When they met me, I was a bit of a wild child – partying, drinking, smoking – hoping a buzz or hazy cloud would ease the pain. I was in the tail end of a terrible relationship. For 5 1/2 years – from freshman year of high school to sophomore year of college – love paraded itself as screaming arguments, hidden bruises, and countless statements of, “I’m sorry, I’ll never do it again.” Yet even though I was falling apart, it looked like I had it all together – making mostly straight A’s, involved in multiple clubs and organizations, and surrounded by a good family and friends.
But in reality, I was hurting – searching for a love that I didn’t quite know yet – a love that would come from Christ. I had heard about that love, but never really felt it.
When they met me, it was in the most unlikely of places. I was standing in line waiting to get into a fraternity party as I had done so many weekends before. They were bold – women of God who would stand outside of parties praying for women and inviting them to Bible Study. No judgment – no condemnation – just women who wanted to show the love of God to other women. They gave me a flyer to their Bible Study.
When they met me again, it was a few months later. I walked into their Bible Study barely saying, “Hello” to anyone. I was broken, beaten, and tired of all of the arguments with my soon-to-be ex-boyfriend. The only people whoever knew about my pain were the few who had been around to witness it. Other than that, I hid that pain – buried it deep inside – locked away where no one could find it.
Life seemed like a storm – filled with raging winds of condemnation, guilt, and shame. I wanted to feel the warm sun of the Father’s love, yet my past kept raining on me.
But in the storm, these bold women of God who I had met outside of that fraternity party, provided me an umbrella. They covered me with love and began to shield me from the winds and rains.
In my storm, they were there…
They did 2 of the most important things that Godly women could ever do for women who are new or struggling with their faith:
Before I was ready to get out of the storm, they were praying for me.
They were praying for me, and women just like me, before they ever even knew me. I was the beneficiary of their many prayers and nights spent evangelizing to reach the hearts of broken women. I was the byproduct of their boldness and their desires to truly follow God.
And even after they met me, they continued to pray for me. A fact I didn’t know until later. It took me months before I would even attend their Bible Study. I thought about it all the time, but I just wasn’t ready. But in those months, one woman in particular felt God press it upon her heart to continue praying for me. And every time she would see me on campus, she would remind me of Bible Study. Even though, I always had some lame excuse for why I couldn’t attend.
Their prayers eventually led me to attend Bible Study.
When I was ready to get out of the storm, they offered me an umbrella.
Although I barely spoke and kept all my dark secrets to myself, they continued to cover me in prayer. Even though I didn’t feel like I was one of them, they covered me with love. I wasn’t a church girl to say the least. I could count the number of times I attended church growing up on one hand. I never really heard anyone preach on purity, so I had given my heart, mind, and body away – this in turn made me feel so dirty and unworthy of a God who loved and forgave.
I didn’t always want to be under their umbrella – to be covered in their prayers and love. I would oftentimes step back into the raging winds of condemnation, guilt, and shame by turning my back on Bible Study and running back to my old ways. And yet they continued to offer me their umbrella.
It would be a year before I would divulge the dark secrets of my past. Sitting in a small group of about 5 women, I wept as I let loose the pain of my past. Telling them of all of the bruises, scars, busted lips, and words that cut like knives. Telling them all about the 5 1/2 years that I tried to keep our relationship together. But our relationship was like a broken vase – the more I tried to piece it back together, the more I hurt myself.
In that moment, they were there – they listened and held me as I wept.
That was the defining moment in which I began to feel the warm sun of the Father’s love.
That moment was more than 6 years ago. Since then, I’ve had different storms, but God has been faithful in showing me His love through the sisters in my life. Even adding on to the initial sisters I had when I first experienced the Father’s love.
When times are good, we bask in the warm sun of the Father’s love together. But when storms come, and they most certainly will, we pull out our umbrellas and cover each other in prayer, in love, and in being there.
This post is a part of the Sisterhood Series – diving into the importance of Sisterhood for our Christian walk. Check out other posts in the Sisterhood Series, including Our Sisters Need Encouragement, What to Pray for Our Sisters in Christ, and My Fear and Desire for Sisterhood.
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