The Sisterhood of Messy Hearts #Grace

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She was the funniest girl in school with the coolest clothes. Everyone wanted to sit by her at lunch, but she decided who did. She formed a club and chosen members met on Friday nights at the skating rink.

Then her parents got a divorce. She told fewer jokes. The trips to the skating rink stopped.

I found her crying one day, and my sixth grade heart hurt because her world was falling apart. I could have been a good friend. Not like the one’s talking behind her back … but she wouldn’t let me.

Just like the popular girl in sixth grade, big girls have holes in their hearts too. We all have secrets, heartaches, betrayals and shameful details.

Wary of trust, a wall goes up blocking sweet connection on a Jesus level.

That’s exactly what the Devil wants when it comes to sisters in Christ.

When he separates us … he causes unity to fade.

With the fading of unity … the kingdom’s work is stalled.

So what is the solution?  What can we do?

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If we really want change … we have to be willing to change.

The scriptures say …

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3

The Greek interpretation for the word esteem means to lead … or go before. This made me think about not only putting others before myself … but taking the lead in loving my sisters first … before they love me.

I ache for this holy sisterhood to bond through the beautiful redemption process … to be real on a come to Jesus level … to find sincere connection and genuine grace.

What could happen if we all take the lead to love first?

What would that look like?

Perhaps a good starting place is putting our sister’s feelings before our own, letting selfishness fall to the wayside.

What if we put away all unfavorable perceptions and think only the best about our sister … instead of judging her in specific measures?

What if we forget previous clashes and renew our thoughts?

What affirmation for her if we’d speak truth in kindness, encouraging and praying for her.

What if we keep secrets in perfect trust and serve her in ways glorifying to our Father?

And because we are terribly flawed and we will fail her … we humbly ask for forgiveness … as we forgive.

You see in order for this sisterhood of messy hearts to flourish in Christ … grace must go both ways.

Oh what beauty is found in grace.

What hope is exchanged in love.

What redemption is mined from humility.

The meekness of a messy sisterhood can be a beautiful tapestry of merciful grace … if only we’ll take the lead to love first.

So tell me sister … will you take the lead?

“I Am Just Like Her…..Messy Enough To Need Prayer”

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“I could never put something so personal on Facebook.  Can you imagine what people would say about me?” I asked.

My husband and I were having this conversation years ago, about someone who had posted a prayer request, and  the request revealed a lot of personal things some might see as dirty laundry.

I felt sorry for the sweet girl, marveling in her bravery.

“We are supposed to confess our weaknesses to our brothers and sisters and ask them to pray for us….you know like the bible says in James 5:16?” he said.

“But sometimes I think we can be guilty of judging one another and praying at the same time,” I replied.

“Yea, I know…..I don’t think men struggle with that like women might,” he said nonchalantly.

I am ashamed I could relate to what he meant.

As sister’s in Christ, sometimes we can be pretty hard on each other.

Why are we women so apt to gaze into each others life and clearly see the wrong and reason out the circumstances, chalking it up to sin failure?

Does it make us feel better to see someone else struggle too?

Could it be a coping mechanism the devil has taught us to use in order to compare our sin? Maybe we feel better about our own sin when compared to others.

For years I missed the whole point of the scripture in James.

The reason behind confessing is to hold us to a standard of accountability.

Gosh its tough to admit we even need accountability isn’t it?

It was for me.

We don’t like to admit to ourselves much less another Christian our character flaws or sin. Heck, we have trouble confessing to GOD.

We are supposed to be Christians….not sinning Christians…..at least this is the world’s view of the church.  It would be taboo if we admitted to each other we struggle with judging, gossip, jealousy or hate etc….yet James tells us to.

The plain and simple truth is I am a sinner. If we are breathing….we are all sinners.

The accountability I got from my brutally honest husband was the catalyst to help me face my sin.  The pride and judging issues had nagged me for years.

God started convicting me about looking at the negative in a prayer request.

This sweet soul was hurting…..regardless of the why or how she ended up in the situation resulting in a prayer request….she was in pain.

GOD took me back to a time when my own decisions resulted in a time of pain.

Something inside me clicked.

I related to her anguish.

I am just like her…..messy enough to need prayer.

If we are honest….we all have areas in our life making us messy enough to need prayer.

When I judge another…I am putting myself in GOD’S place of authority.

I imagined GOD asking me point blank…..

“So you think you are HOLY enough to do my job?”

Now I ask him to help me focus on my own messes, and not my sister’s when entrusted to pray.

Since I have been praying this simple request over the last few years….there has been sort of a revolution in my heart.

GOD is making me more compassionate…..something I struggle with.

I’m finding my prayer life is more enjoyable….easier and sweeter.

I am experiencing real freedom through GOD’s grace and mercy.

And it feels good.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”  James 5:16

To be righteous means to be right with GOD.

I want to be right with GOD….everyday.

I long for my prayers to accomplish much in my own life as well as those who ask me to pray.

How about you?

GOD make us accountable, trustworthy, prayer warriors….and make our bonds of sisterhood stronger than any snare Satan can set.