Sisterhood can be scary. Chase after it anyway.
This past week, I did something that really pushed me out of my comfort zone. Like, really pushed me. I was asked to lead a small group for a women's retreat at our church.
The first thing you need to know is that I am not in any small groups at our church. When Hannah sent an email a month ago asking me to lead one, I seriously thought to myself, this is a mistake... There are like five Amy Berrys in this zip code alone, all of which go to this church! One of which works at the church! This is a mistake…I was raised Catholic! This is a mistake…I don't know Scripture! This is a mistake!
I panicked, and then I talked to my husband who said with confidence, "This will be an amazing opportunity for you."
So I shrugged my shoulders and thought, okay, it probably is a mistake, but I will roll with this. I am trying to get closer to the Lord, and I am trying to grow in my faith. I will do this!
So I said yes, and I said it with enthusiasm! I even wrote about it on my blog. If I’m honest, I wrote that blog in hopes of getting at least one friend to come with me. That did not happen.
More than two hundred strangers, all women, honestly sounded SCARY to me! I don't know why, but it did. Women, in groups, scare me. That is the truth. Sometimes they can be so fun and empowering, and other times that isn’t the case.
I had to go back and read my post a few times to remind myself how empowering women can be. I reminded myself that women need each other and I needed this retreat. I wasn’t going to let myself chicken out.
I walked away from this weekend feeling so full, nourished, and loved. I learned so much about myself, about others, about the Bible, about Jesus's love for me, about coping, about empathy, about raw honesty, about women in numbers, about sisters in Christ, about what hatred can do to tear sisters apart, about forgiveness of yourself, about boundaries if you are in bad relationships, and about how communion is just a tiny taste of a crumb of what the banquet will be like. I mean I learned, and I learned some more, and boy did I grow!
And I had the most amazing small group! They were so kind, loving, and patient. Nine women, each of us from different backgrounds, from different generations, and, most importantly, with different stories. I learned that we all have a story, and most of our stories have pain. As we slowly opened up about our stories and who we are, an amazing and beautiful thing happened with my group. The love of Jesus filled our room, and we all became connected. We all looked at each other and felt love; we saw the face of God in each of us. We all were sitting there with either fresh open wounds or wounds from the past, and Jesus held our group in his arms. The love that surrounded us was something I cannot even begin to describe. I am in tears writing about it now.
Every woman has a story. And it is amazing when you really stop to listen to someone's story. And I mean really stop to listen. Every woman has a story, and that story is important.
Who are your sisters?
Who can you turn to? Who can you get down and dirty with and show your ugliest side? Who can you show your fears, your hurts, and your disappointments?
If you have no one, I would love to softly and quietly whisper, “find a church you are comfortable in.” This can take time and work, but the joys and love that come from this will be amazing. Trust me.
Get out of your comfort zone, and do like I did. Just roll with it. You have a story; find a group of people and a place where you can tell it.