|"When A Woman Finds Her Voice" by Jo Ann Fore|
|Jo Ann Fore|
Jo Ann is passionate about seeing lives changed, turned around, and then, when ready, to give back so that more lives can be changed, turned around, and then when ready, to give back so that more lives can be changed, turned around, and then when ready, to give back ... and the snowball will gather momentum and force and THERE WILL BE REAL LIFE VICTORIES for women--women who could really use a hand-up--the real reason for her writing the book. ... She's a woman on a mission. And so am I. She speaks for the same reason I speak. We both have something to say. We want others to capture our excitement ... and the truth that will set them free.
THE PERSON who has been there, who has the scars to prove it, and has emerged as a lovely witness of the transforming grace of God; this person has in-effect gone through a metamorphosis. This transformation can be likened to the life stages of the butterfly. An ordinary caterpillar intent on living life as it must be lived but only partially the creature it is meant to be, not particularly attractive, in time enters into its cocoon. While in its cocoon a time of waiting takes place. For us, it is in the wait-time that something begins to happen, it is where one heals and transforms in the inside-you where no one except God can see as a miracle of transformation is making something new out of the old. At just the right time, a remarkable you re-enters life, a much-different looking and acting creature altogether, with a beauty that shimmers like an elegant glistening butterfly. Like our friend the butterfly, one of the loveliest of all creations, one has to go through a process to get there.
The tragedy would be to never complete the metamorphosis.
A COUPLE of years ago, my teenage daughter and I were in the middle of collecting insects for a science class project. She had to identify insects, preserve and mount them. Having been through this same assignment with her four older siblings, I wasn't looking forward to it. Some insects refuse to be caught. One Saturday, she and I took our handmade butterfly net and collecting supplies to the walking trails by the Sacramento River. It was such a lovely warm fall day. Every time we circled the loop on the north trail we would see two swallowtail butterflies flying in and out of the hanging vines. The butterflies were black with neon blue markings. Gorgeous creatures. It took us many attempts before we finally managed to capture one. It was exceptionally beautiful. Next, we scrambled over the creek banks at Bidwell Park. There we found a yellow swallowtail butterfly and many moths. Some were canary yellow, others orange striped, and there were several tiny white moths with eye-ball-looking dots on the wing tips. It ended up being an adventure. The poison oak found me, too! I am sure that those moths and butterflies delighted in not being caterpillars once they found their wings.
AS ONE woman who has had some difficult steps in my metamorphosis to become a butterfly, I can tell you that it's pretty wonderful once you emerge out of the cocoon of pain and into who you were always meant to be. Not that the problems all subside, they don't, but the problems no longer own you. A healthier you can face them down. One must have a few tools in the toolkit, recognize the obstacles for what they are, and know you have a God big enough for the job. And some praying friends. It doesn't get easier. None of it is easy. Easy isn't the right word. But, what it is is freeing. My path was different than Jo Ann's but I can tell that her and my healing have many of the same components. It took us to decide to be willing, to want it, the courage, tenacity, stick-to-it-tive-ness to see it through, and a work of God within us. Some other people came in and out of our lives to guide us on the journey.
WE WOMEN are as different at the many butterflies. Like them, WE ARE MEANT TO FLY. For me, my hurts were emotional in nature. The wounding was deep enough that it was hijacking my enjoyment of life. Of course, I didn't know this for a long time. I just wondered why I wasn't able to be happy or feel joy in the inner me. God used his clean clear mirror to show me my hidden places so that I could recognize the issues for what they were. You see, we can't always see ourselves correctly especially when we are sincere Christians living good lives. The void isn't always recognizable. But, if you have inner hurts, and they haven't been healed or purified, they reside behind the mask no matter your spiritual depth. When push comes to shove, this inner pressure of unresolved issues and unhealed hurts can make a person harsh or irritable, uptight, and for some, explosive and controlling, or depressed and withdrawn.
Cleanse my heart, O God, make it ever pure. You are the potter, I am the clay.
During my "wait" cocoon that took a couple of years, I gave up my inner hurts to God while He revealed them to me one by one. I asked Him to help me. He came in and gave me a new identity in those areas, removing their strangle-hold. Many of the areas had to do with loss. God had to free me from the inner anguish that had lain dormant in me. Slowly it died. Joy began to bubble up. The pain rarely surfaces now. Most of it is gone, cleansed by our Savior's healing touch. Willingly I share my lessons-learned and hope-found. I ask God to send people over my way who need what I have to offer. Then I ask Him to give me the words. He always does. What a beautiful God-sized miracle of His grace.
I THINK you should buy Jo Ann's book. Whether you have internal hurt or not, it is an excellent book to show what other people go through, and how God works in their lives to bring them to wholeness and healthier lives. I'm following its message, that it is time for we as women to open up, to begin talking and sharing what God has done in our lives. Blessings to you all,
Norma L. Brumbaugh
Amazon Book Link is Here