Power that leads to courage

2016_11_30_ana_hAna Alicia Hinojosa is from Brownsville, Texas and recently began working for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Central States as Immigration Education Coordinator, where she is committed to the work of educating immigrants of their rights and bridging congregations to the work of MCC. She is a single, adoptive mother of three teenagers, who have inspired her to pursue her doctoral degree in Business in Organizational Leadership at Grand Canyon University. Her passion is to help young people pursue their dreams and make our world a better place for all, no matter where you come from. This is the second in a series of posts featuring reflections from participants in the recent Women Doing Theology conference, I’ve got the power!

 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” – Joel 2:28-29

What power do we possess? How do we name and recognize our individual powers? Are all women the same? How are we empowered to empower others? These were some of the questions that I, along with other women, pondered at “I’ve got the Power, Naming and reclaiming power as a force for good,” the Women Doing Theology conference in Leesburg, Virginia.

The word power is a word that has often been misunderstood and misused. But as we came together as women, we explored what it means to use our power doing God’s work.

In unity, we gave each other permission to confront the status quo, to say no to situations that aren’t right for us, and the authority and ability to make things happen. We recognized and created safe space to accept that we each embody unique and different cultures, speak different languages, and possess diverse forms of power that enable us to serve ourselves and each other differently.

As I sat in the presence of this diverse group of women, I observed a common challenge for many of us: to find our individual power and voice it in a safe place openly. I appreciated the worship times, our large and small group discussions, where we felt the Holy Spirit descend upon us and God’s presence move. I felt God speak to each one of us in that room calling us to use His power. The power of courage was one that resonated in my mind. Courage is the ability to do something that frightens us. It just takes one step out in courage to make things happen; only one stone is needed to begin the ripple effect which will affect future generations. For me being a college educated woman, it is empowering to step out in courage, to go spread God’s word. So begin that dream of owning your own business, or pursue the dream of attaining a doctoral degree. Whatever your dream is, don’t let fear steal what God has for you and your legacy. The power that comes when we own our identity as powerful and courageous women will allow us to step out in faith and make an impact on this world.

So to those out there looking for your God-given power, just bend your knees and pray for God to show what He has for you. “I will pour out my Spirit on all people … both women and men,” says Joel 2:28-9. On the final morning of the conference, Chantelle Todman-Moore was part of a discussion titled Empowering to Empower and she challenged us to own being powerful women. I carry this challenge with me and extend it to those in the next generation. Go in courage with God guiding your path and amazing things will happen.