Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as she sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground [...] and when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.
— Mark 4.3-8

What Happened

Dear Seedy friends,

I'm currently listening to What Happened written and read Hillary Rodham Clinton on Audible.  Through her honest and inspiring storytelling, I am revisiting the pain of her loss which came so closely on the heels of a loss of my own.  One of our first seeds to scatter of our virtual march was to write a thank you letter to an inspiring woman. I wrote one to Secretary Clinton.  Now that she has been so open and honest, I am inspired do the same.  I've written a new thank you note, and I want to share it with all of you.

I still plan to resurrect this blog in some small way, so stay tuned. I pray you all are well and still scattering seeds of love in action...

Much heart,

Anna


Dear Secretary Clinton,

I’m listening to your latest book on Audible right now, and it is both heartbreaking and inspiring to hear you retell the story that so many of us have now woven into the fabric of our lives.  As a child, I knew you as a first lady who cared about children like me, had a daughter about my age, and I looked up to you.  Now that I’m a mother with my own two children, my respect and admiration for you has only grown.

I live a small life compared to yours, but shortly before the heartache of your loss, I experienced a similar loss in my own life.  I became the first woman to hold a position somewhat analogous to bishop in my denomination, which meant I pastored the pastors, congregations, a camp, and a mission that made up our region. So many women were cheering me into my new role, but wrapped up in this excitement, I completely underestimated the pushback that I would receive as a young female pastor in this highly political position. 

Soon after taking office, I realized that a “good old boy” network concealed for years that a minister had repeatedly violated our ministerial code of ethics, including failing to report child abuse three times. I stood up for our children and our faith’s values by initiating the due process to terminate him. Again, I completely underestimated the power that this older, white, male pastor held in our region, even though I was his superior.  The lies, dirty politics, fear mongering, and smear campaign began immediately, but I refused to participate in it or yield from the hard line I drew in the sand. 

It ended in a vote that I would have sworn I had in the bag.  Shockingly, leadership voted to protect him, held hostage by his “good old boy” network who had threatened to cut off monetary support if I didn’t leave. And so I resigned. Despite his negligence and duplicitous behavior, he was handed a generous severance, public affirmation, and a full year to transition into a new, high-paying position… while I was left out in the cold.  The gossip coupled with my quick departure shattered my professional reputation and promising career in ministry, but I wanted to walk away from Church anyway. Still, I felt I had failed the women and young people who had been so excited for me.

I screamed. I cried. I slept.  I too recited, “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou. I drank wine and did lots of yoga. I blasted Florence and the Machine’s song, “Shake It Out” in my minivan. I hugged my kids.  I prayed -- even though I was so furious with God. 

And just when I was starting to feel better… I watched in horror as you lived out the same unbelievably sexist and unjust story, but on a much, much larger scale.  Even the language of the attacks were eerily familiar.  The day after your loss was just as painful as the day after my own; I wept for you, for me, for all women, for our country, and especially for my 3-year-old daughter.

Now I live a smaller life, and so “the good old boys” are now longer after me. Marching in the Women's March was a ray of hope. I began blogging and have pursued other creative outlets. I must admit I am enjoying more peace in my life now that I'm out of the public eye and I'm enjoying more quality time with my family.  Still, I hear a voice inside me calling me to leadership and making positive change in the world, but it feels like the climb is so high, and I can’t even find the trail head; I’m a 33-year-old mom with a Masters in Divinity and no work experience outside the Church – where do I even begin?

But this letter wasn’t supposed to be about me. This letter was to thank you!  Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for all God’s children with your precious life.  As I listen to your book, I only pray that I might do a fraction of the good with my life that you have done with yours.  You fought for us, inspired us, and scared the pants off those “good old boys” with your bravery, wisdom, and grit. Never put your light under a bushel and stop fighting and speaking up because you inspire me and all "Nasty Women" to nevertheless persist.

And I know that one day, a long time from now, when God brings you home, She will say, “Hillary, you won in the end. Well done. Well done.”

Blessings and gratitude,

Anna

Day 40