spiritual growth

Ferocious Female Fears: Eskimo Girls and Women’s Retreats

It was January of 1979 when my family moved, and I was a new student, coming in half way through the academic year. I was an 8th grader in a Southern California High School District which had recently adopted a (short-lived) plan to eliminate all their Jr. High Schools and place the 8th graders on the High School campuses. The first week at the school is a a bit blurry, but there are some significant moments that do stand out. For example, I still remember the one time I visited my assigned locker for that year. I was greeted by two gentlemen who appeared to be middle-aged auto mechanics.  I now recognize that they were more likely a couple of 17-year-old boys who had just come from the Auto-Shop class. Both were tall, dark and badly in need of a shave. They teased me when I struggled with my locker. I looked up at the two scruffy men with their broad shoulders and made a conscious decision to carry all of my books for the rest of the year. This was the beginning of my strength-training regimen.

One other memory that stands out is the day I was assaulted by an Eskimo. Someone had been caught passing notes in Science class, and the teacher opted to have us all stay after class for 10 minutes (or maybe it was three–but the time was an eternity in my mind). This was the last class of the day, and when we were finally able to exit the classroom the halls were barren. The High School was laid out in a circle, so it was easy to get lost. I’ve heard about former classmates of my Alma Mater who still wander the blue and gold halls to this day. They are perpetually lost in the round-about.

As I tried to find my way to the place where I was to meet up with my two older brothers, I ended up going in the wrong direction completely. It was a rainy day–so of course it made my mood more intense and my memory of the event more dramatic. I noticed another student from Science class was behind me and heading in the same direction, but I didn’t give it too much thought. I turned the corner to what I thought would be the Attendance Offices, and saw the school’s gymnasium. This is when I realized I was lost.

This is when I also realized that girls could be mean for no reason what so ever. As I stood staring at the large building, the student I had noticed earlier came up behind me and slammed a fist into my back. I turned around and what stood before me was a looming female figure. She had dark brown hair and dark eyes to match. Her jawline was wide, giving her a baboon-like aggressive look. She was broader than I, and she was scowling. To this day I have no idea what she said to me. I think I was in shock.

What happened next was when I realized that girls could be kind for no reason what so ever. Suddenly, three girls seemed to step out of nowhere. Like a pack of Pink Superheroes, one of the girls reached out, grabbed my arm and pulled me in the direction they were walking. No one said anything to the wide face, dark haired girl. They just walked, and pulled me along. Finally one of the girls spoke to me saying, “She wrote a note that said she was gonna kick your ass.” I looked down and mumbled, “Why?”

The answer has stayed with me for years. “She doesn’t like how you look, she said she could tell you were stuck up.

We walked to the Attendance Offices and the Pink Superheroes went on their way. I found my brothers and we walked home in the rain. I didn’t tell my family what had happened because I was too ashamed. Somehow I felt like I had done something to cause the assault. After all, the insinuation of being “stuck up” was the worst accusation I had ever faced. With it held the unspoken belief that I saw something in myself that they lacked. It spoke volumes in areas that I didn’t even fully understand.

It would be great to say that the Pink Superheroes became my friends, but that’s not what happened. I mean, eventually it happened–over the course of years and shared experiences we did become friends (and consequently we now share our lives on Facebook.) What happened in 1979, was that I spent a period of about five months scurrying off campus and up a steep hill to my house for fear of the wide faced, dark haired girl. Then, one day, the girl seemed to vanish. Someone later told me she had moved to Alaska. I have avoided Eskimos ever since.

eskimo womanRiding on “Small World” at Disneyland is an entirely different experience for me than it is for most people.

Last week my husband interviewed for a Pastoral position at a large church in another state. (No–it’s not Alaska) We were blessed that they were even interested in talking with him. In light of my infidelity from last year, I didn’t believe the leadership of any church would want me to wear the title, “Pastor’s Wife.”

Visiting the church was one of the most stressful interviewing experiences my husband and I have ever faced. We have interviewed for several different churches over the course of our 26 years of marriage, but this was completely different. This time along with all the emotions that we brought on our road trip, I brought along guilt and shame. Because these emotions are so intense, they affected the entire week-long process.

My fears and insecurities were huge, but God was bigger.

The church did offer my husband a job. The leaders are fully aware of what I did, yet they have decided to walk through this time with us. Our hope is inspired because of their decision to embrace us both.

We already began to see the adventure unfolding when we found a home to buy. After some offers and counter-offers, our bid was accepted and we entered into escrow. It’s exciting to imagine being homeowners again. The adventure is underway.

Then the 13-year-old girl in me appeared. It happened when I went online to read about the church’s Women’s Retreat. I read the details quickly: campground, hiking, bunk beds. No Refunds on registration. The retreat will happen less than a month after escrow closes. I love camping and hiking, and the timing seemed perfect…before I clicked the mouse.

