It took me some time to write on this topic because I am still moving past the pain surrounding relationships with women where closure was necessary and where pain and betrayal were part of the reason for closure. But I decided that in order to continue my healing and in sharing my perspectives, the hope is that it could bless another woman, living in pain from situations that have occurred in her relationships with women.
When I crafted the dynamics of what I wanted women to walk away with at my conference, this workshop titled 'Moving Past the Pain' was one I knew would trigger women in various ways. Women experiencing the pain due to a lack of authentic sisterhood in their circles and women who have relationships that have ended, but no real closure. Through my process I learned that while closure was necessary, it wasn't necessary for it to happen with the sister part of that process. I had to change my prayer. Meaning, I had to stop praying for closure the way I wanted and I had to start praying for the peace I needed within my spirit. What that required was for me to bring closure to those relationships on my own, without having an opportunity to have conversation with the women that I felt I needed to have closure with. It also meant that my prayer became one of answers and not questions; the many questions of where I was in my process and what I thought I needed. I noticed that through making attempts at fixing relationships in which seasons ended, I came out on the other side feeling worse; not feeling affirmed and questioning my part in what had taken place. In one instance, there was no 'thing' that happened. The relationship just discontinued with no conversation as to what took place. The distance was felt, but never acknowledged. Finally, it came to a point where the interactions completely ceased and turned into an occasional wave of acknowledgement when we saw each other publicly. Privately, I was in pain and confused. What happened to us? My immediate need to fix led me to several invitations to meet or talk with cancellations to follow each time. I then decided to pen a long letter surrounding my feelings and thoughts with the hope of getting a response and getting the relationship back to where it was. It never came. As I continued struggling with this transition in relationship, I became more angry and frustrated by the lack of not knowing what happened or what to do to 'fix it.'
It took over a year for me to realize that I was owning something that wasn't mine. I was praying for the wrong outcome, desiring the wrong result. I knew when I had come to terms that my season ended with this sister when I could see her and not have to quietly remove myself from whatever space we were in to cry and then pull myself together to rejoin that space. When I knew it got to a better place, was when I could see her and no longer question because I had begun closure on my own...and I did it for me. Part of my healing work was looking at how or what I would change in that particular relationship and it leads me to being grateful for what was. I had to still put honor on the relationship, but I didn't have to subject myself to a lack of sisterly behavior. I knew if I stayed in a place of confusion and hurt, that I would become resentful which would show up in other sister spaces that were important to me. I had bore witness to women in relationships with one another that were painful and the outcome of their interactions with other women were rooted in toxicity. They had not healed from what occurred in their previous relationships and maneuvered in spaces with other women, where they took that pain. The hurt, betrayal and lack of loyalty...lack of authenticity carried into other relationships, because they never unpacked the issues and walked through healing.
Living out my own experiences with betrayal, lack of loyalty, being misunderstood, targeted and feeling isolated in circles eventually matured me but only because of the healing work I engaged in. I had to own my part, learn to not own what was someone else's and to be at peace with closure, with or without the person involved. While I still sometimes question the motives of women hurting women, through all of my experiences, I have also learned to extend grace, understanding that sometimes issues are about me and many other times they have nothing to do with me. Women are hurting and when there is consistent behavior witnessed of that pain in other relationships, it's a reflection of how very wounded they are. I made the decision, as I hope others will, to pray for those that don't honor us, understanding that there are sisters who don't have the capacity to love us the way we want and deserve. This is not easy, but it is necessary in order to have inner peace; forgiveness being weaved throughout the process. Know that as I share this, I am still doing work and I still believe in the power of healthy, authentic sisterhood because I have more examples of how it should look as opposed to the other side of what I've experienced. There are sisters in which I am in relationship with, that although the relationship looks different than it used to, I still wish them well, acknowledge them and respect them as women, ensuring that I protect my heart in the process.
At the Beyond This Moment Conference: Authentic Sisterhood, my prayer is that the women attending this sensitive workshop (Moving Past the Pain) will get to a place of peace in those areas unresolved or misunderstood and especially the pain associated when we've been betrayed or mistreated by a sister. There were will be tools to share in terms of how to effectively work through or work out of relationships that require it. Another important part of the discussion is how to protect that sister from some of the scrutiny where we sometimes feel the need to vent to those who may even mean well, but may cause further injury to the situation.
There will be a healing space 'womaned' by licensed therapists. They will be available to talk through some of the many areas that may come up for women who feel triggered by various experiences in painful relationships, be it mother/daughter, sibling, sister group, or other spaces. I have a prayer warrior team of intercessors available to those women that decide prayer around their situation is necessary. Both spaces are private and confidential and will be made available throughout the conference day.
In preparation for the conference, I ask every woman to think about the relationships you are in, consider if there are areas where a relationship may need to be made new and areas that require closing seasons that have brought things that are not life giving. Reflect on what learning lessons you can take away and how will you use them to make a better "you!"
We all owe it to ourselves to ensure that who we are is valued in every space we are in.