It was a “let’s see if we like each other” dance that began in 2010. Eight graduates of The Seattle School would get on the 8:25 ferry on Saturday mornings and Dan and I would be at the Winslow ferry terminal and “ferry” them to our home. I would have coffee, tea and snacks in my husband’s office and, after briefly greeting them, I would return home and begin preparing lunch for nine people. At noon they’d come to our home for lunch and then off they’d go back to Dan’s office while I cleaned up and began preparing dinner for everyone.
It was a familiar role that I had been good at in the past. I had hosted students since 1983, and I liked being part of my husband’s work. I met amazing people and gathered quite a few wonderful friends over the years. Keith Anderson, president of The Seattle School, asked Dan to mentor a handful of men and women to carry on his legacy. How could I not be behind such a thing?
After six months of meeting together, the opportunity arose to take the new certificate program to St. Louis. We boarded the plane for the very first certificate program for Trauma and Abuse. It was wild and risky and scary and good. It was hard. My role as the sole intercessor was rigorous. By the end of the last weekend I was suffering with pneumonia, and it seemed linked to the freedom of the participants in their valiant story work.
The final goodbye lunch of the Certificate program with the teaching staff ended with a hearty “hazzah” by everyone! Dan, with tears, exclaimed that he knew that this would be the group who would carry his coffin one day. What? I was furious! I had felt this before with Dan loving people in an intimate way and them loving him back in ways that did not include me. I realized I could be stoic and act unaffected by his words and escape to our early flight on United without the team knowing anything was wrong. But, I did not do that.
I chose to honor my story in being Dan’s wife who was often outside of the circle. I chose authenticity and when it was my turn to share how I was feeling I turned beet red and burst into tears.
“It’s happened again! He has come to love you all and I barely know you.”
It was a shocking moment and I did not care that I had thrown water on a beautiful fire of bonded friendship. My love for them was not the same. How could it be? I was not in the intimate sharing of stories. At that moment our ride to the airport arrived and we quickly said goodbye.
God is a trickster and in His goodness had arranged for the donor who had funded this entire year’s travel and hotel stay of ten people to drive us to the airport. He peppered Dan with questions of the year and the experience. He listened intently and he also spoke, over and over again, “Becky, this will never work without you. Becky, the only way this will work is for you to be intensely involved with prayer.”
He had no idea of what had happened or of my tears that burned as they flowed down my cheeks. He had no idea that I could barely look at my husband and could hardly imagine ever traveling with this troop again. I was in agony.
I was relieved when we got to the airport, but even on the flight home I could not escape his words. I knew he was right. The following year my friend Annie agreed to pray with me, this time in Chicago. Again I saw the immense goodness of what was happening for the participants. I watched them change and prayed for them while longing to be in their shoes.
What was my inner war? I was watching strangers, acquaintances, and dear friends do battle and come out of the fight more alive and free. I wanted the same, but couldn’t risk asking if I could come as a participant. It has been a long life not being able to ask for what I want.
I remember when I was young not being able to make it across the monkey bars. But I was too afraid to let go. I waited until my arms were numb and stuck to the bars. Two mothers noticed and pried my fingers away from the bars. They saw I needed help, I couldn’t cry out. I felt the same this time. I wanted to be a participant, but I didn’t know how to ask.
The moment came. It was a casual, normal evening after dinner. Dan and I sat on the couch and I asked him: “What do you think about me being a participant in the lay leader program?”
His face was pained. “Where are we going to find another intercessor like you?” My stomach tightened. I knew he had not heard the depths of what I really wanted. I said it again: “I want as much transformation as I see in the lives of those you fight for.”
I think we both saw what I was saying at the same moment. I want in. I want to be part. I don’t want to be alone. I want to come and play like all the other kids and when I am afraid I want someone to notice and help me down from the monkey bars.
My time in The Allender Center has been life changing. My friend Annie said: “Isn’t it amazing that God used a ministry with your last name to bring such healing for you?” It is true. But for all I gained in my training, I think the deepest transformation came when I risked and asked if I could come.