After I clicked the mouse, my heart began to pound with an unnatural rhythm, the room started spinning and my eyes welled up with tears. I looked over at my husband, and my words spilled out softly, “Oh crap…what did I just do?” He reached over and wiped away the lone tear falling down my cheek, “It’s gonna be good.

And he believes that. He believes that it’s going to be good because he has never been a 13-year-old girl in a new school with an Eskimo wanting to “kick your ass.” He believes that women will like me, and he believes that I will make friends. I love his optimistic confidence in the female species. However, my mind thinks differently about women. Girls are mean when they have no reason to be mean, and if there was ever a time in my life that girls have a reason to be mean–the time is now.

I am eager for the Lord to transform me into a woman of confidence and security–but, I’m not there yet. I am still struggling with identity and self-worth. I am anxious and insecure, and sometimes I have to recite my memory verses over and over at 4 AM until sleep finds me. Sure, in a public setting I can be as funny as any stand-up comedian after a two drink minimum. 🙂 But, my private world is still under construction.

Even though I am no longer a teenager, I am filled with the same fears of rejection. I want to have friends, and I want to connect with people in deep and meaningful ways. I want to hear the stories of others, and be encouraged by the ways God is moving in their lives. I want to go for walks and talk about television shows and failures in dieting.  I want to dine out with friends, and laugh at the stories of child-rearing gone wrong. I want to meet a friend for coffee, and share confessions of books we never finished. I want to believe that there is a place where I am wanted–a place where a woman is waiting for a friend.

My fear is that I won’t make those friends. The enemy tells me that my future will include isolation and shunning. That’s a cold way to live. It brings up images of ice storms and igloos.

My only choice is to pray for the Pink Superheroes to show up in my life. Girls of grace. My hope is strengthened and my heart calms down when I hear myself praying outloud for God to bring women into my life who are not afraid to spend time with a woman with flaws. Over the course of the last five months, I have learned so much about the nature of strong grace-filled women. These are women who love with actions and deeds, and not merely with words. They have inspired me in ways that are more meaningful than they may even realize. They have used text messaging, social media, and coffee dates as a means to show me God’s love. They have been unafraid to invite me to Bunco and Birthday Parties. They nudged me on to serve at my church. They’ve stepped in with blow dryers and prayers. I want to learn from them. I want to take what they have demonstrated and pass it along to other women. Ultimately, I have learned that I want to be someone else’s Pink Superhero.

 My fears and insecurities are huge, but God is bigger.

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22 thoughts on “Ferocious Female Fears: Eskimo Girls and Women’s Retreats

  1. Oh Jackie….I’ll let the secret out…I really think down deep we all feel the same. We are all filled with insecurities, some of us are just more honest about it. You will be fine in your new adventure, you will be loved and even liked, because you are you and you are honest with your joys and pains. Love you cousin, Audrey

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    1. Audrey, Thank you so much. You have always been an inspiration to me. Honestly, you are one of the women I admire because you have reasons to chase after bitterness–but you have chose to be graceful and loving instead. Thank you for reading and for commenting.

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  2. You are most certainly my pink superhero and although I don’t live near you, I hope that you will be a forever friend of mine! I’ll pray against mean girls!

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    1. Heather, we “met” because you were willing to put yourself out there and write to me. We will remain friends. Thank you friend!!

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  3. I agree with Audrey! At least I know for a fact, that I feel the same way. I’m so happy to hear that the interview went well. I’m just sorry that you’re leaving, when I feel as though I’m just starting to get to know you. But thanks again for your transparency, Jackie. I know just how scary that can be. It makes me really nervous to share personal struggle sometimes. And then after doing so, I’m filled with self-doubt and worry that I told too much. But I will continue to pray that God brings grace-filled women into my life. And I pray that you find the same! By the way, the new pad is super cute! 🙂

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    1. I totally understand the self doubt following the moments of brave vulnerability. You just keep being that woman and God will bring women who are graceful into your life. We are all like magnets–we attract people who are like us. If we are critical and mean, then those type of women will be more comfortable around us. Keep loving others the same way you have loved me and it will be returned to you. Thank you for writing to me.

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  4. Oh Jackie,
    Your ability to be open and honest with how you feel and what you want is so encouraging!!……Every women has said, “I am filled with fears of rejection. I want to have friends, and I want to connect with people in deep and meaningful ways. I want to hear the stories of others, and be encouraged by the ways God is moving in their lives. I want to go for walks and talk about television shows and failures in dieting. I want to dine out with friends, and laugh at the stories of child-rearing gone wrong. I want to meet a friend for coffee, and share confessions of books we never finished. I want to believe that there is a place where I am wanted–a place where a woman is waiting for a friend”…..I know I have and still do to this day. But reaching out is HARD! I see how you connect with people (I have wanted that with you!). TRUST me you will be LOVED!!!! I hope we can keep in touch!!! I am excited that you are going to a church that believes in “doing” what Gods word says to after the exposure of sin in someones life…..going along side and walking through the healing with you BOTH!!! I am excited for you and David!!

