My journey towards becoming Elsa is kind of long but also quite humorous and endearing, even though anger is what started this. Let me start from the beginning. I never expected this one interaction I had with a Twitter pastor to turn into this big of an event and actually follow me all through my seminary career. Everyone is playing along with me (church and seminary), and it has been a delightful experience.
The year was 2019 and Ed Stetzer (I am going to name him because I did when I started this whole thing and I want to show that my compassion has grown since this happened) retweeted a 2014 TGC (Total Gospel Coalition – my compassion for them has not grown yet—the TGC is so toxic) blog post that warned parents about letting their daughters see the movie Frozen. The fear was because of the line in the song Let it Go that said: “no right, no wrong, no rules for me…I’m free.” When I read that, and saw that Ed retweeted this because Frozen 2 was going to be released, I was livid. There is nothing these men fear more than a free woman. So, I retweeted and responded that not only will I be watching Frozen with my daughter, Let it Go is now the anthem of my life. ❄️ I was telling the truth, and I had no idea how true it was going to be then.
Here is the thing though, even though I was angry when I started this journey—I have had more fun dressing up as Elsa and letting her speak deep truth within me. This truth possesses me now too. I never would have found this prophet if it were not for these men who are really immature and clinging to power that is being taken away from them by God. They are so scared that even Elsa scares them. This loss of worldly power is good news for them and a means of grace. What has possessed (and is possessing) them is hurting them—Elsa can help. They would not fear her if this was not true.
The road to become Elsa started slowly. I made jokes at the grocery store, because Frozen 2 was everywhere, and put them on Facebook. I bought lunch supplies for myself that were all Frozen themed. It made me laugh so hard. And my dearest friend Wendy Moore bought me a shirt for my first day of seminary.
I also sent a note to the pastors who truly had supported me on this journey on the first day of school: George Mason, Jonathan Martin, Dan Bouchelle, and Gordon Dabbs (Dan and Gordon are C of C pastors who have been incredibly for me). Then I thanked Ed Stetzer and the TGC because without them I would not know Elsa. The words from Let it Go gave me the strength I needed to keep going because this journey has been really scary for me. I am scared too. I wrote this line from the song to them: I know I left a life behind, but I’m too relieved to grieve. Well, I did leave a life behind and I was too relieved to grieve for a while, but the grief did come—and it came on strong when school started.
So, my love for Elsa just caught on quickly at school. My friends found it a lot of fun too. The funniest moment was during finals. My friend Ashlee Sweeney had given me an Elsa figure from McDonalds and she sat with me during the exams. Well, in my Spiritual Formation class I thought I had lost her and I yelled out loud: Oh my gosh, where is Elsa?! My Spiritual advisor looked at me weirdly and said: What? It was so funny, and then I filled my class in on my Elsa story. This story just kept growing.
Here are some things my friends have given me that has helped this “freeze” ❄️ grow.
As you can see, this story has not been the angry resistance story that it started out as. What this story has turned into is a story of love, connection, and laughter. Some of us are reading Valarie Kaur’s book See No Stranger, because she is coming to Dallas and the Baptist House of Studies at Perkins is one of the sponsors for her event titled Revolutionary Love. She talks about anger being a necessary emotion for love—you have to go through it to get to the joy. My journey as Elsa has demonstrated this truth.
Since becoming Elsa, I have realized I do have a lot in common with her. In Frozen 1, Elsa learns she has a super power that is dangerous—too much for the world and it must be hidden. This leads to a deep depression for her, and pain for her sister too. She eventually broke and became herself. I was told this lie in church. As a woman, my voice can only lead people to destruction if I were considered a leader. 2016 broke me. I was deeply depressed so I started speaking to live—and I wanted to be heard now! I had to leave home to find the people who were actually interested in what I had to say and wanted to help pave a way for me to use my voice effectively. Like Elsa’s power, it is a power that has to be taken seriously and looked at closely because it can cause harm when not channeled correctly. When done well, this power can keep a snowman (Olaf) alive in summer. Isn’t that beautiful?
Frozen 2, now Elsa’s once-believed dangerous power is now the only hope for the future. Elsa has a deep knowing that a voice is calling her, and she believes that voice is good. She follows that voice into the unknown without specifics, only her deep knowing. She finds the truth about her family and her ancestry. Her sister did not want her to do this because it was dangerous, and it did almost take her out: “Don’t go too far who you’ll be drowned.” But eventually Elsa and Anna, both, save Arendelle and the Northuldra tribe that Arendelle had maliciously hurt by systemic oppression. Elsa found out her grandfather was part of the scheme and had to accept that fact. She also found out that she was part of the magical forest because that was her mom’s ancestry. This is so weird because I am finding out information about our American history and how the Bible was used to oppress indigenous peoples. My husband is from an indigenous family and his grandmother was raised in a Catholic orphanage by design.
It is a lot. But like what we have seen in Frozen 2, the journey was toward healing for everybody—not destruction for anybody. Only systems need to crumble.
I dress up like Elsa because she is my matron saint. She reminds me of the journey I am on and to believe in it. The only part of Let it Go that I stray from is the part where it says “you’ll never see me cry.” Oh, yes, you will. Tears are my super power. It is wild that our church’s theme for Advent this year was “Breaking Dawn.” This also plays to the song Let it Go.
This has been such a fun journey, and I will let Elsa keep speaking to me and helping me find my own truth. As Billy Porter says: the only way to save ourselves and the earth is for all of us to become are truest and realest selves. It is hard work. Painful work. There will be anger, tears, and maybe a lot more (panic attacks for me), but then comes the healing. Then comes the joy. Good news is breaking in. We have to go through it to know it is true. We have to learn the real truth, accept it, and heal what hurts.
Elsa has taught me how to play. Play is the antidote to depression. I am forever grateful to my matron saint.
Here are a few pics of this long and continuing journey that brings more hope in the world by the day.