[One of our goals at the Royally Relational Institute is to share the stories of women…even women who gravitate to the back, rather than the front of the room. In this vain, here is an installation from our written collection of work, Crescendo.]
(The following is a compilation of stories from several sisters. I pray it will bless your heart and work to renew your mind).
We laughed for several minutes, catching up on what seemed like a decade of lived experiences. A few years ago we worked closely together. We led a weekly women’s Bible Study Group.
We reminisced about our previous work together and talked about current projects. As we shared about our families she stopped abruptly. There was a visible change in her demeanor. She looked at me intensely – as if she were looking directly into my innermost parts. “Can I tell you something?”, she asked. “Sure”, I said, with a slight smile on my face. She paused, took a deep breath and said:
I know I’m smiling and it seems like I have it all put together. But the truth is when I get into my car, when I close my front door, when I put my children to bed, I melt like chocolate…and not in a good way. I melt like chocolate that is mistakenly left in my pocket which is warmed by the heat from my body. It’s a mess to clean up.
In that moment it’s seemed like the vast majority of my blood flow rushed to my heart. We embraced, mourned together, and opened ourselves to the Holy Spirit. I scarcely can remember the intricate details of our conversation. What I can remember was experiencing a sense of deeper connection.
It’s not what I expected but it was her raw self. And I so appreciated that she felt comfortable to entrust me with her story. She was still my friend in the absence of the makeup, spiffy hairstyle, and fancy clothing. I still needed to accept and be there for her, to journey with her in the presence, and in this case, in the absence of the aforementioned outward embellishments. This was a heart moment…a moment for deeper connection…a moment to truly exemplify the Christ I professed to follow.
We talked for another hour then went our separate ways. I left changed and I hoped she was also. This was a life changing experience such that I pondered and prayed about it for days to come. There was little worry in my prayers. But there was an urgency and a calling to do more. That calling materialized to move beyond surface interactions with this friend and several others. That calling which began with conviction and repentance, moved to a need to promote and cultivate genuine, intentional connection.
Today my sisters I offer you a challenge. As you read this story, I hope your heart is stirred to seek genuine, intentional connections. I challenge you to allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through you. You will be surprised how God can use you mightily. It really does not require executive trainings, educational degrees, or a certain position within your sphere of influence. It really is quite simple.
Consider these words from some co-laborers.
On the days where Apple Turnovers suffice for breakfast, potato chips for lunch, and maybe cereal for dinner…On the days where toys are littered on the living room floor and my children fall asleep without baths…On the days where the dog has yet another accident, I need you. On the days where it’s immensely difficult to get out of bed and face another day, I need you. On the days where my husband is “traveling” again or commissioned to serve in a far away land, I need you. On the days where the idea of walking away, or getting a divorce seems sooo much easier than working through another passionate discussion, I need you.
I really appreciate your prayers and words of encouragement AND…maybe you can do more than offer kind words or say you are praying for me. Maybe you can bring me dinner unexpectedly or extend an invitation for coffee at your home. Maybe you can take my children on a play date or to youth group so I can sit in silence, take a shower, go to the grocery store, or go to the nail salon to unwind for an hour. Maybe you can assist me with my energetic toddler so I can listen to the sermon uninterrupted this week. Maybe you can allow the Holy Spirit to utilize the gift He has placed inside of you. Maybe you can see me and suspend judgment, showering me with love, almost like Christ Jesus would.
The thing is, while I’ll need you today, you will need me tomorrow. The thing is, we are so much stronger when we support each other, when we work together. The thing is, God placed you here to be His hands for me today and me to be His feet for you another day. So don’t be afraid. Maybe suspend one item from your busy schedule to enquire about my wellbeing and linger for a genuine response. It will mean the world to me. It will lift so much off of my shoulders, even if it is a temporary reprieve. But just to know that someone sees me, someone is concerned about me, someone cares about my wellbeing, really will do wonders. No, I’m not expecting you to be my everything. But I’m just hoping for a Sister and maybe even a friend.
Sisters let us support each other. Let us walk together. Let us talk with each other. We are so much better, so much stronger, together. I pray you will reach out, reach up, reach down, or reach across, to a sweet sister today.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”
Matthew 25:34-40 NLT
I love you Sister! ❤️
Reneé loves to listen to, document, and share individual life stories. She is also very passionate about journeying with couples and individuals to relational wellness. Intercessory prayer is an integral part of her work. She enjoys teaching, speaking, counseling, coaching, mentoring, conducting research, and writing.
You can learn more about Reneé’s work here.