This past weekend we had an awesome Girl’s Weekend. Five of my girlfriend’s came to visit me for the weekend. This was the first time they had been to my house since I moved 7 months ago. I had the weekend planned with various events and crafts, places to see, things to do (and eat of course!). I gave them a list of things to bring with them and what not to bring. Needless to say, I am organized with a few control issues.
Let me give you some background on the 6 of us. We range in age from 41 to (almost) 60. Two are cousins, two work together (indirectly). Some are married, some are divorced and some are somewhere in between. We are all moms. Between the six of us we have 13 children (ranging in age from 7-22), some of which are biological, step and adopted. Some of us grew up going to church, others had no idea who God was. One went to the Catholic Church, 3 to the Anglican Church, and 1 to the Mennonite Church. Now we all attend Evangelical Churches that focus on the teachings of the Bible. We all believe that Jesus loves us and we are to love one another as He does.
We met in January of 2014, the first night of Alpha, which was put on by our church. We all happened to sit at the same table. We pretty much sat together every week for the duration of Alpha, with few exceptions. Since then, we have become known as the Alpha Sisters. We even have T-shirts that identify us as such.
We have gone through a few ups and downs in life since then: divorce, death of a parent, cancer, children going off to college, moves, financial struggles, mental health issues, marital issues, children graduating from grade 8, high school and college, wedding, layoffs and new jobs, etc. We support one another and celebrate with one another.
One of my weekend events was an interview with them. Since we all have different backgrounds, I wanted to get their thoughts on some of the issues impacting Christian women today. Not everyone answered every question. I am not giving the names of who answered what question or what her response was. I asked them 10 questions. Here are their responses. At the end of each question, I have added my answer.
- What is the toughest part about being a Christian?
- To have the mustard seed of faith every day in the fallen world. I need to put on the armor of God and surrender to Him every day.
- Trying to explain or express my faith to non-believers. It is hard to explain the experiences I have had without sound crazy. It doesn’t sound plausible.
- I don’t feel grounded enough in Biblical knowledge to qualify my faith to someone.
- Being able to qualify my faith, even to my husband, is a challenge. I am also afraid of judgement or mocking from others, or not being accepted because I am a Christian.
- What is the best part about being a Christian?
- Never being alone. God is always there.
- I don’t worry any more. I know God has it.
- Knowing it is out of my control. I can surrender it all to God.
- Sense of community and family at church which comes from God. He is working through others for me.
- A sense of belonging to something greater than me. Being able to pray or discuss my issues with God and know there is no judgement.
- What kind of reactions do you get when you tell coworkers or when you meet new people that you are a Christian?
- I get varied experiences – if they are non-believers, I get silence; if they are believers I get confirmation and affirmation.
- I take my cues from others. If they talk about it first then I am very open. I don’t hide the fact that I am a Christian but I don’t advertise it.
- I am open about my faith. I was recently talking with a couple who are struggling at the Catholic Church they attend. I invited them to come to my church. The husband’s reaction was, “I would never tell someone to come to church.” I said, “No, I am inviting you.” He didn’t appreciate the open invitation to try our church. He said he couldn’t openly invite people to his church.
- I have friends from other faiths and they ask me questions but we talk about it.
- Usually I get silence. Many people I work with are not Christians, or they do not talk about it. I will gladly talk to anyone about it if they ask or if I know they are also a Christian.
- What would you say is your biggest struggle in life right now? How are you managing it?
- I am really struggling with leaving my marriage. I have spoken with my pastor who is walking alongside me as I go through this. I have come to accept that it is over. I have done all I could and I am going to give it to God as I am only responsible for myself and nobody else. I will continue to be the best mom/person that I can be with the help of the Holy Spirit.
- I am divorced and in a new relationship. We are not married but having intimate relations. As a Christian, I am struggling with that and what the Bible says about it.
- My marriage is my biggest struggle. I see a Christian counselor. I try to listen to what God wants for me. I am still trying to control everything when I know I can’t. I am trying to discern what I am hearing is from God and not the devil.
- I am struggling with health issues, specifically around my food addictions and depression. I go to CR regularly. I try to surrender it all to God but I have a hard time applying the theory of that. I also see a counselor on a regular basis.
- What is your favourite scripture? Why?
- Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. In every situation, present it to God. With all the struggles I have gone through (my mom dying, my cancer diagnosis, etc.) I know I can go to God.
- Philippians 4:3 – I can do all this through him who gives me strength. It is because it is true. I know it. All things are possible.
- I Peter 5:7 – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. I do get a lot of anxiety in life. I know I need to let go. Let go and let God!
- Philippians 3:14 – I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. I want to be future oriented. When I think about the past, I freeze and force myself to look to the future.
