Written by: Libbie Hall
My day was as busy as usual. In between the running around, a text popped in, “Hey, can you chat one day this week?”
I responded, “Sure! What day?”
I knew she had been struggling lately. But I had no idea how much. We sat near each other, and I could see she was nervous – but I saw something else too. It took me a few minutes to pinpoint it. I should have recognized it immediately; my own experience with shame goes deep.
As she poured out her pain, I moved closer to her and spoke, "So, you were afraid he would tell me what happened."
She responded weakly, "Yes."
An indignant fire rose up inside me. I was angry she was being manipulated and that her shame was being used against her. "There is nothing anyone could tell me about you that will make me not love you. Nothing." I meant it. "You have asked God for forgiveness, and He gave it freely. Who am I to hold that against you?" The words were thick as they hit the air. "You are free. You need to know that you are free."
I put my arms around her as she cried. I could feel the shame and guilt falling off her. She was a part of the women's group I lead. I have grown to love them – love our differences – love growing our faith together. I know she has faults. I do too. So do you. The question is, can we love each other in spite of our faults? As women, can we accept our different opinions and ideas, yet, love each other?
Maybe you are thinking, "Yeah, but should we?" Yes. We should. A thousand times over we should. Why? Because life is hard. We need each other. We need to know that it's okay to fail. It's okay to struggle, and it's okay to get up again and succeed. More than that, we should because God tells us to. I could point you to many scriptures here, but I'll just give you one. These words are straight from the mouth of Jesus Himself:
I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)
Jesus was clear that we are to love. You and I aren't in competition. You and I aren't each other's enemy. We are sisters. We can be friends. In that friendship, we can find the joy of lifting each other up to freedom and success. I know that my friend was created with specific gifts and skills for a very specific purpose. You too have been created for great things.
This world can wear you out and cause you to lose your fight. My hope is that there will be women surrounding you, lifting you off the floor and encouraging you to try again. My hope is that I can cheer you on as you achieve all God has called you to. An even greater hope of mine is that you will take your freedom and use it to set more women free. No shame. No chains. Just freedom.
Libbie Hall is the Creative Arts Pastor at Life Bridge Church in Taylor, MI. She is married to Brian and they have three children and two dogs. Libbie has been leading worship for over 20 years and absolutely loves mentoring young worship leaders. She loves to read and write, and she teaches a weekly Bible study. Libbie also loves beaches, coffee and dogs…but mostly she loves to laugh…she does it daily! She is the author of Hope Against Hope, Living your life so that no trial is wasted.
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