If it's possible to be consumed by anticipation and anxiety, as in literally have your stomach lining ruptured by the chemicals causing such combustion, then I am on the verge. As if it's not enough that this entire year-long process has been on my mind for 2+ years and that this launch week has been a secret for over 4 months, the final preparation itself is going to do me in!
My daughter's rites of passage year is beginning.
It's my husband's fault. He studied men in grad school and started a nonprofit to restore men's hearts and then created an elaborate rites of passage for our son 2 years ago and wrote a book about it! To say our girls' expectations have been high would be a gross understatement.
As I have wrestled and studied and researched, I have discovered an enormous gaping hole for moms like me. Um, yeah, I could bury her in sand like a particular Native tribe or sequester her in a tent for a month like certain African cultures or throw a First Moon party. But when I think "rites of passage" I think of SO.MUCH.MORE than periods and purity!
I want to invite my daughter into the company of women- past, present, and future. I want to ground her in the bigger story to which she belongs- God's, our family's, and hers. And I want to create a framework of femininity, a paradigm of being, not a prescription for living.
The biggest story of our family was birthed in Turkey, where Ella herself was birthed. Her narrative begins there, but it is a place that has become hazy and mythical to her. 8 years have passed and it is time to return.
Journey with me as I surprise her with a drive to the airport and reveal a tale through letters. Fellow moms, please read into the intention and my desire to call her to a story worthy of her life. Ignore the details. The place is irrelevant. Our intentionality is what matters.
Here we go!
We’ve taken you out of school for a reason. And you aren’t going back... for a while.
This is the week you turn 12 and we officially mark the launch of Becoming, your “woman year.” You should know we have thought and prayed and wrestled hard for more than a year to prepare for this significant transition. And what’s coming today? Well, today has been in the works for 4 months now.
Let me begin with a story.
I want to introduce you to a woman I have come to adore and who you will grow to understand deeply. Her name means Sojourner, which is fitting as we are beginning a journey which will last your lifetime. For the process of becoming is the journey all women embark upon. Our guide is Hagar.
We first meet Hagar in Genesis 16. Though God has already promised Abram and Sarai too many descendants to count, Sarai loses hope and gives her Egyptian maidservant Hagar to Abram to have a child for her. Even though this was historically and culturally common, I believe poor Hagar began hating Sarai at this point. By the time she is pregnant, she and Sarai are not getting along and it gets so bad Hagar runs away.
So she sets off through the Desert of Shur on the road back to Egypt. She’s pregnant, fleeing her mistress, in a desert and headed back home when God comes to her. And he asks her, “where have you come from and where are you going?” She tells him how badly she has been treated by Sarai and God hears her in her misery, naming her baby God hears or Ishmael. She feels so seen and understood by God that she gives him a name we only see here: God sees or El Roi. This personal, intimate, relational God sees and hears her and engages her in a conversation: where have you come from and where are you going?
Where have you come from Ella?
I believe the answer to this question is vital to the process of becoming. Not only do we need to root you firmly in your story, but I want to invite you into the company of women past, present, and future. You have come from a great legacy of women and an amazing history of God seeing us. It is time to name it. Walk it. Embrace it.
One of the greatest stories ever given to you was birthed in Turkey. If we are going to begin to answer the question, Where have you come from, I believe we need to return to the place where it began.
What do you say? We have a plane to catch!