked me at the beginning of the year, what this word “Power” would be about, I probably would have talked about unjust powers and connecting with our strengths to dismantle them. Instead, I learned my weaknesses and I saw how the power of Love, lived out in community, can overcome the love of Power.

It is not about just one of us standing up against injustice. It is about all of us walking out this journey of Life and Love, together, awake to and aware of the injustices around us and working together to create a different world. That is the power of Love I want to sign up for every day.

With Love,
Idelette

xo

PS: Our foundational Scripture when we started SheLoves was from Psalm 68:11: God gives the word of power and throngs of women carry the good news. May we continue to carry these words of power—truly—from the heart of Creator God, to the edges of the earth.

This beautiful calligraphy is by Justine Hwang of It Just Flows. We gave this version and several others as a download to our Dangerous Women Tribe for Christmas. When you join, you can download it as well. We’d love to walk more closely with you!

 

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Idelette McVicker
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women. I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. My word last year was “roar” and I learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice. This year, my own word is “soar.” I have three children and this place–right here, called shelovesmagazine.com–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago. I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at idelette.com and tweet @idelette.
Idelette McVicker

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