Truth be told, I’ve had very few friends in my life that I’ve allowed to get close enough to really get to know me and most of those, whom I did allow, resulted in little more than co-dependency.
This flaw in my heart was never more apparent than in church. As a very young pastor’s wife, I became convinced mentally and emotionally that performance meant more than genuineness, and I succumbed to life in the fishbowl forever struggling to “find a happy place.”
Two decades later, I am still dealing with old scars from battles fought mainly with myself. Patterns of insecurity, mistrust, and heartache have led to relationships based on fear. In the midst of this battle, I draw the only sword that matters and swing as intently as I can…love.
I John 4:18 (ESV) says that “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
The one thing I had to first accept is that if God is love and God is my shield and my protector, then all relationships found in Him had no room for fear.
I have been extremely blessed to find myself part of a church family chock full of amazing women. Strong women, genuine women, loving women whose focus on Sisterhood completely changed my thoughts and beliefs on what love between sisters can be. Clearly, God knew exactly what He was doing as I needed time in this safe zone to heal, grow and learn in order to be prepared for what He has purposed for my life.
In spite of, or perhaps because of, my own struggles in this area I have a great passion for women. Especially those who struggle in this same area: with fear and mistrust and battle wounds.
The first step in my journey of ministry has fallen in the path of my own church’s Sisterhood: a women’s ministry unlike any other. As I stepped out in faith and in fervent prayer that God would just use me; that He would take each and every battle and use them to His own glory for the sole purpose of ministering to other women, I moved into a seemingly insignificant role as the leader of a virtual small group.
Within 24 hours of that group’s creation, I found myself weeping on my couch in utter disbelief and thankfulness as the group hit 20 members.
Twenty women, all willing to make this journey with me: women that span the entire country, from Washington state to South Florida and many stops in between. Together we are going to make just one step in our journey with God as we study, pray and grow.
Our Sisterhood is supported by incredible leaders. These women, whom I adore, are not bound by fear, but by love and they believe in leading women to know God and to be known by Him. They believe in empowering other women to live a God-first life. They don’t just speak it, but they live it daily.
As sisters, we will be spending the next two months studying Psalms and as I read ahead, preparing and praying, I am struck by Psalm 3:3.
“But you, GOD, shield me on all sides; You ground my feet, you lift my head high.”
The beauty of being found in the middle of God’s people is that through them, He displays His never-ending ability to demonstrate fearless love. He shields us, protects us, sets us on a perfect and complete foundation of love, grace, and mercy so that we have no reason to look down in fear or doubt. He lifts our heads high: shameless, fearless, whole.
I don’t know where you are on your journey but I pray that if you start anywhere…start here. Trust the love that destroys all fear.