My earliest recollection of church is of my grandma taking me to mass on a steamy hot, summer afternoon. I passed out somewhere between “Thy Kingdom Come” and “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread.” There was a lot of kneeling and standing, what can I say?
Minus a few weddings, it was years after that fainting spell before I found my way back to church. Jesus met me there, claimed my heart, and we began a beautiful relationship. God’s house became my home away from home—a place to find fellowship, grow under sound teaching, and step out in faithful service.
I long for those simpler times.
The face of church has changed. Perhaps it’s the fast-paced-forward-motion of a social media generation that has foregone meaningful conversation. Maybe it’s under the pressure to have more, be more, and keep up with the folks next door that we have stopped being real.
I have stared across the landscape of the church community and seen broken and lonely souls search for safety and sanctuary. Looking in from the outside, they wonder if they could ever belong. Glancing around on the inside, they long to fit in.
Women feel isolated and alone in their struggles. They bear the weight of broken marriages and divided families afraid to admit any shortcoming lest they be judged by the “perfect people.”
I have seen pretense and perfection overrun grace. Rushing and ritual bury warmth and genuine fellowship. Branding and business replace authentic connection. Ministry and service become pedestals instead of avenues to glorify God.
Who wants to draw near to something that seems so untouchable?
We all fall prey. We run into church, more concerned with getting our usual seat than welcoming the person next to us. Gathering with our girlfriends over coffee, warm and filled, we pass by the lonely woman just a table away. Worn weary in our own battles, we hold our chin high and pronounce ourselves “just fine” instead of admitting we crave help.
We crave fellowship – connection – camaraderie that gives us permission to be imperfect and misunderstood. We want the women that we admire to also be the women that will take us under their wing and tour us across the landscape of a faith that has proven itself true through the everyday race of life. We want the women who claim the cross to also bear it along with us.
That is the woman I want to be.
Daughters of the King, we must to be mindful of our heritage. We who are adopted, forgiven, and ravaged by grace should pay it forward. We need to stop competing, end the comparing that tears us apart, and instead link arms and complete one another.
Our lineage demands that rather than look down on the hurting and label them as weak – we kneel beside them and call them sister.
We need to share our hearts, invite the onlookers into our lives, and show them that the faith we proclaim fuels the path that we walk. We need to:
- Pray Up: We women are great at covering our hurt in ribbons and bows, aren’t we? Let’s ask God to open our eyes to see passed the exterior to hearts in need. Let’s be the woman we long for – Spirit lead, alert, and mindful of those who need a friend to ease their burden or just share in their joy.
- Reach Out: Let’s invite women into our lives – because they might be too scared to ask us into theirs. Maybe a few welcoming words or a cup of coffee graduates to lunch and a bible study invitation. We start small and God will fan the flames of friendship with His purpose.
- Speak In: We must be honest, real, and authentic in order to speak truth into one another’s lives. We can all Google the perfect scripture – what we need is each other. Let’s hold one another up, confess our shortcomings, celebrate our victories, and witness together how God is moving in our lives.
We are the church.
We are the hands and feet of Christ—the tangible evidence of the goodness of God in the land of the living. Lives are waiting to be touched by us.
Perhaps you feel too small to impact another life. Remember that a mighty God goes before you. You don’t need a platform or a position to effect change. God can do incredible things with one willing heart committed to Him. Your small beginning could measure big change in one life, one church, one community.
Let’s be brave. Let’s wear our courage as a badge of honor, pinned by the God who wants to use us to begin a beautiful chain of events.
We can be the sanctuary for the heart in need.