I’m still reflecting upon last night’s event, thankful that the church we attend puts on events for women to come together to praise God, draw nearer to Jesus and to be called into action to become better for God’s glory; to make Him famous.
I’d been to the event – drawing in well over 1,200 women the two years before. Once as a member and once as a staff member and both times I felt overwhelmed and lost in the crowd. This is certainly my introversion shining through but also my deep rooted desire to process and connect with others who are hearing the message, a community, a sisterhood where we can “spur one another on to good deeds”.
There were only 8 of us – 4 of us collaborated to host and 4 guests.
We provided name tags, journals as a gift to use and to take, yummy dinner and dessert and set the dress code as “comfy chic”. Each woman had responsibilities from hosting, to preparing gifts to cover the entire time – before, during and even today, the day afterwards – in prayer.
Our hearts were to bring other black women who attend our large church together in a more intimate setting, to let them know they were seen and that this was about pouring into and encouraging them. Not just for them, but for the other black sisters in faith that they may know who could use this additional support.
It was amazing.
Not just the intimacy but the ability to pause the programming when we felt a point or moment hit us. Not just because black folk talk at the screens and we were able to do that as the Spirit moved us (well, not all the way through because I’m still me and want to be able to hear). Not just because we had filling, yummy food that we were able to sit and eat at the table together.
But because God blessed our prayerful intentionality.
The heart of this night was not to start a black women’s small group or to create separation in any way, but to speak to a part of our identity that is not often addressed from the platform, from society, from the media as black Christian women.
And though those were the two things we had in common: being black and acknowledging our need for Jesus, we spoke more about matters of the heart and soul; things that the speaker – Holly Wagner (@hollywagnerla) – addressed and called out in every woman.
If you don’t know what Summer Splash is or weren’t able to participate in Summer Splash last night, please listen to her message here.
Without giving away too much, I wanted to share how her message personally impacted me in the 5 areas she calls women to rise in.
I so appreciated that I (nor did the women we spent time with) left feeling like there were one or two that I needed to rise in – not all five. Ms. Wagner did a wonderful job of explaining where the one she needed to rise in most was and what that looked like with candor and grace.
For me, I felt nudged and reminded that I am one of His children and therefore I belong. But the two that spoke most to me are (2) Wisdom and (3) Freedom.
At the end of our quiet time reflecting and journaling, we spent time sharing and then calling one another to rise in the areas that they may have been struggling to before the message began. These lovely ladies called me into wisdom by allowing me to facilitate and speak hard things wrapped in love to their hearts and encouraged me to walk in the freedom to express my voice in writing to impact and influence women to keep moving toward Jesus in their pain.
I couldn’t even cry. There was no need to.
I was experiencing godly peace. That kind of moment when you know you’re right where you’re supposed to be doing exactly as you are to be doing calling on your past experiences and lessons learned that are benefitting others for the glory of God. You ever had that?
That was so amazing to me.
I was affirmed in my call to rise as a woman of God with other women. Not perfect or trying to present ourselves as anything other than where we are but sitting a bit taller knowing the hurts and lies and past doesn’t have to have the grip on us that it has; keeping us from overcoming so that we can then share.
We need to overcome “so that other women can know what you know.”
I write and post on my blog and Instagram account to encourage, to influence, to inspire and to assure; you can overcome with Jesus. And when you do, you can help someone else. No more stuffing, no more hiding, carrying or assuming shame, no more. Get in someone’s living room, listen to this message or any other that challenges how you view your role and contribution to building God’s Kingdom and talk. Share your heart. Cry without apologizing. Express how you feel. Ask for help. Boldly speak into others. And pray!
It’s time to heed the call and rise ladies.