Now more than ever, women are standing up and fighting for one another. I could not be more proud of the unity and togetherness I’ve seen over the last year. Where the world once viewed women in competition as being the norm, that ideology is being shattered. It brings me joy. Joy that women are genuinely looking out for one another, joy for women championing each other’s victories, embracing each other’s differences and supporting one another’s weaknesses. Joy that unity in womanhood is becoming a new norm.
The last month of the 2017 a few girls and I decided to do a health challenge that consisted of daily working out, cutting out sugar completely and drinking a certain amount of water. Who does that during the holidays? Apparently us! I was no doubt THE weakest link on my team…I tried to tell them our name shouldn’t be Team Two, but they didn’t listen. They set us up for failure from the get go with that name and it messed with my head. Man, Team TWO! But even though I very much struggled, I was amazed at how it motivated me to take better care of myself. This full time mama and part time employee (who works from home sitting on her behind a lot of the day) had not been active in over a year. I lost any desire to take care of myself. Sure I would start things here and there, but I would never follow through. I would try to eat better and it would last until dinner. I would try to wake up early to do a quick workout before the kids were up, but sleep. There was no follow through. I believe my biggest hindrance was nobody knew about the goals I was setting for myself. I was doing it alone. And it was not working for me. After we finished this challenge, though, I saw again the value of a sisterhood. It kept me in check…others were counting on me, these girls had the same end goal, the same vision and because of it I wanted to be better not just for myself, but for them. It gave me power over my desires. It gave me strength!
Jesus isn’t all we need. If He were, then relationships wouldn’t hold as much value as they do. We were created in His image to be in relationship, And not just any kind of relationship, but relationships where through the differences, the misunderstandings, the disagreements, the frustrations, through all the mess, we would know harmony. We don’t have to build barriers with people different to us. I have found myself lacking empathy and turning a deaf ear to people because I felt strongly in my opinions or because they were speaking from a place I did not understand. And it always has the same outcome…hardened hearts on both sides. We do not have to close off what we don’t understand or agree with. Instead we should figure out ways to connect with and love on people we do not understand. It is our responsibility to bridge any gaps.
Chapter two of Ephesians breaks this whole unity thing down so powerfully. But I love specifically verses 16-18 (MSG). It states, “Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.”
Women of the church, we are going in the same direction! We share the same spirit! We have one vision, we have the same end in mind and we can’t do our calling alone. Our goal should be to gather as many girls around us saying you have got this. We should be listening, empathizing, and encouraging them to be better and to find life in our Savior if they don’t already have it. There should be girls in our world that we can depend on and there should be women depending on us. We are truly better together! If we live by this mantra, I believe we will see the body of Christ continually strengthened.
Devoted Devotional By Megan Paraiso