WOMEN AT LIBERTY

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My Spiritual Journey: A Church Girl Discovers Her Power

© Allison Miller

          This is a story about my on-going journey to develop an authentic relationship with God as my authentic self and the unexpected allies I found along the way. I call them "The Women".  In my mind, women have always been spiritually powerful and deeply intuitive. Not that most faith traditions honor that power by allowing us to exercise our God-given gifts from a position of spiritual power, teaching, or authority. We were taught to be the strong, silent type. The stalwart sitting in her self-assigned seat nodding, smiling, knowing. Wearing a crown, waving a fan. The Mothers of the church.  I thought this was who I was supposed to be. Who I had to be. The only way to be pleasing to God and indeed who I thought I was.

          I mean I was a dyed-in-the-wool Baptist church girl. I had been fire-baptized and was runnin' on to see what the end would be. That is until my life took a few unfortunate (or maybe fortunate, in retrospect) turns and I found my faith, my foundation, my entire life as I knew it in ruins.                   

          I always sensed that I would run into trouble with church traditions. Something in me innately chafed against what I perceived to be a pre-determined and limited role. As a budding civil rights scholar attending historically Black Howard University, I was a self-proclaimed advocate of the oppressed. After college when I decided (again) to make Jesus my choice, I made a commitment to serve my church. Upon further observation, however, I couldn't understand why African American men in the church couldn't see the parallel between racial oppression and gender oppression.                   

          Fast forward to Marriage #1 where my primary role was to serve my husband and hearth.  Yet this pseudo-radical, post Angela Davis me was still lurking and really began to rear her ugly head at the one-sided, sexist counsel received from well-meaning pastors. So you can see that churchdom was beginning to unravel for me. It only continued its downward spiral when I found myself at the end of Marriage #2 and what I thought was the complete and utter failure of my life as I knew it. Since I figured no God-fearing church would let a twice-divorced trouble maker in, I decided to take a wrecking ball to my faith and start anew. All bets were off. And that's when I met The Women.                   

          My perfectly convoluted path brought me to many turn-of-the-century gifted female spiritual teachers and healers. They had what my Mom calls "the dirty nerve" to know their own Truth and choose their own Path regardless of  social moirés.  They actually trusted the Truth that made them free.                    

          One of my favorites is H. Emilie Cady (1848 -- 1941), a homeopathic practitioner and metaphysician who taught that, your life can be transformed by the power of your thoughts, words, and beliefs.  According to her official web page (http://hemiliecady.wwwhubs.com/), "Dr. Cady ...encourages you to find your truth as it is written in your own heart and then apply these truths in every area of your life."                   

          Another favorite is Florence Scovel Shinn. Born in 1871, Mrs. Shinn was an artist and metaphysics teacher who has authored several profound books that taught that, "positive attitudes and affirmations invariably succeed in making one a 'winner' in life--able to control life's conditions and release abundance through a knowledge of spiritual law." (http://florencescovelshinn.wwwhubs.com/)

          And the more I searched, the more I found. There were scores of women from all walks of life that continue to speak today through either their own teachings or through inspiring others to take up their mantle.

          Well, as I'm sure you can imagine, this fabulous discovery turned all 40 years of my spiritual orientation on its proverbial ear. Here were these sisters having written decades ago that Christ is indeed in me, my hope of glory. The Power Source resides within.

          Now for my traditional sisters who are tempted to rent their clothes and dress in sack cloth and ashes to redeem the heresy of my wretched pen, indulge me. The purpose in my sharing this profoundly liberating and sometimes unnerving journey is to point to the Power we women all have within us and how we are so quick to doubt it or give it to others. Let's take a lesson from the women of old speaking Truths that are forever new.                   

          Go within and evolve.

          You've got the Power.


     Allison Miller is a Marketing and Communications Specialist with over 20 years experience as a proposal writer and editor in the private, nonprofit, and government sectors. She currently writes proposals for the pharmaceutical industry where she enjoys a 70% win rate for clients specifically requesting her services.
     Earlier in her professional life, Allison supported a number of start-ups by designing and editing brochures, business cards, and websites and assisting in securing 8(a) and GSA status. She also spent a number of years supporting nonprofit associations by designing workbooks and other items for sale as well as writing and editing newsletters.
    
Allison holds a Certificate in Technical Editing from EEI Communications and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard University.  More importantly, she is also the single mom of her amazing teenage daughter, Drew Etienne, and a blogger at http://allistwocents.blogspot.com/.