Introducing Caenisha Warren!
What an incredible year and privilege it has been to offer a few contributions to Theoloqui over the past year! I have loved getting to know these diversely gifted sisters and look forward to continue reading their posts in the weeks and months to come. As I am transitioning out in this season, I am excited to introduce Caenisha Warren as one of our new contributors of Theoloqui. She is a fellow Seattlite and someone who is fiercely passionate about the work of reconciliation in every area of her life. She truly embodies the words and truths she speaks and I have always admired that about her. I believe Caenisha will add a fresh unique voice and perspective to the team and the many engaging conversations that will happen throughout the year. Yours, Gail Song Bantum
By Caenisha Warren
There are times when it seems I see things upside down but really it is my life’s experience that has given me a different perspective. As I think about who I have become, in my world there are definite heroines I can name. There are women who have changed my world by ways of encouragement. And just as importantly, women who changed my world by way of truth buried under pain and struggle.
I have markers in my life where great women have offered friendship, guidance, mentorship, direction and encouragement. In my justice journey they are numerous – Pam Christensen, Krisann Jarvis Foss, Debbie Blue, Lina Thompson, Gail Song Bantum, Liz Mosbo Verhage, Brenda Salter McNeil – to name a few. These women have provided counsel, questions, challenges and critiques on my identity and my call to reconciliation.
Deep in me, there is an unmet desire in my story that wants to include my mother as an admired heroine. Yet there is a part of my reality that elicits feelings of hurt, confusion, and anger when I think about my mother. We would not be the mother-daughter team on the Amazing Race. The hard truth is that this relationship, pain and all, is an embraced part of who I am. If I am honest with myself in seeking truth and understanding, the more I learn about my mother, I find a trail of duty, perseverance and sacrifice that cannot be forgotten.
Mothers are formed, they aren’t born in that instant that you come out of the birth canal. And to the best of my mother’s capabilities, she nurtured my young self, persevered through set-backs and challenges, and demonstrated a sincere call towards duty and sacrifice. Some of the love she was unable to show in socially familiar ways, was therefore captured in this sense of responsibility as the provider parent. Though there may be a chasm between my mother and me presently, my childhood lens knows that a labor of duty and sacrifice, is a labor of love.
For any faults of either of my parents, I am blessed with the gift of extended family, from which one particular heroine of mine emerges. My aunt is a woman of fervent prayer and deep-rooted faith, with a confirmed call and sweeping knowledge of herself. I went through the last part of grade school, all of middle school and high school without seeing my father’s side of the family. But even 9+ absent years couldn’t erase the familiarity between us as my aunt approached me in the line-up at my high school graduation. She didn’t need to remind me who she was, because I knew from the minute she walked up. Our long overdue embrace was interrupted by the beginning of the Pomp and Circumstance march. But her simple words stuck with me, “I just wanted you to know that we love you and have been praying for you.”
In the following years of becoming family again, I have kept my eyes close on my aunt and how she lives out her faith. Prayer is at her center. It is her faithful example that challenged me with questions about my own dependence, or lack thereof, on prayer. The road towards reconciliation can be weary and lonesome, especially without prayer. The road towards reconciliation cannot be traversed without call, the will to persevere, and the lament of sacrifice. For all the women named above, I am thankful that they have shaped and supported me, even when it has come from a hard place. The truth about the Holy Spirit is that we can praise giving honor; but we can also offer praise that allows for lament. Both shape us into being and change our worlds.