Dear Baby Girl

You’re a young girl, a teen, a child to some, but soon you will be continuing further on the strange and glorious journey of womanhood.

There are so many things I would write you about this journey, and many are things you will learn for yourself, in time. But for now, I write to you, sweet girl, regarding this one aspect of your being that is the most beautiful thing about you, yet sadly sometimes the most difficult…

You are a woman.

You’re also a human being, and a unique and precious soul, but as well as all this, you are a female – a woman.

And while this a wonderful thing, it’s also a tough thing, baby girl, because we live in a world that is often subject to the various mistaken beliefs and thoughts that permeate it. And sometimes, somehow, the end result will leave you thinking that you – a girl, a woman – are not such a wonderful thing after all.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

You deserve respect.

Does this annoy some? Then they have forgotten that it was one of our kind who bore them into this world with sweat and pain and tears and blood. They have forgotten that we all – men and women – are irrevocably bound by our mutual humanity.

Like me, you will not understand why this holds no sway in the realms of safety and wages and rights. We, as women, have to fight for these and more. But it does not change the fact that all of humanity, with its mash of gender and colour and religion, still boils down to one thing – human beings.

The world may have an issue with your femaleness, but they can never do anything about your humanness.

You manifest intelligence.

Does this affront some? Then they have not read the works or heard of the inventions or felt the impact of women’s minds in unhindered action.

There is so much evidence of powerful intelligence – female intelligence – that has disrupted this world with brilliance and blasted enlightenment through murky clouds of slow advancement.

Intelligence runs through the veins of our gender, baby girl – and yes, of the male sex too. Yet it seems unfeasible to some that we, as women, could ever match the intelligence of our male counterparts. Such people evaluate intelligence based merely on the gender of the intellectual.

Ironically, the only thing that can measure one’s level of intelligence is, well, the level of their intelligence…

You have a voice

Does this frustrate some? Then they have not heard clearly the voices of the women who have gone before us and who have changed their communities, their countries, and even the world with the strength of their voices.

Or perhaps it pains them not only to hear a woman’s voice added to the fray, but also to witness the rippling effects of her sound waves. Such thinkers will wonder, darling girl, how it is that you, a woman, can combine your beliefs and passions and skills, put your voice to a cause, and soaringly – inconceivably – perform. Yet perform you will.

Could it be that the reason we women are oppressed and suppressed and repressed is simply due to fear? Could it be that the world is afraid of women who will not be held back by their gender?

The mystery may remain, but it cannot muffle the worldwide chime of our voices in full chorus.

So sing loud, baby girl. Sing loud and clear.

You are worthy

Does this pop the gender-gap bubble? Then they have not realised that hundreds of thousands of women and men are with us on this stance.

For every “woman oppressor” that rants, you and I are affirmed and acknowledged by many more people as having obvious value in society, the workplace, the home. As women, we have a unique viewpoint, bringing freshness and insight into the world.

Believe it, baby girl. Because that is the secret of your unwavering confidence in the very thing that they would like to cripple you with – you are a woman. And that is a part of your worth.

You are not alone

You are part of a long line of extraordinary ordinary women. Women who were not defined by their status. Who dared to see beyond themselves with courage and love. Who stood bravely for the good of others, regardless of whether the “others” were male or female.

Their legacy is your legacy, beautiful girl.

Remember this whenever you face the anti-feminist backlash, or dare to seek equal pay, or boldly speak out on behalf of your sisters around the world.

You are not alone.

You are a woman

By default, this means you will be forced to take a stand. Against oppression and disrespect. Against domestic abuse. Against the gender wage gap. Against any gap that has nothing to do with competence or confidence, and everything to do with differences in beliefs, or skin colour, or the pathetic excuse of gender.

It seems unfair that you and I have no choice but to fight for the bridging of the gaps. We didn’t choose this war. We don’t want to have to prove ourselves over and over.

But when the going gets tough, baby girl, stand tall and remember…

Yes, you are a woman

Smart? You bet. Worthy of respect? Definitely. Deserving of equal pay? Of a voice? Of genuine affirmation as a human being?

Yes, yes and yes.

