Monday, July 13, 2015

Edel Recap: Take One {Punching Satan In the Face}

It was a whirlwind weekend, dear readers. The whole Edel Gathering experience seems like it took place over at least a week, but in reality it was just a brief 36 hours. A day and a half of laughing, loving, crying, enduring the heat with the reality that there would not be a shower in the near future, many long-awaited hugs and "selfies," and a few drinks here and there. Maybe.

As an introvert (yes, I really am no matter how crazy I can act!), I know that the fruits from this weekend won't really begin to fully hit me with their best shot until I'm able to revisit all those wonderful moments. I give you below what I call Take One of my reflections from this weekend. Knowing how my mind works, you can fully expect that as the experience unfolds over the next several days and weeks, there will be more. But first up, a look at punching satan in the face. Thank you Kelly Mantoan for that image. My life (and my family's) is forever changed.

I was on my final flight with a tiny shrapnel of battery life left on my phone and this came across my Twitter and Instagram feed:
“Extremists have shown what frightens them most: a girl with a book.” - @malalafund
I knew right then what I needed to write about first, because satan is an extremist when it comes to trying to lure us away from the love of God. Enter the Edel Gathering. Ladies, it's clear that satan be running scared given all the hiccups and hijinks we all experienced leading to and during our time together.

Satan has shown us what frightens him this weekend. A hotel full of life-giving, soul searching, faithful women of God coming together to build community, however sweat-drenched and showerless they may be. In this community we find the Aaron and Hur to our Moses, the ones who will hold us up when the battle makes us tired. We find our Veronica, who wipes us clean when we have fallen and the tears have stained our faces. We find that soft, gentle breeze whispering the truth of God as we peek out of our caverns (or bathrooms) where we have barricaded ourselves amid life's storms. We find our people. Our tribe. Our family. Ourselves.

We find Him who our soul loves, and Who loves our whole being to death and back to life again.

Gazing at the Lover of my soul as He gazes upon me.
God is calling us through this experience of sisterhood with a smattering of women, of His daughters, to go back to our homes and build sacred space for the sisters in our backyards. He is calling us to be the face of joy, but to open our arms to shelter our sisters' sorrows. He is calling us to share our weirdness with the world (within measure of course) so all our sisters know they belong.

Why? Because God knows darkness fears a woman of light.

Satan fears us because he knows God has made us to build cathedrals and to nurture temples where His Holy Spirit resides. Satan knows that when we come together and shed ourselves of false piety and the facade of propriety and begin to build places where it is safe to air out our wounds and bring our shame to the light, we will no longer live in that wounded shame but be stronger in Christ. Satan knows when women come together in unity and solidarity that we give each other the strength to take our spirit, our gifts, our life-giving love back to our families and build them up to fight another day.

Sister in Christ joined together in prayer outside the AME Emmanuel Church
where nine people were senselessly murdered. Mercy and grace won. Praise God!
What does all this mean in the context of our own lives, though? As tempting as it may be because we are conditioned by our structured environments, I don't think it means we go home and create more women's groups and fellowships. It just isn't enough.

One of the fruits of Edel in my own heart has been a desire to love my people better. I want serve my people better. I want the idea of loving better not to be just an abstract thought of what we need to do as disciples in a broken world, but rather a desire that is grafted into my DNA that spurs me to action despite my own brokenness and selfishness. Who are my people? They are God's people, so . . . all people.

Maybe, just maybe, this desire is about keeping our eyes open to notice those around us who seem weary and worse for the wear. Maybe it is reaching out in those moments just to let them know they are not alone, that whatever they are facing, God is with them, and we can be too. Maybe, it is being humble enough to admit when that person is us and being willing to raise the white flag of surrender and shoot up an SOS to our tribe. Maybe it is sitting outside an empty ballroom and making that a safe space to let down our walls and just be, so we can laugh and cry and say things we shouldn't, and the one thing we should: me too, sister, me too.

We do all this within our vocations and to strengthen our vocations, not hiding from our womanhood, but embracing the beauty and variety within it. We shatter that notion that there is one way for holiness to look as a woman because satan wants to trap us there to trick us into thinking we are not enough. He wants to cajole us into desiring another life instead of surrendering in thanksgiving to the one we have so we can set the world on fire. The only fire he wants is the fires of hell. What I am convinced of this through this weekend is that when you get a group of faithful, honest women together, you can unleash the fire of the Holy Spirit and with that fire we can light the world out of darkness into the bright, burning light of the love of God.

We may not have started the fire, Billy Joel, but we know Him who did and we can keep it going until the whole world is ablaze!

Let's get out there and love 'em like Jesus! 

Short PostScript:

{Husbands - please do not feel excluded. You hold our hands, dry our tears, face our anger with steadfast love, dream our dreams, and fight alongside us. And yet, there are some parts of us that for all the tea in India, just mystify you. Admit it - there are times when we make zero sense. This is where the sisterhood comes in for you. Just send them in and breathe easy, dear man. Breathe easy.}

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  1. I love it! It was so lovely to meet you at Edel! :) Let's keep punching the devil in the face.

    1. Thanks, Emily! It was a pleasure. :) Can't wait to see what is in store for us all!

  2. Rakhi, you're a firework! Love this recap! Looking forward to the next part. So great to meet you in person this weekend.

  3. Beautiful, Rahki. So so good to meet you. ❤️

    1. Thanks, Micaela. It was wonderful to meet you, too! Sorry I didn't come find you on Friday! :)

  4. You worked Billy Joel into an amazingly introspective, thoroughly heartfelt post about spiritual warfare and the power of the Holy Spirit. SO GRATEFUL to call you my friend!

  5. Squee! I found a new to me blog while looking for Edel posts! Sounds like a great time...take that Satan!

  6. Rahki, I love your reflections of the weekend and I think it is so appropriate that you got the St. Catherine of Sienna medal, like myself, because you are ready to set the world on fire for the love of Christ! I'm sorry I wasn't able to meet you at Edel, but I'm so glad we are in the same Saint Medal Sisters group! :) God bless!

  7. Rakhi, HOW have I not seen your blog until post Edel? It's fantastic, and your wrap of of Edel puts into words a lot of what I experienced. Bummed I didn't get a picture with you in the lobby. Thanks for leading that procession to the church. I spent the time in tears-it was a very powerful moment.

    1. Thank you so much, Lydia! It was such a pleasure to have met you, and we really should have gotten a picture together in the lobby before prayer. Ah well - next time! I was moved by seeing how emotional you were when we were praying there. What a beautiful heart you have.