It is very hard for me to believe that there was a time in my life that I actually did not really like women. I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe there was just too much drama. Sometimes we are not very straightforward and on occasion we can be catty or rude. But GUYS-- they were a different story! So easy! What I saw is what I got! They were always my very dear friends, until, well...
I signed up to go on a retreat very early in my married life, and little did I know that my entire M.O. would be so radically changed. As the keynote so eloquently spoke-- and, by the way, she looked like a very normal and reasonable person-- she started pouring out tales about her great love for women. She spoke about her women's ministry and all the wonderful things she did with them and for them, how close they had all grown over the years, and what bonds had been formed. She said that women friends will be your support system as you grow older and encounter bad health, or if your husband gets itchy, or your kids go sideways, or things become just less than ideal. She said there is nothing like a band of sisters to rally around you and pray for you during these trying times-- that they will boost your spirit and encourage your heart like no other. To my rather skeptical ears, all I could think was, "Hmmm, well, maybe that's good for you!"
After her talk was over, she came walking towards me and said, "You are going to have a BIG impact on women!" I looked behind me to see whom she was speaking to, and much to my surprise, she speaking to me! I said, "What?!" She said, "Yes, you! God has inspired me to tell you that you are going to have a great love and heart for God's daughters." I found it very hard to hear much less believe! But as we spoke, she asked if she could pray for me. I said, "Sure", just to be nice, as I thought it might be awkward to refuse her request. And when she prayed I felt a deep love wash over me. That is all that I can say. I knew it had to be God, for nothing else feels like Christmas, and your grandmother's embrace, and fireworks, and peace, and rock-solid-stillness, all at the same time-- just God.
Many, many years later, as I was sitting at a table with a ring of beautiful women encircling it like jewels, I began to recall how I had gotten to know these gals. Each woman had a story, a passion, and a deep love for God. And I had somehow met each one of these precious souls in connection with, of all things, a Bible study that, by God's grace, I had started.
I finally knew what she meant. Young or old, happy or sad, through the good and the bad, this gift of women friends-- friends connected at the deepest level; the heart and spirit level-- are truly God's gift to me. She knew this and I pass it on to you: It takes more than just a village to make life work. It takes the Body and we are all in it together.
"One body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all." Eph. 4:4-6
Thank You for allowing me to feel Your tender touch through Your Body here on earth, the daughter's of Your Church. Thank You for godly role models and friends. Thank You that each part of Your Body has a different role to carry out and that it is exciting and pleasing to You when, out of love, we do all that You inspire us to do for one another. Please give me the grace and strength that I need, and with it, joy in the journey to carry through with any and all of Your inspirations. And please keep me choosing You this day.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.