Dear Women of the Church

Dear Women of the Church,

I owe you an apology. I have sinned against you and I am sorry.

Ladies, I have been called to love you and I have failed. Instead, I have idolized you. I have typecast you. I have oversimplified you. Mostly, I have feared you.

For the entirety of my fourteen year walk with the Lord, my connections with other women have been rare and tenuous things. Those that have formed were born from your repeated efforts to break through my distrust.

For a decade my defense system against the women of the church was my mask- brash, shocking, bitter, hard, aloof. Bit by bit, God broke that barrier down until the underlying cause was exposed. Fear. And that fear became a paralyzing thing. For the next four years, all I could do in a social situation was cry.

The tears have since ceased, but the insecurity has persisted. I’ve been in my new church now for a year and a half and I’ve yet to make a connection with another woman. At the church before this, it took three years.

There’s a simple reason for that. I’ve been waiting for you to approach me.

For this isolation, I have excused myself. After all, I have social anxiety. I was bullied as a child. I don’t feel comfortable introducing myself. I, I, I, I…

I have even blamed you. As women of the church, you are supposed to love me. You should reach out to me. You need to love people like Jesus loved people. You, you, you, you….

Not my fault- your fault.

Friday morning, I felt the old steel come crawling back over my face and I prepared myself physically and mentally to enter a sea of 740 other Christian women at a conference in Houston. With each swipe of my mascara wand, I set my jaw tighter. As I screwed in the labret piercing I still insist on wearing at 37, I let my lips fall flat into an indifferent line. My shoulders squared as I packed my armor: makeup, accessories, and flattering clothes. I zipped on my boots, which raise my already imposing 5′ 10″, 250 pound frame another notch, and suddenly a wave of conviction rolled over me.

I was doing it again- donning that old attitude the Lord had done such a thorough job of stripping me of in the desert.

So I decided to tattle-tale on myself.

I hit Facebook, and confided to you, the women of God that I was about to meet:

tattletale

Instantly, you lovely ladies of God rallied around me and reassured me. You told me you’d be looking for me to hug me. You confessed that you were also petrified. You revealed that you had similar defense systems. You instantly reassured me and loved me, no questions asked, despite the fact that we had never met.

You did not yet know me and you loved me. How Christ like, how captivating, how gracious.

How convicting.

I had just over a day with you. Thirty-six hours. In that time, I was able to meet a few dozen of you, some of whom I will never forget : Liz, Erin, Martha, Keri, Alicia, Jessica, Hope, Kelly, Krishana…

In that 36 hours, you humbled me as you modeled what the love of Christ looks like: kind words, welcoming smiles, an open invitation, and vulnerability.

So today I confess and I repent.

Women of the church, I have never loved you as I ought. The fault lies in me, not in you. It is past time for me to put away my self-protective mechanisms and to stop being ruled by my fears. It is time for me to love my sisters.

 

Love you….really,

Kate Redmon

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.     Proverbs 3:27

 

 

Photo Credit: Love Letter by Peter Hellberg; used under Creative Commons License.
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17 thoughts on “Dear Women of the Church

  1. This is lovely and vulnerable and so good! I think it is a fight that MANY women endure in the church and you NAILED it on the head. We can tend to be such posers! I’m so sorry we didn’t get to meet in person. I remember seeing that FB post and loving you all the more for it! Perhaps we can meet in the future. I look forward to seeing what God does with you! Step out sister! We’re right behind you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How interesting that so many of us felt similarly. We didn’t get a chance to meet but I’m so thankful that you too were challenged to leave the preconceived assumptions of each other at the door and embrace one another as sojourners in this God journey together!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so thankful you let down some of those defenses, and I wish we had had more time at the conference to get to know each other! I think we all have some level of those defenses up, and it’s so good when we let them down.

    Liked by 1 person

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