Women Set Apart
If someone were to bring me a gift of fine chocolate, if someone were to have visited Switzerland and then given me a few glorious tastes of something inaccessible to me, except for the gift, I wouldn’t just gobble it down. I would tell myself it’s worth the wait. I would smell it and decide to let each bite mean something.
Then, with a clean house, at nap time or when the kids were off to school, I would light a candle and have every throw pillow in perfect order. I would lift my feet to the stool, lean back, unwrap one, and take the smallest bite possible to deliver every element of taste. I would close my eyes and decipher between flavors. I would claim that moment and make it full and mine. I might even call it holy and offer thanksgiving to the One who came up with such a good idea as the cocao tree in the first place.
I haven’t heard the word consecration in a while, not until last night during Vespers, when a friend who is also a priest talked about a consecration process he had entered wherein he committed to pray specific prayers at specific times of day. The words were set apart. The time was set apart. He even set apart the space. He has a kneeler and focal points to keep his attention from becoming deficit.
I imagine this was the priesthood all along, a man in a temple calling a people set apart for God. Imagine the holy objects of purest gold, the cherubim with wide-spread wings, the Ark of the Covenant, God’s very rule of love and set-apartedness.
Isn’t He such a claimer. Dibs, He says, and then He lets us know what it looks like to be His, to be free.
It’s been almost a month since I visited Canada to be with far-away sisters, and I haven’t known how to express what I saw there. Let me begin in story.
Kelley Nikondeha has been my voxer friend for about a year now. After a while of hearing Sarah Bessey talk on and on about her, I finally said, just hush and connect me so I can hear it for myself. Voxer is only for sound, so after months sharing story, I learned Kelley’s cadence, the timbre of her exuberant voice, the switch in rhythm when her heart is heavy or glad. I have learned how her heart beats for Old Testament story and context. God sent her to me just as I was ready to throw any reason for Old Covenant out the door. She’s a preacher. Her love is strong, and God has given her a sound mind. When she asked me to get away for the weekend to visit Sarah, it was a no-brainer. I want more of what those women have.
I flew over the Rockies and then landed in Seattle and finally set my eyes on how beautiful Kelly really is. It made me laugh to see her whole, how her face and smile fit with her heart and soul.
Then Sarah picked us up for the drive toward snow-peaked mountains. She was rocking black boots, a black shirt, and a scarf that made the 90s child in me reach out to touch it. Oh we have similar ways of loving an older time, tender with our teenaged selves. She looked gorgeous with that round baby inside, her cheekbones rising up, and her long, red hair with the blonde streaked through. A pregnant woman can be a miserable thing once in a while, but also she can flash out glimpses of strength and beauty that make you gasp. Want to know how to gird your loins? Find yourself a pregnant woman.
As an aside: GIRD YOUR LOINS IS HILARIOUS! Let’s start saying that more.
I’m positive I surprised Kelley with how many times a day I say the word goober in real life. I’m an intense woman, so there’s no way for me to prepare anyone for how goofy I tend to be to balance out the seriousness.
We met with Idelette and Tina of She Loves Magazine before dinner one night. I sat on the famous red couch and watched Tina’s husband coo at their baby boy as if he were next in line to be king. If love prepared a child for such a position, then that baby Mutungu would be the one suitable for the job.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that these were my kind of women. My face was throbbing from laughing so hard, and my mind was whirling from their wisdom and insight.
But here’s the thing that I really saw, the thing I want in my life and that I want you to know. I wish you could see into Idelette’s eyes, and I wonder what you see when you look into mine. What do my children see? Do they see that they are chosen and claimed, that they are set apart like a well-crafted poem for the ears of the king?
There are women who are set apart, and their God is to be feared. There is a kindness in the eyes of women who know the love of God, and even in weakness, there’s a strength that can’t be toppled. Women who do not fear death are like that. Slavery just isn’t their thing. It doesn’t have dibs on them, so they do not hoard. Instead they spend themselves like people who see the difference in Christ. They are set apart, you see, the consecrated ones. They have been called holy, and holy is their business. Holy is their love for those in chains.