by Sherry Fox
Few experiences make my heart beat faster than sitting in a circle, watching a group of women speak words of encouragement and exhortation to one of the women in the group. As these women reflect back on what they see in her, she begins to see herself differently. Her demeanor shifts visibly.
Let’s face it. Women get women in a way that men do not. We have sin patterns that are quite different from men. One of our favorites is hiding. It is no coincidence that Jesus rarely, if ever, is recorded rebuking a woman. Rather, he quite often calls her out of her hiding.
Women hide for a number of reasons. We tell ourselves, “If they really knew me, they would reject me.” Or, “No one else struggles with this but me. I can’t let them know.” These are the very thoughts that can be uncovered through authentic sharing.
When one woman chooses to be vulnerable, another realizes she is not alone. Others gain courage from an authentic community. It snowballs. Before you know it, a safe place forms. It is led by the Spirit, and transformation happens. Time after time, I have seen a woman venture out to test the waters of vulnerability. The women surrounding her wade in to support, encourage and lift her up. Healing begins.
In addition to the women who offer comfort, we also need those women who will challenge us when we are believing lies. We need women in our lives who can clearly see truth and are not afraid to speak it.
Recently I was talking to one of my truth friends. I shared some feelings of regret that it had taken me so long to step into what I now see as my calling. So much of my time revolved around pouring into my family and helping them find their callings that I forgot myself.
In five minutes her response re-framed my regret into thanksgiving. She asked a few probing questions. “What if the time you spent pouring into your family so impacted your four children that it contributed to the fact that they now are all adults seeking and reflecting Christ? What if that was your calling then, and it equipped you for your calling now?”
I knew in an instant she was speaking truth. I had known this truth in the past, but often find that I can plunge into self-doubt. I relaxed and gave the Lord praise for His faithfulness to always send a friend who bears truth to guide me back on His path.
Finally, we need a multi-generational setting. How do we live a life of following Jesus in our marriages, parenting and careers that will clearly look different than the ways promoted by our culture? What does that look like? We need someone who has gone before us to demonstrate how it looks to have a Christ-centered home. Reading books helps, but there is nothing more informative than to see it in “real life.”
So what do we as women need from other women? We need women who will call us out of hiding, reflect back to us the strengths and gifts they see in us - things we would never see in ourselves. We need some women who will speak truth into our lives when we are believing lies, and others who will demonstrate how we can grow into the next stage of life and continue to reflect Jesus.
If you are ready to find your safe place this summer, join the loving, truth speaking women at Sisters in Pursuit at thechapelbr.com/sip.