Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Woman Named Resilient.

She was one of those women that owned the land that her next steps would fall on.  She didn't have a timid bone in her being.  She kept things simple.  She knew her Maker. Knew what she didn't like, and what she did.

And we sat across the Green lady's table, her owning her mug of Joe, me, nervously clutching mine. A posture brought on by some recent blows, some painful lessons.  Afraid to say much of anything, my words slightly slowed due to recent judgements--some right on, some not.

She was, she is, one of those ladies who moves things and shakes things.  And she calls things as they are and she doesn't always call them as everyone in the steeple's shadow calls thing.  But she loves her Jesus, so she's ok with that.

I actually don't really know her all that well. I doubt I will ever occupy a cafe's corner with her again.  But I do know that I 'll never forget her fresh challenge to me.

"You are resilient." She claimed for me.

"You are young.  Learn your lessons. And go after your God-given dreams."

Resiliency? I thought.  No no no.  I shake my head in my head.  Because I'm too scared to take her on right there.  Resilient?  That I must. not. be. because resiliency means stubborn.

And I was too stubborn to admit I was stubborn.

Resiliency painted pictures of the feisty redhead that I was going to refuse to be till the end of my life.

The irony is not lost on me. :)

But I sipped down that coffee, and a hundred cups since, and I have been chewing on that prospect--could I, could we, be resilient, yet teachable?

How do you be strong, yet humble? Tender and changed, yet courageous?

When life knocks the very wind from you -in one big blow or years of small gusts- how do you get up in one (or one thousand) grace-filled strides?

I have been searching for this answer, this resiliency that tastes not of pride or self-will, but of something sweeter. I have been looking for that Women named Resilient.

And I am getting closer to her, learning what makes her her. It seems the more I close in on her, the more I am surprised by who she actually is.

See, if you are like me, you might be tempted to look for the woman standing tallest, with shoulders positioned upright and back.  But you might miss her there. Because the Woman named Resilient might be still regaining her strength. 

She might still be on her knees, or face, from where her accusers, her sin, her life, left her.

You may be looking for the woman who's eyes are searching up and around and always bright, and if so, you might miss her again.  Because this woman I am looking for, I am learning, often has her gaze down, being ever so careful with each step. Not down because she lacks hope, but because the turns of life can come quickly and learning curves can follow tricky paths.

The Woman Resilient has learned that we must keep our eyes focused, that the distractions of everybody's everything is enough to cause us to mis-step. But this woman knows that His Word is a lamp to her feet, and if she doesn't keep her gaze on that very next step, she might wander.

Perhaps resiliency is born when our accusers or our shame or our failures plop us in the canvas of sand at Jesus' feet. 

You and I may be searching for the lady who is so charming and pure that she has silenced every accuser, every foe.  Yea, we won't find her among those pageant queens.  I am starting to believe that Resilient is actually the Woman who has dared to hear what her enemies say.  She has heard them, she has bravely dropped her fists long enough, to listen.  She has asked the horrifying question "What if my greatest accusers were right on?" And this woman, this woman I am searching for, she is quieted for that moment following.  Quieted by the realization that she is capable of great disaster.

But she earns her name in the next. Resiliency is found when she tunes her heart to sing of grace, and how very sweet is that sound.

She mutes out condemnation and hears only the saving sound of Grace Amazing.

That's when the stones drop.  Her fears with them. Relieved by grace.

The woman named Resilient, her jaw isn't set tight, with a rigidness that says "You can't touch me world." I don't think so, at least.  Perhaps she is the woman, the dusty-knee, torn dress woman, who's bottom jaw is trembling.  It trembles first because this world can burn and it can slap us right across our face, but then it trembles all the more because this Love brought her right to the fold of God.

This lady named Resilient is not necessarily on the stage, preaching of great ideas, so don't just look there.  She may get there at some point in her story. But first, check the back closet, because she might be there, humming of an Amazing Grace.

Most importantly, this Woman named Resilient, we won't find her to be the same way she once was. You might be surprised to find that she has actually surrendered who she was, in a very obscure fashion. But I promise you, she is who you hope she is.  It's just that her ability to bounce back anew must first come from a place of surrender, that she might be drawn up out of the dust. 

There IS a resilience that brings life and good. And, very, much joy. I have been surprised that this woman Resilient is quite opposite from what I thought 100 cups of coffee ago.

 Her strength seems to be backwards, it seems to stem not from acquiring, but losing.

 Her posture shaped not by her achievements, but by her blessed losses.

Where I always thought she would have these rough edges of arrogance and egotism, I am starting to believe her edges can be quite smooth--rubbed down by the Amazing Grace.

I know that I am not looking for the woman with her brokenness behind her.  Resilient is not just the woman with her pain or her transition summed up, but the woman who dares believe and trust right in the dad-gum middle of it. Is that how you spell dad-gum?

The Woman Named Resilient is simply the Woman Redeemed. The woman who is standing only because of Grace. Hearing only what Truth lovingly says about her. And acting only in newness, refusing to stay where she was.

And Grace sends her on her way.

 Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.
 The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.
Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.
 Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”
“No one, Master.”
“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”

John 8 The Message (MSG)


  1. Oh man Rebekah, thank you for sharing your very eloquent heart! Very encouraging to me today!

  2. Thank you so much for this beautiful post! This is what I have been pondering upon over many cups of coffee as well and these words, they spoke right into my heart, into my soul with this whole post. It can be so hard at times to know how to be strong and courageous while being humble, teachable, and tender -- especially when it feels like I can't be the woman standing tall but rather I'm finding myself falling on my knees, before the Lord. Thank you for this, for the beautiful hope and encouragement of this post!

  3. Absolutley love your words here! I smiled as I read this, too, because I intentionally seek out these women which you name resilient rather than the speaking voices and the gleaming smiles. I long to connect by heart not by all the other things tht tend to lead me to the wrong places, my flesh is quite deceiving at times. This word, Resilient, it has a story.. a strong one, a deep one, one worth hearing. You may just be writing that story each day as you share it here.