22 May 2013

What women can do


I haven’t been in two months.

I’ve been hunched over a computer and conferences and deadlines and this carpet I have to vacuum at least twice a day it seems. What with the Cheerios and giving notice on our lease and the people all coming through at all hours to see this place we call home I’m more than a little self conscious of the mud tracks that seem to haunt my days.

It’s in the high 80s and the last thing that makes sense is to put on leggings it seems. But I do. I roll out in the old white minivan and roll down the windows and let the music and the kid-free-quiet settle into the hot seats along with my legs that haven’t run anywhere in way too long.

My goals aren’t big. They’re not Vogue or Cosmo, they’re just for company and a place to fling back these shoulders that have spent too long hunched over words on a screen. The music is already thumping through the floor boards when I arrive. Funny how joy can sound like a Latin beat and a roomful of women all stomping in time.

I’m not the oldest or the youngest in the room. No one knows my name. But I feel so deeply welcome. All that’s required is a willingness to sweat. I do. I feel it running down my back and it heals me in places that have been asleep for too long. I need to move like this. I know it will hurt tomorrow. But right now I need this room and these women. They remind me of all that is good and beautiful and strong with my gender.

There are several old enough to be my mom. In all shades of human. Dancing, dancing with flair and all the rhythm that I seem to have lost. Their hips sing and I grin and try not to catch my own eye in the mirror because I know I’ll just laugh at my own off balance reflection. Women with sinews and thighs and strong hands celebrating this business of being alive. This love song to humanity.

Did you know that Jesus showed up in a gym in Northern Virginia yesterday?

He looked a lot like His daughters.

All this determination they have to put His creation through the motions. To feel the blood pump and thump and the smiles crack at the end of a movement all exhausted and exhilarated and connected by a class that happens every Monday.

I keep at it. Even though the clock hand moves so desperately slowly and the class feels like forever, I stop counting minutes and start counting women. Long hair stuck down her back. Short legs over there. Strong arms next to me and the accountant one row away who moves like a dancer in her own spotlight.

I love them so much. These women I don’t know. I love them.

So strong, so capable, so beloved.

I would write them a love song if I could – the sisterhood of believers who don’t know how brave they are until they do.

Until they get up at 4:30 to provide for those kids. Until they cut and bleed to deliver that baby. Until they serve in the homeroom year in and year out. Until they meet the ambulance at the hospital. Until they say good-bye to their parents, their homes, their jobs, the version of themselves they’ve known best for decades.

So much brave beating in time to a hallelujah chorus on the stereo speakers.

So much remarkable.

So much strength.

And on the days I remember to pay attention I see how we’re all still wild with the wonder of being women.


{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    Breathing this in deeply. Love, love, love.

    Also? You’re pretty.


  2. 3

    Your words continue to amaze me. You capture it beautifully!

  3. 4

    Absolutely lovely. Thank you for that!

  4. 5

    I just love this. I wish we remembered this more often, this love for our sisters. Thank you for sharing and encouraging us women :)

  5. 6

    Beautiful. You inspire me, again and again. The freedom with which you write, the fluidity of your words, how they shout authenticity and care. Know you are loved. Bless you Lisa-Jo. xoxo

  6. 7

    ”Until they say good-bye to their parents, their homes, their jobs, the version of themselves they’ve known best for decades.”
    Thank you Lisa-Jo — today I needed to be reminded that when we do this it IS something hard and brave. Thank you for your lovesong to us.

  7. 8

    I am not a mom. Nor am I a Christian. I found your blog through my friend Kerry. I love the five minute friday and I love your style of writing. I had to freeze my gym membership for the last two months and I miss Zumba. Dancing, moving, being free with one’s body in that context is like an emotional and spiritual effervescent tablet being dropped into a glass that has become dangerously close to empty. Moving works for me.

  8. 11

    You have such a way with words. I always wish I would have written what you wrote. You inspire me to keep writing, in hopes of finding a more creative way to express myself as I sit to write from my heart.

  9. 13

    I love how you can turn a post about Zumba class into something beautiful and make me get all teary eyed and feel empowered! I want to be able to do that one day, I’m working on the right attitude

  10. 14

    I so enjoy those times of being in a collective of women!

  11. 16

    I shared this with my Zumba group because it’s so beautiful and I needed them to know how wonderfully brave and amazing they are. I think I’ll be looking at myself a little differently in the mirror tonight when I go to class :)

  12. 17

    Beautiful thoughts, beautiful words. You are radiant with a spirit, smile, and eyes filled with joy. Far more beautiful than any “super” model!

  13. 18

    This is such a beautiful image. I wish more women could experience something like this, together.

  14. 19

    Oh dear Lisa Jo, I love you so!!! thank you for being you! Xoxo

  15. 20

    I have no clue why I haven’t opened your emails before now (other then FMF) and now I am kicking myself for waiting so long! What a strong beautiful woman you are. You encourage so many of us every Friday and now you encourage one more via my inbox. Thank you for your honesty, for seeing God in everything, and acknowledging what it means to be a woman. God bless you!

  16. 22

    Like a song to my soul. Thank you for this, Lisa-Jo.

  17. 23

    I love lots of your posts, but these Zumba ones just speak to me. We need to know that we are beautiful and strong. We feel like failures so much of the time. Thank you for these celebratory reminders to look at ourselves (and each other) differently. Hope your “noodle arms” are OK today. :)

  18. 24

    I love it! You describe how I feel doing Zumba. It’s my fav type of exercise. I’m so confident by the end that I have no problem going up to a lady and saying, how in the world do you get your hips to move like that because mine are just not doing it. And they’re so sweet that they take the time to pull up you tube videos to help me out. :)

  19. 25

    Amazing blog. This was sent to me by one of the women of my BKH Tribe and it deeply blessed me today.

    Thanks. Light. Love.

  20. 27

    Just exactly what I needed tonight! Thank you! Beautiful words.

  21. 28

    Thank you. I loved this.

  22. 29

    What a rockstar. Yeah, you. This is wonderful – makes me wish I could move well, that’s for sure. I can walk – barely! – and I do, but I used to do pilates and I miss that controlled moving. Zumba, however, terrifies me. Scares me to death!! So. . . where are ya movin’??

    • 30

      Yes indeed, are you leaving Northern Virginia? Although Ive been in New England for many years all of my family and best girlfriends still live in Northern Virginia and even though I visit as often as I’m able My very being aches to return home to the cherry blossoms, dogwood trees and strolls along “The Mall”.

  23. 31

    Such a beautiful post. Truly uplifting on a sunny Sunday morning here in England, sneaking in a coffee in bed before everyone’s up and the crazy get-to-church blur! It really speaks of community. And of Christ in the middle of it all, even in the midst of a gym class – these moments happen anywhere and everywhere. Thank you for another special and encouraging piece (post doesn’t describe it!) :)


  1. […] Since it appears I’m on a mission to celebrate women today, I feel I must share with you this.  Lisa Jo Baker is one of the few blogs that comes directly to my email in-box.  I want to make sure I don’t miss a single one.  I believe this might be one of my favorite reads of hers: What Women Can Do. […]

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