The Sisterhood: Women Unite!

9:06 AMHeather

I have a confession to make.  During my bought with the flu and bronchitis in January, I sorta got "stuck" on some not-so-fabulous TV shows.  Okay, alright already.  I got addicted.  Don't even ask my husband about why I've been watching The Bachelor.  I just don't have a good answer.  I could feign it a hazard of my profession as a social worker that I'm intrigued with the human dynamic.  That may, indeed, be partially true.  The drama is also hard to resist.  

And, another such show caught my attention.  TLC's The Sisterhood.  A reality show that I saw as a better alternative to any real housewives.  I mean, these are preacher's wives from Atlanta.  Or rather first ladies, as they call themselves.  They love Jesus, so it's all good, right?

Um, no.  I had such high hopes that maybe the world would see a group of women running their faith race in unity and pulling together to encourage and edify one another. Something so different that watchers would say, "wow!  I've never experienced something like that.  I want a piece of that action."

Unfortunately, I saw the harsh reality that being in the church and being a Christian doesn't take the world out of us.  Nope.  Banding together as a true sisterhood, centered on Christ and working to uplift and build up one another--not so easy to come by.  These big personalities had their moments. Like when Ivy and Christina went with Dominique to see her old pimp from her former life.  Dominique needed that closure in order to continue her healing process.  And her two friends stood by her because they saw that their comfort level was secondary to their friends' great needs.  (I won't talk about the friend who refused to go and never saw the need in this situation).  

All in all, these thirty-something women were not too far off from my high school days.  No condemnation to them.  Life is hard.  Throw in some cameras and other pressures, and this group of women did what women often do.  Drama.  Gossip.  Criticize.  Of course, who knows how things were edited, too?

Listen here, bloggy friends.  I've been mulling it since watching the season finale last week.  

We need each other.  NEED.  Not just want.  God made us to fellowship.  Man was created to be in relationship with God.  And with others.  Adam needed a helpmate.  In the heart and soul of every woman is a God designed need to connect with others.  

But there's a big problem that keeps getting in the way.  It's us.  Our selfish ambition.  Our self-absorption.  Our very own insecurities and needs and wants.  To lay these aside and put others first means going against the grain of our flesh nature.  It's not easy. 

And it's also not optional.  We were made to live in community.  And not a community where so-and-so said such-and-such and can you believe that?  Or my feelings are hurt so I'm just gonna rally others to my side of things.  Ladies--that was junior high.  When we were immature and had hormones and acne raging and didn't know better how to channel all those emotions.  

Yes, we still have hormones raging.  And sometimes acne.  But, listen.  We are big girls now.  As we grow in our walk with Christ, our relationships with others should reflect that maturity.  As we learn to empty ourselves of our own agenda while we take up the cross of self-denial, our ability to build others up should expand exponentially.      

Instead of bragging to that mother on the playground about how your toddler can recite his alphabet backwards, how about asking the haggard mama next to you if you can hold her baby while she wrangles her toddler?  How about intentionally listening and applauding her new mama efforts and reminding her that she's doing a good job?  We all know that she won't be hearing such praise from her children anytime soon.

In the school years, when we are so busy playing taxi driver and keeper of the calender and queen of the homework, how about carving out a few minutes to check in on a friend in the same boat?  Or text a Scripture of encouragement, such as, "Do not grow weary in doing good, for in due time you will reap a harvest if we do not give up!"  Galatians 6:9   

Here's one for you (and me, too).  Instead of living in your isolated bubble feeling ignored by the world, how about you set up a girls' night out?  Just pick a restaurant and a night and invite a few friends.  Nothing fancy.  Or a girls' night in.  Rent a movie, come in jammies and no make-up, and keep it real.  

Here's the thing.  We are born with this selfish nature.  It's how we come into the world.  When we choose to follow Christ, we are commanded to take on His nature, more and more.  Which is all about love and fellowship and service.  It doesn't come naturally at first.  But, the more we exercise those muscles, the stronger and more natural they become.  

It's really non-negotiable if we are going to attach ourselves to Jesus' name.  We must rise above our feminine pettiness and band together.  We must unite and love on each other and show up with a meal on a tough day and get together on bad toddler days so our kids can drive both us and our bestie absolutely insane.  My cousins Megan and Melinda do this so well.  I love watching from afar, as they fulfill the role of "Sister wives" as they say--except they each have their own husbands.  They band together and reach in to the other when the going gets tough.  They swap babysitting, take meals, run errands for each other, and it makes the journey so much easier.

We must listen more, talk less.  Give more, take less.  Reach out more, expect less.  Build up more, tear down less.  And for the love of Christ, be authentic and real and genuine about your struggles instead of putting on a happy face.  The truth of it is that it's not about us.  It's not about our agenda.  It's not about our wants.  

It's about making ourselves available for each other's needs.

And in so doing, God will fill us up.  He will meet our needs.  We cannot outgive God.  Not financially.  Not with our time.  Not with our energy.  Not with our resources.  

If we are like-minded, we should behave as if we are.  We should be reaching out and relying on Him to take care of us while we take care of others.  We must embrace the community we were meant to live within and simply keep love as our focus.

We gotta look different than the world.  We won't get it right all the time.  But, we gotta pay more attention to this area of our lives.  We need to seek out mentors who are a season ahead of us and glean their wisdom.  I think they'll be happy to give it.  We gotta look for ways to be a mentor to those in a season behind us.  Even if that just means that you give an encouraging, "You've got this" to the mama with the screaming kids in the grocery check-out line.  

Or, dads, as the case may be, community is equally important.  I don't want you to feel left out because I know of a few who read here regularly.

Here's the bottom line.  We are all "throwing off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and running with perseverence the race marked out for us!"  Hebrews 12:1  

Every marathoner or half-marathoner or triathlete thrives on the cheers from the crowd as they race to the finish line.  It presses them forward, keeps them going.  When was the last time you gave a resounding cheer to your fellow runners?  Make it your goal today to give a shout out to someone you know who's struggling a bit.  Pray for more community.  Let's unite for the cause of Christ!  We got this, bloggy friends.   Go, sisters, go!


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