Feel free to check out Part One and Part Two first,
then head back soon for the final installment!
...it comes right out of the Gospel of Luke: “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them … ” (Luke 22:19 NIV). In the original language, “he gave thanks” reads “eucharisteo.”
The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning “grace.” Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning “joy.” Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy.
Deep chara joy is found only at the table of the euCHARisteo; the table of thanksgiving.
After Danielle left the stage to cheers of love and support, Jen introduced the keynote speaker of Edel 15, Audrey Assad. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one hoping that she was going to burst out in an intense acapella of O Happy Fault, but what she shared was equally as stirring. I would expect nothing less from a woman who said, “Tolstoy is my muse, and Merton my mentor.” She gave a frank, raw account of her early life, and how she overcame sin and its attendant self-loathing (you can read more about the topic here), then she shared how her life had changed since becoming a mother. As a sufferer of severe post-partum depression, I felt myself nodding along, my eyes glistening with tears. She spoke of her anxiety, the exhuastion, the utter loss of self. My heart clenched in my chest as she admitted how she lost her SELF-- as a person, as a women, in her motherhood. I knew that life. I knew that fear. But my eyes overflowed as she shared the reverse side of that coin. The bit engraved on my heart to remain forever after the depression had been treated and I had found myself again:
that I would be deeply gripped by a love for you which no words could ever reach; that you would burrow down into the depths of my heart, never to be removed, come hell or high water. I love you with a fire and a fierceness hitherto unknown to me.
I would fight a lion to protect you; I would wrestle any serpent, slay any dragon, battle any dark and dastardly force to keep you. Love is not an adequate word for this, but it is all I have. I love, I love, I love you.
It was such a gift to have so many women share their journeys. It has allowed for a change in my heart, a clearing of my eyes and a renewal of my purpose. To all of the speakers who shared their lives and their wisdom, to Hallie and Jen who followed through on this wild inspiration, working tirelessly and overcoming a dizzying range of setbacks to give this gift to their fellow travelers on this path of motherhood... Thank you seems so inadequate.