The last two weeks I talked about authors that have been instrumental in my life. But today I want to talk about a woman I know personally, who always encourages my growth.
My friend, Lorri, has faced a lot of challenges in her life. Single parenthood, kids with serious health concerns, an abusive ex, stories a lot of us can relate to.
I find her so inspiring.
She is one of the most grounded women that I know when it comes to her faith. No matter what she’s going through, she is always looking up. She is always looking for ways to serve, even in the middle of her own crisis.
She is always looking for ways to educate herself and grow. She is unpacking and laying out the path for her healing journey, and deciding which of her old, faithful, coping mechanisms might not be serving her the best now. She reads, she teaches, she learns new languages in her spare time.
She is a thoughtful and present parent to her kids, who are mostly grown now. She is moving into adult relationships with them and guiding them through the first steps of college, jobs, and first cars.
She talks about writing books, and for all your sake I hope she follows through, because I’ve only skimmed the top of her story.
I love sitting down and getting a heart to heart with Lorri.
When it comes to faith, we may not always agree on interpretations of scripture or all of our belief patterns, but we respect each others journeys.
This is something I want to see more of in Christian faith communities. We are divided for many reasons. I’m not going to bore you with a detailed explanation of how the denominations came to be (hint: they exploded during abolition and civil rights movements…) but when we separate ourselves from everyone who believes something slightly different than we do, it’s isolating and dangerous.
We need to know how to have healthy relationships and conversations with people we disagree with.
We need to know how to respect people we disagree with.
I saw an Instagram post this past week stating how a Christian woman read about an author, and then unfollowed her and stopped reading her book because the author didn’t line up with her theological beliefs.
Here’s the thing. The Bible tells us to beware of false teachers. But if your theological beliefs are so flimsy that just reading about another woman’s journey or walk makes you rethink them, maybe you SHOULD be rethinking them.
Jesus says in that same passage that we will know which teachers are of God by their fruit. Is the fruit of their lives and work loving, joyful, peaceful, compassionate? This is the fruit of the spirit. I don’t know about you, but I grew up with teachers ensconced in our religious circles who couldn’t claim that fruit.
It’s sobering to consider that not being able to share mutual respect in faith is fruit.
What belief systems and theologies led to our total intolerance of the walk of a brother or sister in faith?
So here are some sisterhood marching orders: Go sit down with a woman who has a different story than you, who holds some different beliefs from you, and practice mutual respect and love. Pray together. Support each other. Affirm each other in your journeys.
The fact that we aren’t all the same is beautiful, not scary. We don’t all hold the same gifts or functions in faith, and that’s reason for celebration, not disconnection.
If you’re looking for some ways to reach out in love and practice non judgement and respect, take a look at my post from Monday for five mantras to nurture compassion!
As always, thank you for walking with me.
Megan is a writer and creator from Wallingford, CT. She is passionate about empowering women to step into the full power and identity they were created to embrace and claim.