- Psalm 46:10 – He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” I am the type of person who overthinks everything. I need to stop, not think about it and just let God take care of it.
- Isaiah 40:28-31 – Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. These verses have be in my head for decades. There are so many truths in these statements. They can be referenced as a group or individually. They give me strength and reassurance.
- What is your favourite Bible story?
- The Woman at the Well. The Samaritan woman getting water and Jesus approached. Jesus accepted her as she was, considering her history. Christians need to be like that.
- The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is not just a story in the Bible; it is THE story.
- The Mustard Seed. It is the opportunity to just open that door with others, to plant that seed with them.
- For me, it is the general idea about what God can do and the transformations he makes in people. He doesn’t use perfect people. He uses the prostitutes, the murders, the judges, the fearful, the tax collectors, those with speech impediments, physical disabilities, the adulterer, and the liars. No matter where we are in life, God can use us for His purpose.
- What do you tell your children about your own faith? Or what impact has your faith had on your children?
- My kids know my faith but they know more than me about the Bible. I lead by example. My son told me recently that he knows he really needs to marry a Christian woman.
- I was in the laundry room playing Christian music one day. My son came into the room and said, “Don’t you just love being a Christian?!” I couldn’t agree more. My children know that God is a constant in my life and that it is Him who has sustained me through many ups and downs. But they know they are ahead of me in their knowledge of the Bible, so they try to help me know more.
- My son knew me before I became a Christian. He was not at my baptism but he knew I did it. He sees that God has become my strength with everything I have gone through.
- My kids know I believe in God but I do not force that on them, except at Christmas and Easter. I always try to have them to go church with me at Christmas and Easter. My daughter will listen and take in some things when I share verses with her and will ask questions sometimes but the other two have no idea what I am talking about, nor do they ask.
- What is one social issue you struggle with the most as a Christian?
- We all agree that the issue with homosexuality is a big struggle for us. There are many stereotypes and judgments from people who call themselves Christians. We are not to judge or condemn anyone. Jesus is the only one who can judge.
- Abortion is another issue. It is a personal choice that is dependent upon so many variables. There are also many social issues that impact a woman’s choice: rape, poverty, mental health, etc. There is no clear answer.
- Poverty is another issue the church tries to assist in but perhaps their efforts could be more focused. There are some judgement in the middle-class church those who live in poverty may feel judged when they walk to church. Think globally but act locally. The Shoebox program is great but there are so many kids in Canada that need the help just as much as those around the world. The thousands of dollars that are raised for missions trips could be raised and used to help people locally or nationally.
- Do you set aside daily time with God for devotions, Bible Study, etc.? If not, why not?
- Only one of us said she sets time aside daily to spend with God. She is a very disciplined person. “I have a routine first thing in the morning.” The rest of us do not. It is not due to a lack of time. It is about trying to make a new, healthy habit. We all pray but we do not do any real Bible study.
- How did you come to know Christ and have a relationship with Him?
- I always believed. My mom was a believer. She didn’t read the Bible but she set the example. She brought kids into the house who needed help. She taught me about blessings and gratitude. When I switched churches, from the Catholic Church, I did it for my family but I am the one who has gotten the most out of it.
- I grew up in the Anglican Church and always believed in and knew there was a God. As a teen and young adult I stopped going to church but came back to it after I was married and had children of my own. It was when I started going to my new church that I started having faith and having the relationship with God that I never had before. I didn’t know I was searching for that. And once I had a taste I had a thirst to know Him more.
- I always knew who God was, that he died for me, etc. but never had a relationship with Him. In college, I had dinner at my boyfriend’s parent’s house. At dinner, they prayed like I had never heard before. After that I started reading the Bible but would hide it from my parents. At that point, I started going back to church. My Aunt was a big influence on me, someone I could talk to about my faith. When I started at my current church, I was able to apply the sermons to my life, like I never had before. A driving force for me was when I became a mom. I want my daughter to stay focused on God as she grows up.
- I went to church when I was younger. My mom was a believer and still is. When I was really struggling with my mental health I realized I couldn’t do it on my own. Jesus spoke to me and I now try to talk to Him for healing because I can’t do it on my own.
- I was raised without God so I drifted through most of my life. When I found myself in dire straits, I asked God that if he was really real then help me. He has since responded in so many ways, it is unbelievable.
- I was raised in the church but stopped going once I lived on my own. I knew God was there but still searched for my own answers to the struggles in my life. I got to a point where I felt completely lost so a friend encouraged me to go to church with her. I felt the Holy Spirit in my soul that day for the first time ever, but certainly not the last. I do not have the relationship with God that I want these days but I know that is on me, not Him. He is there all the time.
I want to thank my friends for their love, support and presence in my life for these last 5.5 years. I know we will continue to be there for one another for many more years to come. Love you all!