Go change the world, beautiful woman

Dedicated to all women who are underpaid, undervalued and underestimated, simply because they are the beautiful truth: “Yes, I am a woman.” #heforshe

First published on Christian Today: Dear Baby Girl

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Gold Dust

The rain trickled down the car window in shiny rivers, blurring the outside world into a grey, muffled cocoon.  My brother drove silently; my two sisters slept, and I, in the back seat, also kept the silence, lost in my own thoughts after a long and tiring day.

I leaned my head back against the seat and watched the smudged cars and blinking city lights whirl past in the melting twilight. A music album I didn’t know was playing in the background, and I half-listened to the unfamiliar tunes, my ears slurring the words in my tired state. But despite the peace of the quiet car and the soft music, it seemed that my mood was being coloured by the day outside, and my thoughts gradually became more and more grey.

The droplets drummed on the roof, the wheels swished through the rain, and the tears began to pool as I shivered, suddenly cold, suddenly caught in a flurry of hurried and hurting thoughts. Then one phrase throbbed heavily into my heart, as I gazed out at the crying landscape:

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“I am not worth keeping.”

The thought was as unexpected as it was painful, and in seconds my mind had flown back over buried memories – memories I had thought were hidden for good. Memories of friendships lost, of trust broken, of painful misunderstandings… all gathered to accuse me with the nagging thought, the frightening feeling that I was too easily cropped out of others’ pictures.

I staggered emotionally through the haze of flashbacks and fears. Could all this hurt still dwell in me? Could all this pain still cut so deep?

The tears poured hot and silent down my cheeks. The rain poured frigid and dark in a cloudy grey fog. The words poured sharp and cruel through my heart, slicing me with their dissonant mantra:

“I am not worth keeping.”

Part of me held fast, defiant and angry that these words would try to bruise me so. But part of me had already given in to despair, wrapping my heart in the cold cloak of sorrow, slowly crumpling beneath the harsh discouragement.

The tears fell, the rain fell, the words fell.

“I am not worth keeping.”

At that moment, as I swayed on the edge of raw grief and pain, the music track changed. The next song began to play; still part of this unknown album, still completely foreign and unfamiliar to me.

wpid-20131231_200307.jpgBut with the opening piano arpeggios and the low hum of the deep bass chords, a vivid image suddenly blazed into my mind. I stared wide-eyed out the rain-washed window, seeing nothing that was before me. Seeing only a glowing, growing picture in my mind…

A man stood on a stage, relaxed, ready to sing. A microphone stood before him on its base, and he lifted a hand to free it and hold it firmly, his graceful movement illuminated in the soft blue spotlight.

The wings and backstage were in darkness. The seating area before him was also in hushed darkness. There was no audience, no orchestra, no director.

Just this man, alone, centre stage.

He wore dark grey pants, a silvery-blue shirt, and black polished shoes. His dark blonde hair was stylishly cut, short on the sides and swept over on top in the style of many pop artists.

I caught my breath, as I suddenly realised that his eyes – a strong grey blue – were looking straight at me from my viewpoint on stage right. He held me in his gaze, and I could do nothing but stare back. We looked at the other, not speaking, not moving, waiting as the song preliminaries softly built around him. And I suddenly knew two things.

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One: this man, this pop star, was Jesus.
Two: whatever this song was, whatever I was about to hear, he was going to sing it for me.

The chills swept up my spine, the air was thick with anticipation, his and mine. The grey words from before still hovered in the background, but I barely saw them. Somehow I knew that when he began to sing, they would disappear completely out of the picture.

My heart thumped wildy as Jesus, handsome and poised, confident and kind, lifted the microphone to his lips and took a breath. My skin tingled, my ears gasped… and the music suddenly spilled over me  like a gentle beam of light. My entire being was smothered in wonder and beauty as he sang, and I soaked in the splendour of the performance.

He sang with such raw depth and feeling that I was completely swallowed up in the sound. His passion ebbed in every note, his love painted each word, and I realised that he was not only singing, but singing desperately. He sang with every fibre of his being poured into every word. He sang, desperate that I hear this song, desperate that I would know it was him singing, desperate that I would understand, unshakeably and unfathomably, the simple truth of this song. That this song was to me. This song was for me.

