Bad Girls in Church

Would you ever in your wildest dreams imagine the church to be the scariest place in the world to share you deepest secrets and your hidden hurts? For me, a woman with a dark and shameful past, for a long time it was.

I remember standing in front of my locker as a 16 year old, first day of school, High School Freshman, when my cousin who was also my best friend came towards me with tears running down her beautiful cheeks. Our summers’ had taken us to different ocean shores so I was not privy to anything going on in her recent life. She dramatically fell into my arms right in the middle of the hallway in front of our newly assigned lockers and amongst the curious stares of old and new friends. She began to share with me some experiences of her summer that had changed her young life from girl to woman. Her open heart and her trust freed me to immediately share some “me too” moments and we stepped right there in front of the staring seniors, into a new level of love, support and bonding beyond what we have already enjoyed.

Women need women.



Fortunately, sharing both the joys of my life and the pain was a familiar process for me, not only with my dear cousin but also with my flesh and blood sisters. I was born oldest of four girls all of us being born only a few years apart. Open communication between girls is easy when four of you share a bathroom amongst other girl things. The thing is, during those years our one to one confessions were usually limited to missing curfew or not doing our homework.

Although confession drama grew with age, what I shared with my sisters or even my teenage cousin in the hallway of my High School, paled in comparison to the secrets and shame that would begin to build like a mountain of ants just waiting to sting my life over the next 7 years. I wandered blindly into deep darkness and heartache of experiences I never dared share with anyone. Not even my sisters.

After living a whole bunch of lost years from my early teens until my late 20’s, God got my heart. He lovingly confronted me in a place that I never thought He would lower Himself to enter. I clearly remember the night that I heard the words from Him that allowed for not even a shadow of doubt that God Himself was speaking to me, “Pat, what are you doing with your life, come to me–NOW”

I stepped out of darkness that night and started following a path that would lead me straight into the arms of Jesus Christ. I was a messed up young woman, a wife and mother with lots of secrets and lots of need for a girlfriend who could show and share the truth’s of God’s Word with me. Unfortunately, real or imagined, when I looked around my new church family all I saw was a bunch or really sweet, beautiful and PURE new Christian sisters. Not a sinner in sight.

As I began to read and study God’s Word as a desperate and bleeding young woman who was looking for hope, I found a story of a personal crisis shared between two cousins that happened many thousands of years ago when young teenage girl by the name of Mary, went running into the arms of a waiting best friend/older cousin.

The story is found in the book of Luke Chapter 1.

23When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25“The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” 26In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 39At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” 56Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

Mary was young, unmarried and pregnant with a boyfriend who was making an exit plan.

Elizabeth was an old woman who faith had grown cold before God decided to flip her world like and egg in a frying pan. Scripture says she was experiencing “disgrace among the people”, (Luke 1:25) her Christian sisters included.

In this eternity changing story, God shows us a beautiful example of one woman ministering to another, and just how powerful His presence can be in a situation like theirs.

He showed us a pattern for Women Mentoring Women.

Christian women need love, comfort and encouragement that can only be found one to another–even when it comes to things we are not so proud of. Often, the best of those moments come from an older woman to a younger one.

How about you? Do you have Christian girlfriends you can really trust with your heart–your past/present and future? 

Do you have someone you look to as a Christian Mentor?

I would love to hear your story!

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  1. I do not have a Christian sister to share with; my blood sisters are even more judgmental. I have been seeking God’s will in my life since 1988 and have been trying to follow the Lord for many years. I was divorced two years ago and left my church about one year ago when I felt like a second class citizen being only one of two women under fifty who was single. The other divorced woman has a small child and many family members in our church, and was still held in high regard. Despite years of service, I became an outsider and for the first time in my life, left church feeling lonlier than ever. I realize that has to be due to my own self-centered fear. I believe my church is true and I miss it terribly, though it does hurt terribly seeing families together and me being medically infertile and too old (50) to adopt as a single woman – who lost her job. I do have many blessings and I am grateful for these, but family and sisterhood are not two of those blessings, these days. I do have faith though, and hope that my situation will improve and keep searching for employment. I realize it is very hard to stumble when one is upon her knees.

  2. Oh my, Maria.

    Thank you for your transparent answer. I am certain there are many women who can relate to your heart. I pray that you will reconsider returning to your church family and press on for what God might have for you to bring to other women. There are so many single Moms in most churches and many ministries waiting to be born out of our own personal experiences.

    Thank you again for your brave step of faith in sharing here on the blog.

    I hope some who read here will respond (Ladies??)

    I believe they will at least say a prayer for your restoration to and FOR the Kingdom of God found in His church. I know I have.
    Blessings to you!!

  3. We need each other. We need to get past the good girl facades that keep us distant. Thanks for the reminder. Unfortunately sometimes we have to go through trials before we’re willing to become vulnerable and transparent.

  4. My grateful answer would be YES!, I’m blessed to have many girlfriends – and you are one of my most treasured Pat 🙂 we DO need each other desperately, and we need to share our stories! It helps others to know that they are not alone – that we all have days when we feel inadequate, lonely, shameful, fat, ugly, mean, whatever! There is no such thing as a perfect woman, mom, wife, friend – we all have ‘stuff’ behind our ‘good girl facades’. I’m forever thankful that I had a friend who was willing to share her ‘stuff’ with me and helped me realize that God could still use me despite all of my own awful mess. Maria, I’m guessing that there are many in your church who could use YOU for a godly, wise friend 🙂 I prayed for you today!

  5. Pat,
    Thank you for sharing so beautifully. I could not do without a few close trusted friends that I can take all pretenses off and share openly. They help me to see truth.

    Like Mary had Elizabeth to go to, God has given me a deep desire and need to have a few close friends I can share with in this way. They help me to carry my burden. They help me to find my way to Jesus to leave the burden with Him. Time after time I am blessed. I hope to have older women pouring into my life till I’m 99! The first older woman who intentionally poured into my life lead me to Christ, and to this day I have her and a couple of other older, wiser women I could not do without in my life.

    Thank you for asking great questions of us.
    Grateful for your ministry.

  6. Karen, I so agree. Funny, when we are younger we count the NUMBER of our friends; as we get older and wiser–we count the DEPTH of our Friendships!!

    Love to you today girl!

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