Becky Allender lives on Bainbridge Island with her loving, wild husband of almost 40 years. A mother and grandmother, she is quite fond of sunshine, yoga, Hawaiian quilting and creating 17th Century reproduction samplers. A community of praying women, loving Jesus, and the art of gratitude fill her life with goodness. She wonders what she got herself into with Red Tent Living! bs
Oh, Becky, I am so very grateful for you and your story and your presence. You bring such richness just by being you. Thank you for sharing this backstory to your journey to the Allender center. Many, many blessings.
Julie, thank you for taking the time to write. It’s a journey I am so grateful to be on. The asking, the waiting, the longing….I am grateful that it did not end there! Blessings back at you!
Becky – you name trepidation around daring to ask for more healing so well. The glimpses of your own healing that I see in your writing and in our brief interactions lead me to conclude that indeed the cobbler’s wife has shoes and ones that glimmer and sparkle!
Wow, Laura! You hit the nail on the head! That is exactly how I used to feel: The cobblers wife without shoes. And to have you name that my shoes glimmer and sparkle…I love that! Thank you.
Your words always touch my tender heart, Becky.
You are a brave Warrior!
I am so glad that you asked “what about me?”
I have seen you take back your power and your voice and it is a blessing & inspiration.
Thank you 💗
Jean, thank you. I love how you phrased this: “I have seen you take back your power and your voice”. Isn’t God amazing! You named it so well.
I am undone by this particular story of yours. I think it is because I have witnessed your journey first hand and have been in awe of it. I am also overcome by gratefulness that you asked if you could come and play too!! In doing so you not only changed your story, but the story and future of The Allender Center! I think my ‘undoness’ is also for all the times you helped me off the monkey bars and safely to the ground. So much goodness all around in your bravery! Thank you for sharing your truth as in doing so you help so many others that also struggle with “what about me?” Keep swinging on those monkey bars and I am ALWAYS here if you need a hand down or if you just want to swing together. I love you dear friend.
I love the image of Laurie and Becky swinging on the monkey bars together. I love that and we have done that, right? Beautiful! You have helped me down often, Laurie! Thank you. And I am more grateful to have had the opportunity to help you down to. Life changing and now we can be life helper/changers for others!
Sweet Becky, I LOVE this piece you shared. It’s easy to conjure up all the fantasy of life it might be to be married to the magical and mystical Dan A. who has been a real part of changing many lives, including mine by his writing and the seminars he offers. This piece brings me back to reality. Yes, you are Dan Allender’s wife. AND you are Becky Allender – a woman of your own majesty and mystery – tender and gifted and longing to be included. How courageous of you to invite us in to such a sacred spot of longing. You remind me that you are created first as Rebecca, beloved daughter of the King of Kings. You are gifted to care for others as a valiant prayer warrior and you long to be included, cared for and healed too. I know you’ve prayed over me and countless others as we’ve joined Recovery Weeks. I want you to be the one prayed over. I want you to be the one being cared for. I’m SO GLAD you risked asking for what you needed. I want to hang on the monkey bars with you and we’ll help each other down or across, whatever the path. Such an inviting and hopeful sharing. love, Valerie
Thank you, Valerie! Here’s to hanging on the monkey bars together! I feel like we understand one another even though our paths are far away. Thank you for naming who I am. Identity….is everything, right? And…I am looking forward to reading more of your story in your book!!! WOW. Just WOW, Valerie!
Becky-Thank you so much for sharing once again your tender heart and also showing that warrior woman within…what courage to speak those words, to acknowledge a wound that needs care and seeking a way to add some healing salve onto it. You are still all those other things… a mighty intercessor, a great wife…you are also His child who has needs of her own and that is what He wants for you. Kudos to speaking up for her! love you-joan
Joan, thank you. Yes, I am His child and there will always be parts of me that will remain a child. Which is a wild new thought and a wild new caring for myself and for others who will forever have young parts inside of them. Are we not holy and awesome creations of God?
Oh Becky, this brought tears and joy this morning.
Thank you Robin. Thank you. I love tears of joy! I miss you.
I have been sweetly humbled and blessed several times now by knowing your prayers where ascending as I’ve interacted with those wild and beautiful Allender Center people. I’m grateful. For you. For your heart in the Unseen. What it must of taken to not acquiesce to being irreplaceable as a pray-er, when you wanted to fight and be fought for, too. You not getting to experience that would be on par with telling Dan he doesn’t get to write anymore. Utter travesty. The world needs both of your mighty voices. I’m so glad you asked!
