“You’ve got to be kidding me” was my first thought when my friend Lisa told me about her dream of gathering a group of women together to learn about their identity in Christ. I tried to stifle my gag reflex at this point. Now I’m all about identity, but why just women? I had horrible flashbacks of Tupperware parties, recipe swaps and crafts. All those women did were complain about their husbands or talk about homemaking stuff that didn’t interest me at all. All my friends where I live know to never invite me to any type of home party because chances are I will be busy that night doing something else. One of those “something suddenly came up” (Brady Bunch reference) moments. So let me back up and give you some history.
I was raised in a home where my mother was an alcoholic and also had rage issues so she was either creating chaos or hulled up in her room. I won’t go into all the stories because there are too many and there really is no point, just trust me, it was intense. I’m sure she was doing the best with what she had but there was much emotional wounding in her. Either way I did not feel truly loved, protected, and valued by her. She was jealous of all the time my dad spent taking me to ballet classes DAILY. My sisters, I came to realize were also jealous of that time. Most of my closest friends were guys because they seemed so much easier to get along with. I think they reminded me of brothers and I had a great relationship with my brother. I was always my daddy’s little girl so that was another reason I trusted males. I always had a best friend who was a girl and we would go everywhere together, but I must admit I never trusted a girl with all my heart. They seemed too unpredictable, two faced, and played mind games.
Once I started my relationship with Jesus at twenty I wish I could say that He instantly healed me of my women wounds, but unfortunately the wounding continued. I prayed all the time for a spiritual mother and while He has brought good ones there was always the ones who wanted to control me or were jealous of my gifts or jealous of who I was close to. I cannot describe the pain of feeling like you can finally trust a woman and then have that very woman turn around and accuse you of something that was absolutely NOT TRUE. I saw backstabbing disguised as “prayer concerns” and women’s gossip and opinions were rampant in every church we have attended. I think that’s why I gravitated toward the youth group ministry as it seemed those kids had more important things to talk about than the adults did. I always wondered why character assassination is never addressed as sin. If you are going to accuse someone of something, you better be 100% sure it’s true. God does not take these things lightly. It seemed like the church didn’t have the kind of loyalty and love in the women that I was looking for so I kind of gave up at that point. I kind of decided that while I would socialize with women there would not be a sharing of my deepest heart with them.
There was one exception that slipped through my defenses but she also had women wounds too and we both believed God was using us in each others lives to rebuild trust with women. In our unhealed states however we would still trigger insecurity in each other occasionally without intention. This is still a beautiful friendship God is building. It’s all about knowing your own worth and letting that kick insecurity to the curb so you are free to truly love and honor others.
In 2016 God connected me to a large group of people online and these people (men and women) actually celebrated the prophetic gift in me. They were so edifying and supportive that I could feel my heart opening up a bit more. Online was a very safe place for me to have friendships with women. There was a safe distance there. I think I felt that if they turned and tore me to shreds at least I wouldn’t be physically present to witness it. I didn’t have to go through all the mental wondering if they suddenly gave me the silent treatment with no explanation. The thing is…they didn’t. They have don’t nothing other than speak life to me with every interaction.
This brings me back to Lisa’s conference. I pushed off thinking about it because we were headed to Disney World a couple weeks before the conference. I took advantage of that time to work through my hesitation with my coach. He says to me “Lori this had nothing to do with you, this is a very strategic attack against you spiritually to keep your mouth shut and your heart disengaged from trusting women.” He then prayed with me about the past…through their jealousy, betrayal, abandonment, and passive aggressive antics. We broke it ALL off from effecting how I viewed walking into this women’s conference that my dear friend was orchestrating. It worked!
The conference was last weekend and it will be hard to express exactly how amazing it was. For the first time ever I got to meet face to face all these ladies who have been fiercely supportive of me online. They are a group of spiritual warriors full of fire! I felt so incredibly honored, unconditionally loved and cherished by women for the first time in my life. These women didn’t want me around to make their ministry better, they didn’t want me around to use and abuse my gifts, there was not even a hint of jealousy or maliciousness within the group. They wanted me there because they loved ME. I could feel the pain of the past washing off a me. I could feel trust being rebuilt through the interactions with each woman I had the honor of spending time with. I felt I received another piece of the Father’s heart with each conversation. I can only hope I imparted as much as I received from them. I felt free to be me, free to love, and completely loved for being me….by women….go figure. As a result of what God did I can honestly say I am free from the past and looking forward to more and more beautiful friendships with both women and men!