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!