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    1. You are so very special to me Karen. I love you and I am so thankful for the test messages you send. We really do need to make Patty spend an evening with us very soon. We need to have an evening of “quilting” before I leave. I love you friend.

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  5. Jackie, I really don’t know you, but I have been reading your blog. You are such an amazing women of God. What has happen to you in the past. Is growth of what God plan for you in the future. God journey for you and David is going to be an amazing one. God forgives us for our sins. That is all that matter’s. I know that to some women that doesn’t mean alot. But you will totally feel Gods love from these amazing women you run into. I love reading your journey. God has totally blessed ME!! with your blog. Love you Jackie ❤

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    1. Thank you for reaching out to me AFTER you knew my short-comings. Seriously, no one would have thought badly of you if you had just kept me at a distance. I appreciate you choosing instead to show me love. It means a great deal to me, and it speaks volumes about your faith. You are amazing Theresa.

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  6. Jackie,
    I am so excited for you to get this fresh start! God doesn’t want you to wear a scarlet A on your chest or your heart! You don’t have to wear or share your story unless you feel led to do so! However, I believe You and David are the most amazing story of God’s grace and forgiveness in the flesh that I have ever seen! I just know He is going to use the two of you to minister to other couples who are struggling! I am sad to see you go but I can’t wait to read about how God uses you!!

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    1. It’s almost too difficult for me to respond to you, Leanne. You are such an accomplished and admirable woman.

      You are like tape. When we wrap a gift, we focus on the paper and the ribbon. But, really…we can’t do any of it without tape.

      In my life you have been like tape. I started a job that I was not qualified or educated to perform. I was very much in over my head. You came along and helped to hold the big events together. You did. For two Turkey Cons and an Untea–you were there in the background holding it all together.
      And then the affair came out. Among those who had a right to be angry–there was you. You had every reason to demand my head on a platter. But, instead you showed up with a hug and an offer for time away in Arizona. You showed me love when you could have made it your goal to insure that I fully understood the gravity of what I had done. You loved David and I with what you had to offer.
      No one else knew the way you worked in our marriage–because, again, you were like tape.

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  7. Thank you for your openness. At 38 I still keep waiting to feel like a confident grown up instead of the awkward 13 year old who moved to TN half way through 7th grade. I don’t make friends easily because of my insecurities. I often convince myself that people are only pretending to like me or they only like me because they don’t know what I’m really like deep down. Perhaps this is why the best friend I have ever had is the friend who’s know me since I was that 13 year old. Having her 5 hours away is isolating. It is such a struggle for me.

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  8. I hate how much the enemy robs! You were my Pink Superhero when I needed the gift I had so carefully hidden away for fear of rejection called out. May God grant you so many authentic and beautiful friends in your new world…if they had any idea how much so many will be missing you so dearly…they would love you just for us.

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  9. Jackie, you are an amazing woman, whom God loves and is honing and using to glorify Himself. Thank you for your openness and honesty. Your writing is touching many lives — mine included. You have a wonderful husband who loves you and loves his Lord and Savior. God will keep you both safe in His arms wherever He leads. I am thankful for FB so we may keep in touch. Keith, Jessie and I love you and your family very much.

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  10. Hi Jackie!

    We have never met (have met Pastor David at Lone Hill campus), but I have been reading your blog, you and Pastor David are an inspiration. I have been praying for you both and that God would use your experiences for good and to reveal his plan, I am excited for your new adventure and know that God has an awesome plan for you guys. I enjoy reading your blog, it’s given me things to think about in my own marriage. I wish I would have had the opportunity to know you in person, I hope you will continue to blog in your new adventure, I look forward to reading how God is using the two of you… 😀

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    1. Jennifer,
      Thank you for taking the time to write a comment. It means a great deal to me–I can definitely feel the love of God in the kindness of your words. Your gracious attitude and your hopefulness for us to have a good future speaks volumes into your own faith. Your husband is blessed to have a woman like you as his wife.
      Thank you for reading my blog. It’s a tremendous blessing to me to imagine God using for good the things that the enemy wanted to use for destruction. God bless.

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  11. I stumbled across your blog accidentally. I am so blessed and refreshed by your honest portrayal of real pain, hard struggles, faithfully seeking God, accepting His forgiveness, encouraging others in spite of the humiliation…..mostly, I am in awe of the marriage you, your husband & God are creating because out of the ashes of sin is rising a Phoenix of Hope. What Love…..

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