We = One

Tracking back to over five years ago, early 2008, I was listening to a message in my car by Charlotte Gambill. To the end of the message, she read this passage out of Isaiah 54:1-3 (CJB)

“Sing, barren woman who has never had a child!
Burst into song, shout for joy,
you who have never been in labour!
For the deserved wife will have more children,
than the woman who is living with her husband,” says Adonai.
2 Enlarge the space of your tent,
extend the curtains of your dwelling;
do not hold back, lengthen your cords,
make your tent pegs firm.
3 For you will spread out to the right and the left,
your descendants will possess nations
and inhabit the desolated cities.”

The words from this passage deeply resonated with me, in an unexplainable, that it continuously replayed in my head the remainder of the journey to my destination. I heard Holy Spirit say, “Mark this passage. This is my word over your life”. So, when I got home, I ran {rushed} to my bible and did as I was told. Even though my metallic green metal bible reads differently than what was read by Charlotte, her words still repeat. Here is what the NLT says,

                   “Sing, O childless woman! Break forth into loud
                   and joyful song, O Jerusalem, even though you
                   never gave birth to a child. For the woman who
                   could bear no children now has more than all the
                   other women.” Says the Lord. 2 “Enlarge your house;
                   build an addition; spread out your home!
                   3 For you will soon be bursting at the seams.
                   Your descendants will take over other nations and
                   live in their cities. “

As obedience and curiosity held me, I would reread and study this passage the majority of the years to follow. What was Holy Spirit trying to tell me here? Childless woman? Yes, true, but this is not something I am necessarily bothered by (Unless you’re my mother and sister). And, let’s be honest, that is a thought for the future…no ones put a ring on it yet. Besides, my niece Cadence fills that hole immensely (Have you seen her?!!). Enlarge your house? Spread out your home? Chervelle does not have a place to call her own. Bursting at the seams? Maybe. My descendants taking over nations? Possibly. I never really understood what Holy Spirit was trying to tell me here. Though some of it was shy of making sense to me, I held this passage as my own and from then on, read it repetitiously. But what was Holy Spirit trying to say? I think He planned for it to be food to chew on until the moment was right to understand.

A few months ago, Isaiah 43 was spoken over me. In this chapter, verses 5 and 6 pop right out.

                   “5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will
                   gather you and your children from east and west
                   6 and from north and south. I will bring my sons
                   and daughters back to Israel from the distant corners
                   of the earth. “

There it is again, a reference made about my territory spreading out. Okay now, what does this all mean?

Let us go on a time travel 13 years back, when “The Prayer of Jabez” made an impact on the Christian community. Being moved and falling madly in love with this prayer, I typed it up on Word and made a few prints to place around the house. The first part of verse 10 in 1Chornicles4 read “Oh that you would bless me and expand my territory!” I remember reading that with power. I had no idea why, but Holy Spirit did.

I believe that the time has arrived for me to understand why Holy Spirit planted these passages over my life. He may not show me all of it at once, it is not His character to do so, but He will let me in on what I need to know now. Let me first begin by explaining something important. It’s relevant, I promise.

The name Chervelle is Hebrew; it is unique, beautiful and is expected to reflect the personality of its owner. It means “God is my vow”. (Okay, I did not just make all that up to toot my horn. This was from a website from years ago while engaging in some soul searching. I honestly do not remember the site). It is an extremely powerful name that affects every being that it touches. Meaning, that this sole name is expansive; a name of leadership. I have always known that I was not created to be in just one place. What I mean by that is, while yes I will have a home base, I must go out from my current zone and move into other zones. It is actually required of me. And because there is a calling over my life, and with God being my vow, I am to be obedient to this. Whether I like it or not, (and up until my early 20s the answer was a strong “not”. It was way to unique, no one knew how to properly pronounce it; and after they learnt how, they exclaimed how much they loved it – I smiled and said “thank you”. No “Chervelle” paraphilia to collect like say an “Ashley” or a “Tracy” or even my sister “Cherise” had … except for the car, oh, and a horse! To which a few adults and Francophiles {Yes, I do love the French!!} did not hesitate in pointing out … loudly… hmmm, to you I say “thank you” (wink). It was a matter of time that I came to love my name {and horses} when I discovered its meaning) it is an actual force that will pull me back in. It is my name. It is what was given to me. Names are an entity that really should be taken seriously. So, please refrain from naming your child “Potato” or “Animal”. Honestly, that is just mean. 

So, what is this rant about? Gulu, Uganda, Africa. Why? Simple, it is my heritage and I need to go back. At least that is what I thought coming to the end of 2012. Okay, I am not certain of where in the continent my African ancestors came from; but my heart has revealed a strong connection.

May this year, I attended a conference. Before going, I was not sure that I would attend. Idelette, of SheLoves Magazine, asked me to come along side the community and be the advocate to prep and design their booth. A design kept in mind to be mobile for future events. I said "yes". My ticket was purchased the day before the event. This was when I met Megan. She is an editor and contributor for SheLoves. Sweet, kind, sincere, spunky are only few of the words to describe her. It is within that brief moment meeting her (the week before she wrote a post that I fell in love with) I realized we were kindred’s. Yes, kindred’s.

One morning of the conference, Kate Mukasa spoke on panel about Watoto’s Keep A Girl In School Project. I knew about the details and purpose surrounding the project, but hearing it again, this time, my heart broke. You see, in 2011, 40% of the girls in Gulu dropped out of school during their menstruation due to the lack of sanitary material. In 2012, only 40% of the girls that were enrolled in primary one stay in school to complete primary seven. That percentage ranks high in comparison to 70% of the boys who enroll at the same time! Heart beating so fast, it feels as though it is pounding against my chest; tongue getting numb. What?! This is most certainly NOT good. 