And he sang.13035643_1037207126333844_849740763_o

“You’re like Gold Dust
It rains over me
A foreign sun that I thought I’d never see

You’re like Gold Dust

Oh don’t change
Ever
No don’t change
There’s a
Hollow in this house whenever you go

You’re like Gold Dust
It rains over me
A foreign sun that I thought I’d never see
You’re like Gold Dust

Keep
Coming
Down that street
There’s a
Hollow in this house whenever you go

You’re like Gold Dust…”

The last shadows of self-doubt flickered and died. The broken pieces of my soul lifted gracefully to listen in fresh, golden hope.

And I – staring out into the driving rain while the tears poured down my face – I knew the truth. The real truth that laughed in defiance at the forever-vanquished “I am not worthy…”. The solid truth that had flashed before my eyes in the form of a glowing vision.

I had felt it shiver up my spine. I had heard it flow forth in an unknown song. And now I knew it for myself.

Jesus was a pop star. His song was me.

And I was…

gold dust

gold

 

Gold Dust © Emma McGeorge 2016
Photos used with permission

Assumptions and Other Crimes

I think I’ll stay home this evening
she said

she’s coming down with a head cold
she’s too high and mighty to join in our event-of-the-year
she’s suffering from apathy at the very least
they said

and thus she stayed home
and quietly finished the loving letter she was writing
to her dear grandmother
who was sick
and elderly
and lived an ocean away.

and thus they nodded their heads
and explained her absence
due to pride
or laziness
or both

diamond

I’d love to attend another social engagement
she said

she’s attention-seeking
she gets high from working a room
she’s overcaffeinated at the very least
they said

and thus she soaked in the joy of companionship
after a lonely week
of working too hard
and thinking too late into the night
and wishing too unsuccessfully
that she could embrace
the family member
who had just been diagnosed
with a terminal illness

and thus they shook their heads
and explained her presence
due to flirtation
or self-gratification
or both

diamond

and the assumptions piled up and collated

and the reasons slipped by unnoticed

and they pressed
their assumptions upon her
in order to assist her
in order to change her

and she bore the weight
in confusion
and self-doubt
wishing someone would help
ease the burdens
she already carried

diamond

and one day
they will open their eyes
and look beyond the assumptions
and see the rainbow colours of the painting
which they had proclaimed
was black and white

and one day
she will walk free of the assumptions
and know that she is being seen as she is
and know that she is no longer
being forced to watch others converse
with her reflection

© Emma McGeorge 2015

Catching the Stars

“How do you catch the stars?” she asked.

The childish voice lisped the question. The little toes curled in the soft grass. The curious eyes captured the wonder of glinting diamonds flecked in a darkening sky.

But I could not answer. And so I chose to reply instead.

“You can’t catch the stars.” I buttoned my voice into my best ‘I-am-the-reasonable-adult-in-this-conversation’ tone.

“You can’t catch the stars,” I repeated. “They’re too far away. Too foreign. Too, well… too much.”

“Oh.”

And with that the conversation was closed.

But her mind was not, and she spoke again into the velvety darkness.

“But I meant how do YOU catch the stars. Because… sometimes… I come outside at night just to catch them.”

There was no condemnation in her tone. No judgement of my rational disbelief. Just a calm, factual statement of impossibility.

“I see.” I really didn’t.

There was a pause while she wandered and I wondered.

“So,” I adjusted my collar to fit a ‘midly-interested-but-still-confident-in-my-superior-knowledge’ tone, and dared to return the question.

“So, how do YOU catch the stars?”

She glanced at me sideways, smiled patiently, lifted chubby fingers to twirl in the silvery glow.

“I catch the stars with my hands.”

And with that she was off, skipping through the inky tendrils of night, dancing and giggling beneath the ebony froth of the sky, chasing and grasping and catching the stars with tiny hands of joy.

I watched. I stood, frozen on that narrow trapeze wire between logic and wonder. And as I wavered in solitary disbelief, I saw it.

A shooting star, falling from the heavens.

It fell, curving and glowing in fierce and glorious descent. Painting its blazing light across a black canvas sky. Brushing the star dust from its trail and shaking the clouds with tinkling music.

