God, Adam Levine, My Faith Formation Director, & YES Girls

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE “YES” GIRLS

THE WORLD NEEDS YOU TO EXPLORE AND EMBRACE YOUR FEMININE GENIUS.

What does this mean to you? What does it mean to me? And how in the world did Adam Levine show up here?

Hang with me for a moment and I may make some sense here.  (no promises, though)

A quick aside question. Are you listening? Not to me, right now. I mean to God. Do you hear him? Have you ever heard him? If you said, no, my guess is you just haven’t realized it yet. Not because you are not spiritually enlightened.  It’s just part of your journey. It doesn’t come from a mega phone voice from the clouds like the modern movies want us to believe. But he’s there. He is constantly trying to connect with us, and He can come to us in so many ways.  And, I’ve heard him.  It took me a while to be aware of the ways he comes to me, and a couple weeks ago I’m positive he spoke to me through two different men around the same time. The faith formation director’s message at my church and Adam Levine. God shows up a lot for me in conversations with others, things I read, music… My favorite (cue eye roll and sarcasm), though, is when I’m yelling at my kids at the top of the lungs. Those times I scream when I’m trying to get them to be nice or teach them something they’re being boogers about. That’s the best. I’m stubborn. I admit. So if I’m in a state of frustration or resistance and God is trying to get my attention, but I’ve got my fingers in my ears, saying “nana nana naaaah naaah, I can’t hear you, God,” he often presents his lesson so blatantly to me as I am screaming a lesson on kindess, communication, or forgiveness to my kids that I catch myself saying, “Gotchya, God. That was actually for me.”  I think he has tried other subtle ways, but, yeah, I can be a hard head sometimes, and it’s not my natural tendency to “be still and know.”  I’m a work in progress. I do think that these screaming lessons to myself have helped me have a keener awareness of God trying to reach me…………..so before I digress anymore……..let me make some connections to my faith formation director and Adam Levine.

I attended a lecture series by the faith formation director at my church that included the study of women in the gospel of Luke. You know what I learned about the early women who approached Jesus?

They had COURAGE. FAITH. COMPASSION. CONNECTION.  HOSPITALITY. They  were part of the “YES” GIRL CROWD. They illuminated FEMININE GENIUS.  

I don’t have time to tell all their stories, but I hope you’ll go read them. (disclaimer: These are my notes from the lecture, so if there’s an error in any “truth,” it’s due to my note-taking)

THE ULTIMATE “YES GIRL” – Mary, the mother of Jesus. She receives unbelievable, incredibly news and immediately COURAGEOUSLY ACCEPTS her call.

She CONNECTS with another “yes” girl, her cousin, Elizabeth, and they CELEBRATE their “yeses” together.

Even with her courageous “yes,” Mary goes on a FAITH JOURNEY as Luke reminds us at key points in this gospel story that she “kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (2:19) and “treasures all these things in her heart.” (2:51) Through these pauses, Luke hints that Mary, too, internalized and worked through, in real time, all that was happening to her and her son. She models for us COURAGE, FAITH, SUFFERING, and CALLING. We can look to Mary as a role model of what the life of a “YES” girl looks like.

Luke tells multiple stories of YES women. 

Peter’s mother-in-law is cured, arises, and SERVES.

Jesus raises a widow’s son—a woman who was VULNERABLE and in DESPAIR still can be SEEN and HEARD and helped because of her FAITH.

Jesus cured the woman with the hemorrhage of 12 years, not because He is so great (which He is) but because of HER FAITH. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve suffered, how wonderfully miraculous Jesus’ healing powers are if you don’t have FAITH.

Jesus shows COMPASSION and FORGIVENESS to the sinful woman who breaks social codes to show LOVE and RESPECT to Jesus. She is forgiven because of her FAITH. YES girls show love and respect despite their circumstance.

YES girls were among the first DISCIPLES of Jesus and traveled with Him. Luke mentions by name: Mary Magdalene, Jo-Anna, Susanna… and “many others who PROVIDED for them out of their means.” (8:2-3) Women not only served ALONGSIDE Jesus and men, they supplied PROVISONS. YES girls provide for the needs of others.

Martha and Mary…YES girls FOCUS on what MATTERS and release their distractions.

The woman and the lost coin…Jesus REJOICES in every YES girl who REPENTS, no matter how long they have been LOST.

The widow and the unjust judge…YES girls have UNRELENTING FAITH

The poor widow donates two coins….YES girls have ABUNDANT GENEROSITY because they have FAITH

YES girls followed Jesus to the cross. Jesus stops to speak to these women. These women are the first at the tomb, and even though the men doubted upon first hearing of Jesus’ rising, the women did not. YES girls have steadfast FAITH even in dark and scary times.

Somewhere in the middle of the lecture, I heard the words, “These women not only had faith, they had the courage to say it and show it.” It might as well been a loud booming voice from the clouds above, but no, it was the formation director.

What God knew is that on that day I was struggling with expressing my faith in community with others and I needed encouragement. I have clearly felt a message to connect to others who want to exercise their faith muscles, but have felt stuck, unworthy, unqualified, scared. God knew I needed a bombardment of examples and a CLEAR message—These women not only had faith, they had the courage to say it and show it. Side note. I had just chosen COURAGE as my word of the year.  It was evident that these exact words from the speaker were a gift for me.

The following day, I was listening to music and Adam Levine’s “Girls Like You” popped into my stream…. “girls like you run around with guys like me ‘Til sundown, when I come through, I need a girl like you, yeah yeah” and I couldn’t help but think of the ladies at the empty tomb and the men who first questioned their faith in Jesus’ resurrection. These women who were healed by Jesus, served alongside Jesus, walked with him to the cross, and were the first to profess his resurrection even when the men doubted, were there when the guys finally came through. Ok—so not technically the same as Levine’s “girls,” but it made me giggle and pause at the idea.

My intention is not to bash men. Many of the other stories speak of men and their faith. But this gospel gives light to so much FEMININE GENIUS and many times it was the woman who illustrated faith first or in spite of being unworthy, unqualified, scared, or not of proper social status.  And whether it is your health, finances, a relationship, a season of life—it’s going to take “a girl like you” to be there when “it” comes through.

I don’t always see the answers to my prayers in the near future. I don’t always see that my prayers are the correct things to ask for.  I may feel hopeless in a relationship, situation, or season of life, but God is showing me more and more that being a YES girl means having COURAGE to accept a CALLING and to do it with UNRELENTING FAITH, even when I don’t see light at the end of the tunnel or I feel scared and alone. It takes SERVICE, REPENTENCE, GENEROSITY, FORGIVENESS. I believe He’s showing us that it’s equally important to CONNECT with other YES girls to celebrate each other’s unique YES.  Help each other develop our unique GIFTS so that they can be shared with the world.  It takes a strong woman to encourage and sustain another strong woman. When you take up your YES, you give others permission to do the same.

Because many women before me have lived out their feminine genius and embraced who God created them to be, I feel an honor and responsibility to do the same in my life. Someone is counting on me to say YES, and I haven’t even met her yet.

A sometimes difficult but important questions I have to ask myself is “How can I live out my faith?” and “With whom is God asking me to connect?” I know I cannot do it alone.

So I am inspired by and grateful for a community of faithfully strong YES girls that is growing by the day, supporting me to become a better version of myself than I was yesterday.


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