Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Becoming a Stone Catcher

Becoming… a stone catcher. 

I read an article in the Smithsonian Magazine a few years back, it was titled "Why Mass Incarceration Defines us as a Society," by Chris Hedges.
The article went on to describe the life’s work of a man named Bryan Stevenson. The article moved me in many ways. And began my admiration and “following” of Mr. Bryan Stevenson, a human rights lawyer who has committed his life to helping solve the injustices of the criminal “justice” system in America, and was the man who fought and won to outlaw life without parole sentences for minors. (This TEDtalk he did is amazing.)
A piece of the article has reverberated in my mind since the day I sat on the glider ottoman in my in-laws kitchen reading and re-reading the article. 
"Stevenson turns frequently to the Bible. He quotes to me from the Gospel of John, where Jesus says of the woman who committed adultery: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” He tells me an elderly black woman once called him a “stone catcher." There is no such thing as being a Christian and not being a stone catcher,” he says. “But that is exhausting. You’re not going to catch them all. And it hurts. If it doesn’t make you sad to have to do that, then you don’t understand what it means to be engaged in an act of faith....But if you have the right relationship to it, it is less of a burden, finally, than a blessing. It makes you feel stronger.

This idea of being a stone catcher. 
That was it for me. 
And thus began a journey (that  had started years before, but now had a definition) toward the broken, hurting, and downtrodden. A journey towards suffering, poverty, exclusion, unfairness and injustice. It is a journey I am, in many ways, just beginning. A journey that I find myself often just observing, more often than I care to admit. From a place of privilege and relative wealth, I often feel as if much of my place is to be that of a voice, an educator, and advocate. 

I have found my Father's position for me, catching the stones for kids. Most often kids who make “bad choices” or behave “poorly” as a result of their trauma, but for all kids really. Educating parents, school professionals, therapists, foster parents, social workers, hospitals, and churches in ways to help heal. And most recently, my passion to see parents become whole and secure in their relationships so that, in turn, they can raise secure children. 

As one of my heroes, since childhood, Frederick Douglas put it, “It is easier to build strong children, than to repair broken men.”
I believe that part of my becoming story is in helping educate parents so that they can begin the work of repairing themselves, which will result in a generation of strong children. I don't think this is a chicken or the egg argument. Without helping "repair" adults, we will never have strong children.

So why am I saying all this?

I have been given the enormous privilege and honor of being able to share a bit of my story on "Becoming a Stone Catcher, what God says about my purpose." On my dear friend Jeanne Oliver’s online community of creatives. 
She is hosting an online class, for FREE, with many women sharing their stories of how God has helped them discover their true identities.  

Course description:
This January join 20 women for an 8 week study all about finding your true identity in Christ.  Each week you will hear unfolding stories from the women in this study.  We will be sharing truths about who the Lord says we are and our personal journeys to accepting those truths.
We will also have fun creative videos that follow the study where the women will share one of their gifts. Think guitar playing, bread making, painting, entertaining and more.  You know I can't have a course without sharing how the Lord uses our creativity! My hope is that the study will give you fresh eyes for the Lord and yourself.  When we know who we are in Christ it changes everything and opens our paths and gifts in incredible new ways.
Some of us are carrying around "truths" about ourselves that are flat out lies and it time to lay them down
This study will be open and honest, real, Bible based and a bit of creativity too.  We hope you will join us January 6, 2015 for this free online study!

Directions to register:
To join this free study you just need to be registered at jeanneoliver.ning.com (registering is free).
Once you are on the site you will find this study, free videos (business and art), my Creativity Takes Courage series and new online courses along the left hand side of the page.
You will find all of our courses/videos under the COURSES heading.
To register for Becoming | The Unfolding of You
1) Go to COURSES along the left hand side of the page
2) Go to the bottom of the course and click “view all” to find Becoming | The Unfolding of You
4) Click on Becoming | The Unfolding of You
3) Click the +join button on the upper right hand side
4) All of the details are on the page and you are all set for the study to begin on January 6, 2015



Please join me, and 19 amazing women, as we share pieces of our Becoming stories. 




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