Down, down it fell; closer and closer still.

Its glow lit up my eyes.
Its beauty held my breath.
Its wonder lifted my hand to catch its fall.

And suddenly I was there. Lost in the moment, captured in the magic, defying the impossible and tasting its sweetness.

Catching the stars.

© Emma McGeorge, Oct 2015

 

Now Is Always a Good Time

I wanted to talk to God.

They told me now wasn’t a good time.

You can’t just up and talk to Him

they said

There are steps you have to take; certain things that have to happen first

they told me

My heart was heavy. My soul was empty.

You can’t just connect with the Lord Almighty.

their words echoed

lost and alone like me

But I tried again. I just wanted to connect with Him.

They reminded me that I wasn’t ready yet.

You can’t connect with God until you’ve settled your past

they said

You have to sort out your anger and attitude first; you have to deal with your troubles and your issues so that they are not your focus when you try to commune with Him

they told me

My mind froze, caught up in the dark cloud of those very troubles that I hoped God would blow away. What if He looked at the clouds, but didn’t see me tangled up inside?

Please, I just want to meet with God.

They reminded me that I wasn’t in a good place.

You don’t even know what you want to say

they said

Your heart is empty and your mind is scattered and your soul is dragging itself through the inky darkness

they told me

And that’s no state to be in if you want to meet with God.

I turned away in despair. I wept. I carried one word in my palm.

God?

I’m here

He said

I’ve already heard you

He told me

You don’t have to be in a good place to meet me

He reminded me

Because I am the One who meets you and

I find you wherever you are at and

I hold you close to My heart regardless

God…

Now is always a good time

He whispered

 

© Emma McGeorge 08/09/2015

My Prayer for You

May God bless you

with a restless discomfort

about easy answers and half-truths
and egotistical actions for peer-approval
and superficial, empty relationships

So that you may

seek truth boldly
and love without fear
and live with a healthy aversion to swimming downstream

flower

May God bless you

with a soul that’s wild enough

to live outside the box
and love outside the boundaries

So that you may

firmly crush mediocrity
and tightly hold on to grace
and daringly write your own life story inked in Christ

flower

May God bless you

with enough foolishness 

to believe that you are invaluable
and you are unconquerable
and you really can make a difference

So that you may, by God’s grace

boldly do what the world claims cannot be done.

© Emma McGeorge

based on a prayer written by Sister Ruth Fox

I SEE YOU RISE UP

I see you there.

I see you standing alone, your heart in solitary confinement.

I see the longing in your eyes as people walk by in the plural while you wallow in the singular.

I see your hands reaching out, seeking a friendly grasp, returning empty, invisible.

I see the inward shuffling of your shoulders and your smile, because my eyes hold your emptiness in empathy.

I see you wanting to sink beneath the surface of this one-way mirror in anonymity and quiet.

I SEE YOU RISE UP

I see that tear.

I see the deep groove it carved on your soul as it fell, tracking through the dust of brokenness.

I see the splinters of rejection finding their way into the depths of your trust, sudden and sharp.

I see you press desperate fingers against that wound.

I see your heart crack slowly, because my heart cracks at the silent sound of your hurt.

I see you falter under the weight of being undervalued and undercut and underdogged.

I SEE YOU RISE UP

I see your trembling soul.

I see you wearing that heavy garment of fear.

I see the questions and the doubts piling up in your mind, choking the light and dispelling the hope and burying the truth under the lies.

I see you being pierced by that arrow, because my soul aches with the strain of your pain.

I see you falter and stumble and fall and wonder how you could have landed so very low.

I SEE YOU RISE UP

I see you.

I see you rise up.

I see you rise up because you were made to stand.

I see you rise up because that’s the only option from down.

I see you rise up because I look at you and I see the truth, which no loneliness or hurting or falling can ever unmake from being real.

Yes, it’s true.

I see you, and I see the strength of one who has walked alone and found joy.
And I see you, and I see the grace of one who has been hurt and yet healed others.
And I see you, and I see the triumph of one who has taken the blows and shaken the fears and defied the odds and triumphed anyway.

I SEE YOU RISE UP AND LIVE

© Emma McGeorge