rising up, calling them blessed

Arianne, Ash and Sarah - Lake House 2012

Spiritual mothers, my friend Sarah Bessey wrote, are a congregation of saints, the holy midwives witnessing and caring through the work of God birthed in a life.

I read her words and nod, because, yes, I know these women, the ones in my own life.

**

There I sit, on the edge of a blue striped sofa, still small in body and spirit, listening to my mother and her friends, my aunt, these women with children all around, at the breast, clamoring over each other. They’re speaking of raising the little ones, of course, striving hard for what is good, searching and seeking and sacrificing everything they can for us. They’re reading voraciously, passing books between hands, opening Bibles often, disagreeing through their smiles and hungering for commonality. Ever present, always listening, the oldest child in the entire bunch, I soak it in. My soul is a sponge, drowning in the earnestness of these women and their thirst for the best parts of God.

**

There I stand, now fully grown, waist deep in the warm September ocean, a coast away from my home. I’m covered by an oversized navy t-shirt but it clings to my body as I push the water away with my hands, moving deeper, deeper. Someone begins to pray and then everyone is praying at once and I’m leaning back into the water, hearing the words, “I baptize you in the name…” and I break the surface again and the water trails my shoulders as I breathe free and new. A moment, a stepping stone, an altar there on the beach. We women, we sit in the shallows and the sand until the sun sets, talking deep and reveling in the Jesus of it all.

**

There I am, in a cramped booth with an infant beside me, third child sleeping soundly in the middle of the afternoon. My most beloved friend, the one who knows my dark secrets and my most sacrilegious thoughts, the one who digs for the truth everyone else is afraid to unearth, she sits across the table and we both analyze the messy heart I’ve spread between us. We laugh too loud and I cry too much, but she doesn’t give up, she isn’t afraid of the mess. She isn’t afraid of the mess. We sit there for four hours, in that burger place, drinking Coke when we had planned to get fancy tea and peruse the shops, and she convinces me to give God and people and church and life a second chance.

**

There I sit, legs crossed on the floor, sitting at her feet. We’re there in a circle, the whole lot of us, and we’ve spent the weekend trading hearts. We cradle each other, we do, with the way we love hard. Their questions wrap themselves into my gut, asking about the breach of trust I claim between me and my God, the way it has all come about, the way life twisted and the fact that my well of words has run dry. They pull out the diseased truths and pour healing on the broken. We have talked and they have affirmed and I’m realizing deep within that suddenly I’m whole and I think I’m hearing God whisper. Then she opens scripture and stretches her hand to my head and speaks great truth directly from the page, her voice powerful, pouring strong words over me, another baptism there on the carpet covered floor of a lake house. The room is a holy hush and my eyes spill over and I can breathe and I am healed. I am healed.

 

My spiritual mothers, my midwives are these, the women who have waited with me through the groaning years of labor pain, so close they feel it themselves. They’ve been here, waiting and watching and believing for me when I couldn’t believe for myself. They are the ones who have wiped my brow, who have held me up when I couldn’t stand. They have themselves aided in this birth of my soul.

I rise up here and call them blessed, these strong and valiant women. They are a holy generation.

I rise up and I call them blessed. 

 

 

21 Responses to rising up, calling them blessed

  1. jennifer November 16, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    beautiful, oh so beautiful! and you describe similar scenes to my life and the women God has been so gracious to put in mine as well. thank you for sharing.

  2. lesley November 12, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    Love.

  3. Wendi Lane November 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    Just AMAZING Ashleigh…what amazing people and experiences you have had. As I have learned it is often time the “angel’s” those we call friends that the Lord sends to us to help and carry each other and bring us closer to him….

  4. Samantha November 9, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    So happy and joyful for you, Ash! And so thankful you have friends who are there for you and love you and are so much more than that too. You are blessed!
    You have a beautiful way with words.