The reality of this issue results in the girls not being able to participate in the workforce, their dependence on someone for support, possible sex trafficking. Watoto’s main objective is to protect the girls of the community. This includes education, housing, meals, and the provision of sanitary towels, hygienic supplies, and soap. The cost of this? $40!! For ONE YEAR! What it really boils down to is sanitary towels and underwear. Something that is not much of a thought to us, and are extremely fortunate to have.

So, while my tongue numbed and my heart forcing an out of body experience, I heard this: “Megan.” Huh? “I want you to say “yes” and your partner is Megan.” Okay… (said with hesitation and a trembled voice). What the what. This is huge! What can little o’l me, Chervelle, do with something THIS HUGE! Soon after the session was over, Megan and I began to talk. At this point, only chairs, music instruments, and us two remained in the room. She said “So, I feel as if I’m suppose to do something with the Keep A Girl InSchool Project… and I am to do it with you.” Okay, God, we get it. You like to tell jokes. I shared my experience from earlier. We decided that we were to agree, engage in prayer, and something will come about it.

Planning and Scheming

Months went by and the thought flashed through my mind “Gulu. Watoto. The girls. Drop out. Menstruation. Underwear. Sanitary towels. Do something, do something, do something." Ideas flashed, but nothing stuck. Not long after Megan got in contact with me; she had an idea: a fitness fundraiser. Megan is a fitness instructor, and her class runs every Wednesday night at Christian Life Assembly in Langley. The idea was to have an event that coincides with her Wednesday night class. The moment I read that, my heart leaped. Right away we got to planning. A month later we launched our project Sweating for Sisterhood, with the event occurring Wednesday October 16, 2013 (two days after Canadian Thanksgiving). Literal sweat, blood, and tears has gone into our mini project for God’s big project. Along the way, we concluded, “This is not ours, it is all God’s. We are the vessels to carry it out and see it through.” A motto held very dear to my heart.
Launch day and event night: Megan and I welcoming the ladies to Sweating for Sisterhood.
{So connected, that we're even matching...kidding. Not planned!}

Going to Gulu, Uganda as I initially thought was not the idea, I was to advocate and carry out a project with my heart for my sisters there. My One Word for 2013 is Harmony. I finally get it. There is a synonymous harmony here. I believe that the verse passages mentioned above connects with my sisterhood in Uganda. Playing an impactful harmonious factor in my life.

In Isaiah 43 and 61, God is speaking to Israel of leading them home, bringing back peace, and sending someone to stand for them. I am not The One, but I Am One. In my case, Israel is Africa. He wants to bring back peace to His nation, to His daughters.

I said “yes” to attending the conference. Megan and I meet and our hearts connected. A silent whisper was simultaneously heard by us both. We said “yes” to an enormous assignment. Our hearts churned and ached. God’s daughters of Gulu need our “yes”. To stand ‘with’. To connect. To join in unison. Harmony.

One word stands out, “Stir”. There is a stirring force building up among the daughters of Gulu. If I can paint an image for you, imagine a crowd standing outside in the dirt, under a covered galvanized shed. A circle is formed, leaving an opening in the middle. Suddenly, wind rises and begins to spin within the circle touching those at the front as it moves. The force gets stronger and begins to blur. All the while still touching whomever it comes in contact with.

When I think of this community of daughters and the leaders who yearn to see change, I am reminded of The Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12. I believe that there is a rising of hope for our sisters. And the only way that they can move further is with our “yes”, in love. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 states,

                   “9 Two people can accomplish more than twice
                   as much as one; they get a better return for their labor.
                   10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.
                   But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble.
                   11 And on a cold night, two under the same blanket
                   can gain warmth from each other. But how can
                   one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be
                   attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back
                   and conquer. Three are even better,
                   for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

This is Chervelle enlarging her territory. Gathering all that she can, and using what is in her hands to stir up change for another whose life situation holds limits. She is standing for justice and for what is right. She may not have everything, or even a lot, but she does have some tools to work the mechanics. She has been blessed with a powerful name to make an impact and to be a blessing. And as Psalm 82:3-4 (MSG) instructs,

                   “You’re here to defend the defenseless, to make sure
                   that underdogs get a fair break; your job is to
                   stand up for the powerless, and prosecute all those who
                   exploit them.”

And as I mentioned before, even though the time has come for me to understand the passages He called over my life, I will not know it all, but what I do know is that I took the first step in expanding my territory by saying “yes”.

Here is where you come in. We have extended our fundraiser beyond the event night! Donations can be made online through www.shelovesmagazine.com or go directly to our donors page until Thursday October 31, 2013. Yes, that is THIS Thursday! We advocate sponsoring a school of 250 girls for the year of 2014. At this moment 64 girls remain to be sponsored! Our BIG and BOLD goal: $10,000.

The breakdown:
• $10 provides sanitary pads for a girl for 3 months
• $20 provides help for 6 months
• $40 will cover a girl for a whole year

          This is all a onetime fee. 

          So, here are a few options for you to consider:
1)Go in half half with a friend/spouse/sister/ daughter/partner/etc
2)Gather and sponsor as a group, two or three or five girls
3)Gather a community (church, family, book club, coffee group, etc) to sponsor two or three or five or more girls.

We are committed to come alongside future female leaders. As women of valour, we call out the Eshet Chayi in our sisters and the generation to follow. We are One. So I ask, will you join in? Head on over to SheLoves, say “yes” with us, and together, lets Keep A Girl In School and change the world.

With Love, Grace and Gumption.

Key to Free necklace created for SfS. Click to donate.