Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Girl God – A Book About God’s Feminine Presence

When Trista Hendren’s daughter admitted she didn’t feel God’s presence, Trista suggested it might be because she had The Girl God inside her. This ignited her daughter’s spiritual education and Trista’s decision to write a book about the divine feminine. The Girl God, published in November 2012, tells the story of Trista and her daughter’s search for the feminine in spirituality in one of the most beautiful children’s books we’ve seen. Illustrated by artist Elisabeth Slettnes whose oil and acrylic paintings grace every page (and give you something new to discover with every reading), the book is infused with poetry, quotes and spiritual texts from some of the greatest voices of all time. Gloria Steinem, Eleanor Roosevelt, bell hooks, Gandhi and Rumi and others add their timeless wisdom to a story many mothers strive to tell their daughters about finding themselves in religion, but don’t know how.

Trista grew up a fundamentalist Christian in Portland, OR, never doubting her faith or the spiritual perspective preached at home. It was when she went away to a southern Bible college that doubt crept in. Trista says, “I used to read the bible and pray for hours every day. I planned to become a minister. But when I went to college, I realized that everything I’d believed growing up was wrong. I felt like I’d been lied to and for a while, I became an atheist.” She left Bible college and continued her education in Oregon studying women’s studies and business. Eventually, she was introduced to Islam and converted. Over time, she learned about the hidden scriptures and religious texts written by women in all faiths, including as she mentions in The Girl God, 50 volumes of words by female scholars of Islam.

The Girl God is Trista’s attempt to ignite spiritual inspiration in girls and women who feel, as she did, that the voices of women have been silenced and their experiences and wisdom have been absent too long. She was strongly influenced by author, Patricia Lynn Reilly who wrote, “There were no religious images in the churches or synagogues of our childhood that celebrated the birthing powers of women. According to religion's myths, the world was brought into being by a male God, and woman was created from man. This reversal of biological process went unchallenged. Most of us didn't even notice the absence of the mother. Although we may not have been consciously aware of her absence in bible stories and sermons, her absence was absorbed into our being.”

Taking one of the quotes from The Girl God, Sojourner Truth may state Trista’s case for why women belong front and center in all spiritual and religious perspectives. 

“Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ‘cause Christ wasn’t a woman!’ Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with it.” Sojourner Truth – from Ain’t I A Woman?
~Jeanne Faulkner, Every Mother Counts

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