The Center for Leadership Excellence, in partnership with COSROW, is pleased to lift up the voices of women in ministry encouraging fellow women in ministry. Please enjoy this month’s Encouragement from Donna Coletrane Battle, a spiritual practitioner, soul coach, and educator focused on justice as it relates specifically to the intersection of race, gender, and spirituality. Anyone can sign up to receive these monthly emails here.
My sister and I had the gift of being raised by both our maternal grandmother and our parents. Grandma was wise through faith and lived experience as a southern Black woman born in 1911. I cannot remember her ever raising her voice or causing alarm with her demeanor. She, however, was a quiet power who did not mince words or shy away from truth-speaking. As we got older, most of the time her wisdom and direction were shared only when asked, and even when we sought her out in fear and uncertainty, her calm reassured presence reminded us that the same God of her faith was the God who loved us. Though I never witnessed my grandmother face alarming situations with an alarming presence, her words would be clear and encouraged us to not turn from the true reality of things, no matter how scary those things may be. The juxtaposition between her demeanor and the content of her words modeled something I did not understand until I became older.
Read Matthew 24:3-4:
When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered them, “Beware that no one leads you astray…”
Reflect: Jesus is sitting on the Mount of Olives. This is a high place that is simultaneously connected to some of the gravest events of both the Old and New Testaments. The disciples approach their resting rabbi with an anxiety-filled question, and Jesus answers calmly from his sitting place with strong and direct words beginning with “beware.” When the stresses and pains of life–both internally and externally–build, we are often tempted out of exhaustion and hurt to ignore, suppress, and isolate. We have an example here in the disciples. When confusion and uncertainty arise, we are reminded that Jesus is not alarmed. Jesus sits in the middle of our gravest realities, and where Jesus is present is also always a high place. I understand better now that my grandmother could face the hardest, most painful realities of loss over the course of her life because they were not the only realities present with her. The high love of our faithful God always stood in the midst of the lowest of moments. The love of God is always a powerful juxtaposition to the evil of the world.
Take Action: Grab your favorite beverage, find a beautiful peaceful place, and reflect in prayer.
- Where are you most isolated in life? In what situations might God be inviting you to come and ask questions? How can you invite God into your anxiety and struggle?
- What questions do you need to ask?
Spend some time in your own way, expecting to hear from God and listening.
Center for Leadership Excellence and the Commission on the Status and Role of Women
Interested in further encouragement? Check out these upcoming events open to women clergy and laity alike.
UMW Book Club
May 9 and June 13, 2022
Young Women’s Webinar on Climate Justice
April 13, 2022
Just Energy 4 All Monthly Webinar
April 20, 2022
April 21, 2022
Caring for God’s Creation Through Just Energy For All
April 23, 2022
COSROW Book Club: Biblical Womanhood
April 26, 2022
May 20, 2022