Sisters in Christ – Part 1

January 12, 2013
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'Fortune Most Powerful Women 2012' photo (c) 2012, Fortune Live Media - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/For the first time in my life, I have multiple Christian women in my life whom I can talk to and listen to, who are supportive partners in ministry, allies I can lean on, learn from, and trust to have my back. Some women challenge me to grow, and some allow me to challenge them.

 The best thing is that my life has opened up to a whole variety of sisters—most in my local church—each of whom fills different needs in my heart to serve and be served, to laugh with and cry with, to work with and play with. No one woman could possibly fill all these needs, and I appreciate each of these women for the uniquely beautiful person she is.

It took me 50 years to get to this point, so I know what a rare blessing it is. For decades I lived out my faith as the Lone Rangerette, not trusting other women or respecting them nearly enough.

Relationships among Christian women in local churches can be surprisingly difficult to develop and maintain. And if the world didn’t do enough to conspire against us, evangelical Christianity has unwittingly sabotaged our chances with each well-intended teaching-emphasis-of-the-month that we took to its ungodly extreme. For example,

1. “Personal relationship with God” got us thinking that things can be good between Him and me without much need to care about a relationship between you and me. “If we say we love God, but do not love our brother [or sister], then we are deceiving ourselves” (I John 4:20). “We simply cannot say we love God if we do not love those around us,” notes Derek Flood, and love means genuine personal connection.

2. “Focus on your family.” I can’t say enough about the importance of strong marriages and good parenting, but if all our focus is on us and our own, there’s no time to develop meaningful relationships with other women. We stay home and indulge our children with the majority of our time and attention, or we work outside the home and exhaust ourselves trying to make up for lost time with the kids after hours. Our children need to see us in healthy, grown-up relationships and to learn that they are not the center of the universe.

3. “The Culture War” got us so accustomed to condemning others that we soon began to fear that our own imperfections were subject to judgment too. A lot of women would rather retreat to lonely isolation than allow other Christian women to discover the truth about their messy kitchens, their daily quiet time failure, or their unraveling marriages.

The point is that we have a lot of issues to overcome before we can free up time for constructive relationships with the women at church and scrap all the insecurities that keep us at a distance. I’m hoping we can chip away at those issues in the coming weeks. 

I’ll be counting down my final weeks here in Charlottesville, so this is a really important topic for me to explore. I want to start building vital relationships with new women as soon as I can after my feet touch ground in Corvallis.

Next week, we’ll go back to the example of Jesus and see if we can learn anything about this topic from his interactions from women. He may just be able to provide some useful guidance. He’s always the answer, right? 

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2 responses to “Sisters in Christ – Part 1”

  1. Dana Matas says:

    Wow! All three points you make in this post are true in my book–either in what I’ve experienced or what I’ve observed. On the one hand, I’m glad I’m not alone; on the other, I was hoping it would take me less than 50 years to get through it 😉 LOL! Thanks for writing about this. These issues between women can keep even the most devoted Christian away from church.
    God bless you!
    Dana

    • LynnBell says:

      Dana, I bet you are wiser than I am, and it won’t take you nearly as long to figure all this out! 🙂 I appreciate your comment!

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