Sisterhood is Knowing You’re Not Alone

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:5-7, NIV

Have you ever had one of those days when your insecurities took over? On this particular day, I didn’t set out to be down on myself, but I was triggered by a simple question asked among my sisterhood group—“Do you feel safe sharing here with us?”

Although I felt safe enough to answer honestly, the truth was that I felt safe only because I know how kind and generous my friends are… not because I felt like the person I am is worthy of being accepted.

I sit in awe of these women I call friends. They are compassionate and passionate, driven and capable—and their whole world seems to revolve around Jesus. They love others because they know what it’s like to be loved by Him. They share their stories openly and often because they’ve experienced the transformative power of the Holy Spirit. They are beautiful and generous and intelligent and kind. They teach at churches and build ministries and host Bible studies and can summon genuine tears at the mere thought of someone not having the opportunity to find Jesus like they have. They are authentic and their faith sustains them through all of it.

And then there is me. The one who struggles with having any kind of organized, structured quiet time. The one who sometimes goes weeks in between sessions in which I read the Bible. I have spent years wondering where—or if—I fit in in the Church as a whole. Wondering if our Americanized version of Christianity misses the boat. Wondering if the fact that my beliefs don’t match everyone else’s means mine are wrong, or theirs are, or if that even matters. Trying to discern what God really calls us to do—which things are beneficial for us, and which things are legalistic ideas imposed on us by people instead of by God.

While I’ve always been exceptionally grateful to be part of the Sisterhood Ministries, I feel like an imposter. Like I don’t belong, but these other women are nice enough to look the other way and include me anyway. Sure, I can put forward the “right” image—after all, I’ve been fortunate enough to have published two books through a traditional Christian publisher—but that feels like a fluke to me. Like I was given the opportunity in spite of my flaws, not because of my strengths.

So when I was asked that question, I answered truthfully: Yes, I feel safe sharing, but I don’t feel like I belong with all of you. The reason I shared those specific reasons was not to make these women come back to me with compliments and assurance that they accepted me… but because I knew that these feelings were not of God. This insecurity and dissatisfaction with myself could grow into a big wedge, damaging our group, if I let it fester. And I loved them too much to allow what was holding me back to hurt them.

Because even in my moments of weakness, one thing I know is this:

Feelings of shame need to be brought into God’s light, because His light pushes back the darkness and reveals truth. #sisterhood Click To Tweet

So I got real… and within minutes, encouragement began rolling in. One woman said that she’d been afraid to share a really personal prayer request, but because I’ve shown her how to be vulnerable, she’d been brave enough to do it. Another woman wrote that she guards herself and is afraid that if people really knew her, they wouldn’t like her, but we continue to point her back to Jesus when she needs to make a U-turn. One woman wrote, “Your truth that you shared is the definition of what Sisterhood looks like and I believe your emotions today will be a healing point for other sisters tomorrow.”

Finally, another friend summed it all up:

Interestingly enough, the fact that most, if not all, feel they are the weakest link is beautiful. With God, we are a chain that links together and makes a whole. #sisterhood Click To Tweet

That’s exactly what these sisters did for me that day: brought me back around, and made me feel whole. Because we all got real and stopped hiding our insecurities, God used that to encourage and uplift me—and them, too.

Our culture would have us believe that other women are watching us, just waiting for us to fail so they can ridicule and condemn us. There are certainly some of those people out there. But this experience taught me that true friendship is about being in it together. About opening our hearts, letting our authentic selves show, and welcoming others in. About trusting in the kindness of others and allowing them to accept us, even if we don’t feel worthy. About letting God work through the words of friends, and being willing to take that first step in vulnerability—because what came out of this moment was a stronger bond, a shared experience—and the glory of God’s light shining into my life, erasing the darkness and revealing new beauty.

Sisterhood is learning that, no matter how we feel at a given moment, we are not alone.

Reflection Questions

We often aren’t aware that other people struggle with many of the same insecurities that we do. Think about your friendships or groups that you belong to. Do you feel safe sharing your feelings with them? If not, why not?

What can you do to create an environment where others feel safe?

Ask God to reveal to you when you should open up—when to take that first step—towards building more open, more authentic friendships.

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, You are so good to us. When we are able to be honest and open with each other, You strengthen us in ways we might not expect. Shine Your glorious light onto our insecurities and doubts, and replace them with kindness, generosity, and acceptance. Thank You for the sisters You have placed into our lives. If we haven’t found those people yet, we ask You to lead them to us—but not just for our own benefit. Please use us as instruments to shine into other people’s lives, too. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

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