Sisterhood: We Sharpen Iron Here

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There’s always the perfect number of women who come. Drawn, called out, carried here.

Sisterhood happens. No crafts. No preaching.

Some Thursday nights we fill the couches to the brim and we spill onto the carpet. We add more chairs. We laugh deep belly laughs. We keep the Kleenex close.

Some nights we are a smaller group and it’s always perfect for what needs to happen in the space.

There was the night we filled three suitcases with brandnew underwear to take for girls in Northern Uganda. A few months ago, we rallied on behalf of a refugee family.

We can rise for others, because we are here for and with each other. You may think we drink tea, but I’ll tell you: strength gets cemented into our souls with every cup.

The faithful showing up builds strength and trust and that trust, o, how it opens up the world.

We’re here to celebrate the large moments—birthdays, weddings, babies—and we’re here when things fall apart too.

One Thursday night a friend walked in with heaviness draped around her shoulders. So much had happened in her world that day. I could read it on her face and asked her twice, Are you ok?

She nodded, yes.

We poured hot rooibos tea in the white cups and gathered around the aisle in the kitchen first. But we didn’t know the devastation and death that had marked her day until we curled up on the couches and she spilled out the sadness to us all. She finally had space to be honest about what was really going on in her life.

We sat with her. No advice. Just listening.

“I needed to be here tonight,” she said. We could all feel it.

There was heaviness in the room—stories so much larger than what we could bear—and so I stood up and got the long tealight holder and one by one, we started lighting candles for our loved ones, our heaviness, our world, our gratitude. We brought it all to the Light.

O, Jesus, how we need you …

We prayed:

for a dad battling cancer.
for a friend in a custody battle
for a son who needs help in school
for a baby about to be born with special needs
for another baby, joyfully anticipated
for a friend who left an abusive husband
for a friend with terminal cancer
for a beloved student
for a sister.

All our prayers, spoken and laid out in our midst and at Jesus’ feet …

Selah.

This is how we do life—no Thursday night ever the same.

We read together and learn together. We call out to the candid places in each other. We rise together. The most important thing required: to show up.

We bring our most authentic selves:

frustrated
in-process
crashed/blessed
anxious
plateaued
joyful

We offer our stories to the circle and our lives to each other.

The next morning, unloading and reloading the dishwasher, I paused over the white cups. I could feel the conversation still lingering in the house’s silence. Heaviness had turned to gratitude … the power of a Jesus who carries everything—everything.

What if my friend didn’t have a place to bring her heaviness? What if we didn’t have this space where we could be honest with each other? I don’t want to imagine our women carrying these things alone.

I know there are many who do. I want this circle for every woman. I want this safe space for every heart.

I am learning: we are ordinary women and yet, we are not. As long as we keep showing up, desiring more for ourselves and each other, none of us will stay where we are.

I see how authenticity opens the door to love.

How, if you tell us your truth, we can meet you in your honest place.

We long for the best for each other.

In this place, we are seen for who we truly are.

In this place, we are compelled from our unfinished state into the women we are as God sees us.

It’s love. Often it’s cozy and womb-like.

It’s also love, because truth be told, we sharpen iron here.

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Idelette McVicker
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women. I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. My word last year was “roar” and I learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice. This year, my own word is “soar.” I have three children and this place–right here, called shelovesmagazine.com–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago. I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at idelette.com and tweet @idelette.
Idelette McVicker

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