Thank you for your very kind and heart warming response. I am humbled by it. Thank you. I am glad I asked too! It would have been an “utter travesty”. (I love that. Well said!)
Yes! So glad you asked if you could come. Battling to come out more alive and free for you, for you. Thank you for vulnerably sharing your thoughts and your heart again with us. Makes me curious about where I might want to ask if I can come, for me.
I know! I love what you wrote: ” Makes me curious about where I might want to ask if I can come, for me.” So true. I was shocked at how little I ever ask. I wonder how many other things I have missed out on!
Becky, I love your writing and your vulnerability. So good for you to share your heart with us that you have longings and desires too!!! and so good that you were able to voice them. I love that you are there praying for us this year in the cohert but I also am feeling the blessings of our short but good talks. Looking forward to more! Thank you for your continued faithfulness.
Thank you Cindy. I have loved our short talks too! It is amazing to have the authority as prayer warrior, along with my friend Annie. Thank you for your comment.
Love your brave request!!!
Yes! It WAS brave!
Bravo! Bravo! I love this…AND…I love the prayer warrior in you. So glad you are going for the more💗MJ
Thanks Mary Jane!
This is deeply moving. Your willingness to risk naming your feelings and the sense of being left out was bold indeed. I imagine for those present there was a gift as well. Perhaps it was confusing. But you risked your heart. I remember feeling this particular leave when we would probably need for Open Hearts in South America. My husband’s MK roots allowed him to enter more deeply and I felt left out. It was only when I began to use my Spanish and enter with my whole heart that I understood. Ironically, at this time of our lives I am in Spanish much more than he is here in urban work in Phoenix.
I love that you have a parallel story! Amazing. I did not know you and your husband go to South America with Open Hearts Ministry, That is awesome. It was such a good risk. Looking back, it is hard to ever think that I would have stayed closed and said no to working with The Allender Center. God is good.
I love that you let your tears be seen, that you paid attention and tended to the longing that your heart was speaking, for transformation. I would imagine it required a fair amount of bravery to push past the initial response of “but who will pray?” And hold onto your desire to be included. Well done! I hold many sweet moments in my heart of the power of your intercessory prayers over the years, and I have no doubt that the transformation you experienced in your Allender Center training will continue to bless many as well, your writing here is evidence of that. Much love to you.
Oh, Janet, it was humiliating to cry and say what I did and at the same time it was life giving and felt wonderful. I am very grateful that I did not shut my heart to the opportunity to love the team…and Dan!
Becky, I too was “undone” by reading this. I am so glad that you were brave enough to say “I need this, too”. You may not realize how much your being brave makes it possible for the rest of us to be brave, too. Getting to know you, even a little, in the past year and now, through more of your writing, has been (and will continue to be, I’m certain) such a sweet thing for me and makes my exper once of Dan’s work all the more meaningful. I’m so glad you decided to “join the circle.” Your presence and voice in it are of such great value!
Thank you Tamara! Bravery seemed to happen not on my own accord! I am very thankful the spirit propelled me to speak truth. It was uncomfortable truth, indeed. I should ask the team what went through their minds. I never thought of that until your reply. Thank you. Thank you for your encouragement.
Dear Becky…”I wanted the same, but couldn’t risk asking if I could come as a participant. It has been a long life not being able to ask for what I want.” I picture a child’s heart desperate to be included, to be seen, when I read these words, and am so thankful you courageously stated your desire/your longing to be included. I don’t know, but I gather from some of the things I read that your writing is a new avenue of creativity for you…and if it is what has been unearthed in the process of you risking and asking that question “Can I be healed, too?” — I dance and cry “hallelujah” for the beauty that is pouring from your healing. It is life-giving. I am so thankful for the gift of your words and the valiant desire behind them. I pray for more and more of the gift of your wise and welcomed words. Love to you, Christine
Thank you, Christine, I am thankful I was able to fight for me and my heart. I think my words were just what you wrote: “a child’s heart desperate to be included, to be seen.” you put that beautifully. You encourage me greatly. Thank you!