Welcome to Grace and Space, a weekly newsletter from the Deconstructing Mamas Podcast! GRACE for who you have been, are now and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be!
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She stepped off the boat onto the island, her bag clenched in her right hand, a piece of her identity held close to her heart in anticipation of what people might say. She swallowed hard and began walking towards her assigned cabin this year. The one with the best view on the island.
“They will love me” she repeated to herself for the 100th time, “they love God, God loves me, they will love me too”. Her mouth set in a determined grin and she quickened her pace.
The door was open and she pushed her way into the darkened cabin, settling herself on a lower bunk bed. “See” she told herself “you belong right here. These are your people”.
A few days later, eyes radiant and skin glistening with joy, she sat across from her counselor. A safe place, she was told, a loving embrace. She pulled out that piece of her identity she had hidden deep in her heart and held it out meekly. “This is the last piece” she said, “a part of me that I hid for fear of rejection”.
The woman looked at her from overtop of her hands, “That piece has no place here” she said “you weren’t given that, you added it yourself. Let it go before it separates you from God.”
The girl blinked back tears and pulled her hands quickly away. “But this is me”, she said, “all of me. Why can’t you accept that?”
The woman turned towards the door, “theology tells me so”, she said, and turned her back on the sobbing girl.
The woman walked back towards the chapel, quickening her steps to make it before the closing prayer. She knew the formula. She knew the way. She would make sure everyone knew it also.
Behind her in a dimly lit cabin, the girl clung desperately to the God she knew loved her. Her sobs echoed through the camp as a chorus of voices rose from chapel.
Quickly she packed her things and took off towards the boat dock. As she turned around one last time she said to herself “I am beloved. The divine calls me by name and holds me in their hands. Nothing can separate me from that love. I am held. I am cherished. I am safe to be me.”
The chapel chorus rose louder, drowning out the pleas of its occupants to be loved and accepted and held, just as the girl already knew that she was. --Lizz Enns Petters (The Deconstructed Mama) (based on a true story about a young queer Christian friend) P.S. (from Esther) We have been told our flesh is evil and we need to control it. But nothing is worse than being told who you are is evil. This story is just one example among many about the harm and destruction brought on in the name of a theology/god who asks us to actually disembody ourselves. Our summer bonus episode fights that line of thinking and offers us the idea of returning to ourselves, our bodies, that they are good and can be trusted. This Week on the Podcast (**SUMMER BONUS EPISODE**):
Annalise Hume, is our guest on our perfectly-timed summer bonus episode. Annalise is a passionate, creative, down-to-earth mover who loves listening and asking questions to help others recognize the movement of God in their life.
After growing up in Boise, Idaho, she earned a BFA in Dance, spending a year touring with a performing-arts organization in South Africa upon graduation.
Before moving to South Africa, she met an amazing South African who happened to live in Idaho. They got married and landed in Princeton, New Jersey where Annalise earned her MDiv as well as my MA in Christian Education and Formation from Princeton Theological Seminary. After seminary, Annalise felt a deep pull toward training as a spiritual director and completed a two-year Spiritual Direction training program with Oasis Ministries.
Now she teaches, facilitates movement workshops, and offers Spiritual Direction with the hope of helping individuals and groups take steps toward wholeness and flourishing.
In her spare time, you will find her walking around outside barefoot, dancing in the kitchen with her son, watching tennis matches, going to the theater, dreaming up her next trip, and playing with her whoodle puppy. On this episode, Annalise flips the script of a disembodied faith, one where we deny ourselves and try to control our "flesh" (because it is evil) and offers a completely different point of view, one that brings us back into our bodies (because they are sacred) and celebrate them as integral to our experience of faith. Annalise believes that as Christians who confess faith in an Incarnated Christ, the Word made Flesh, our embodied experience must matter and our bodies are central to our human flourishing. This episode will enlighten you and help you to return to yourself. And be prepared right in the middle of it to stop what you are doing as Annalise has you engage in an embodied spiritual practice that will help you discover where you find yourself today. Plus, find out what all this means for parenting in a new way, one that helps children express themselves and lean into the beautiful mystery of how their bodies are the place where their spirits speak (hint: it's the same for us too). Annalise not only provides individual spiritual direction and embodied faith classes, she has a very special group spiritual direction for moms called, "Sacred Companions for the Mystery of Motherhood." You don't want to miss out!! You can find Annalise at the following: Instagram: @embodiedfaithproject
SUPPORT US and Join Our Private Facebook Community Don't forget to sign up for our private and exclusive Deconstructing Mamas community on Facebook for those of you who want to move to the next level with us via our PATREON platform.
At this level, for as little as $3, you can ask questions, experience a safe and welcoming community with others who are deconstructing and receive special surprises along the way from Lizz and Esther.
We've been doing this for several months now and it's been more than we could have imagined. We love it there and think you will too! Head to this LINK to sign up!!
Our podcast guest has all kinds of resources for you!
Individual Spiritual Direction: A Spiritual Direction session is an hour set aside to pay attention to God's movement in and around you. It is a time to search, listen, wrestle, and rest in the Divine.
Together we pay attention to how the Spirit might be nudging, inviting, and healing you. Spiritual Direction enables you to listen to yourself and God. Sacred Companions for the Mystery of Motherhood: Long for a thriving spirituality AND deal with the reality of mouths to feed and butts to wipe?
Desire time for spacious contemplation AND can’t remember the last time you went to the bathroom alone?
Trust that you have inner God-given wisdom AND struggle to hear it above the insta-experts that are so dang put together?
Sacred Companions is a Spiritual Direction Group and book club for moms who desire to parent as a spiritual practice. Embodied Faith Workshops: Weaving together resources from Dance Movement Therapy, neuroscience, theology, and transformative learning theories, I invite people into more holistic and embodied spiritual practices.
Can't wait until Tuesday and need just a little snippet from our podcast episode. Here's something to whet your appetite and hold you over until then!!
One last thing. We want to remind you that we are so glad you are here. We wouldn't be the same without you. You will always find GRACE for where you've been and who you are now, and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be.
Carry on, our new-found friends. Welcome to the twisty-windy, full -of-adventure faith path that's laid out before us all. Love,
Lizz & Esther P.S. SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER HERE!