  5. Ari November 9, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    Ah that September ocean, it holds so much of my heart. It holds the sweat and tears of so many that I love and call mine. I imagine that day over and over in my heart. The ocean, the lake, how God loves us with water and Spirit and women birthing us into who we were meant to be. It’s just stunning. These Truths and your words. Stunning.

  6. Christine November 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    Beautiful words. I am so glad that God has put those people in your life to walk with you through the darkness and help you find light again.

  7. Gretchen Louise November 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    And here I am, crying in joy and thanksgiving for you, my friend… HUGS

  8. the Blah Blah Blahger November 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    Crap…that moved me so much. I have chills. My throat is kinda achy, too.

    You are so gifted, my friend. And I’m SO GLAD you’re coming out of hibernation!!! I love your words, I love your voice, I love your spirit…and I LOVE this: we’ve spent the weekend trading hearts. So true!!!

  9. HopefulLeigh November 9, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    Goosebumps, Ashleigh. This is holy ground. Love this so much for you. Love you.

  10. Chantel November 9, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    I read a quote once that made chills down my spine about true friends who stay with you when the whole world turns away from the hurt and the mess. I think you’ve found some of those kind of girls. <3

  11. Shelly Miller November 9, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    My first time here, through my friend Tara, and the beauty you’ve painted here is really inspiring. And I was drawn to your instagram feed, it tells a beautiful story of a life well lived too.

  12. tara pohlkotte November 9, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    holy.holy.holy. these words, these relationships…. breathless.

  13. Ray Wood November 9, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    My first post seems to have disappeared! I have been trapped here after doing a Google search – guided by the hand of God! And have read many of the posts with tear-filled eyes, although I should be working!
    Fantastic, poetic, open-hearted writing. I loved ‘Lost Innocence’ which I touched on in my Poem ‘What’s the Time…? – that you can find on the above web site.
    If only that innocent love of Jesus would last forever, for everyone – perhaps we would then have heaven here on earth! Looking forward to future posts…
    Ray (Earls Colne – England)

  14. Erin November 9, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    Wow, this is lovely. You have been blessed to have these women in your life.
    I pray to have this one day

  15. Ray Wood November 9, 2012 at 5:57 am #

    Sorry I made a typo in the website address – should be http://naked-wolves.sauropol.com
    don’t worry about the title, it’s about (or some at least are about) uncovering the wolves-in sheep’s-clothing that inhabit all our lives.

  16. sonika November 9, 2012 at 3:30 am #

    My most beloved friend, the one who knows my dark secrets and my most sacrilegious thoughts, the one who digs for the truth everyone else is afraid to unearth, she sits across the table and we both analyze the messy heart I’ve spread between us” – this made me smile. I have a few friends whom I could envision might become this person for me. And they are, indeed, blessed. Bravo, Ashleigh – glad you’re writing.

  17. Diana Trautwein November 9, 2012 at 2:02 am #

    Holy crap, this is just wonderful. Thank you, thank you. Yes! I have these kinds of stories to tell, too. Thanks for the encouragement to tell them…

  18. Kelly @ Love Well November 8, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    And this is what I love about you, Ashleigh. Your ability to reach back and trace the line of what God is doing through the years, even though you couldn’t see it then.

    Girl, I am so honored to know you and do life with you.

  19. Sarah Bessey November 8, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    Love you to the moon, Ash. We’re in this together, alongside each other, birthing something good.

  20. boomama November 8, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    Beautiful, Ashleigh. Absolutely beautiful.

    And there’s a book in here somewhere. Just in case you didn’t realize that. :-)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. In which I link you up v.1 | Sarah Bessey - November 16, 2012

    [...] Rising Up, Calling Them Blessed by Ashleigh Baker My spiritual mothers, my midwives are these, the women who have waited with me through the groaning years of labor pain, so close they feel it themselves. They’ve been here, waiting and watching and believing for me when I couldn’t believe for myself. They are the ones who have wiped my brow, who have held me up when I couldn’t stand. They have themselves aided in this birth of my soul. I rise up here and call them blessed, these strong and valiant women. They are a holy generation. [...]

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