By Jenny Erlingsson
I haven’t always been the best sister. Don’t get me wrong. I take pride in empowering others, bringing encouragement, fighting for dreams. Nothing gives me more joy than seeing someone walk in their calling and living out what they were created for. But the pride in my empowering was often pride that was fighting, striving to make right and set in place things that were maybe not in the right timing to do or to say. At times my eyes didn’t always see clearly because of the filters I allowed to color my view and I sometimes saw things with the hue of accusation and strife, disappointment and frustration. Tuning in to what I was supposed to tune out. Reacting swiftly instead of taking time to ponder and respond well. Valuing my perspective over the other person.
And so I haven’t always been the best sister. I haven’t always seen the best in my sister or known how to release what was needed from me. At times I’ve built walls against my sisters, keeping out others because of fear and experiences. And there have been those moments in my life that I thought I was doing the right thing in my interaction with others. And to be honest, I believe I was. But doing the right thing is not always doing the wise thing.
You see many times our actions originate from the places of our deficits. We move out of the overflow of our own hurts, insecurities or just past experiences. These are moments that may inform our present but they should never be where we originate from. When we start from the wrong place our actions are skewed, our intentions are lost amidst the layers of self that is in the way. We then cause damage because we are not walking in wholeness and in true love.
We see this played out in the story of Mary and Martha. Two sisters in the presence of Jesus. Two sisters doing the right things but in that moment one sister chose to operate out of the overflow of her perspective and maybe her rejection instead of out of a place of belonging, the place of true daughterhood. Her complaint was that her sister wasn’t helping her, wasn’t in the place she thought she should be and therefore Jesus should tell her so. But Jesus response is one for all of us to take to heart But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
There are many angles at which we can look at this story but I want to look at it through the lens of sisterhood. Martha was caught up in what she was doing, and it was a good thing. And quite possibly, it would have remained a good thing if she had found joy and contentment in her work and viewed it as her own form of worship to the Lord. Her work didn’t become tainted until she compared herself to her sister, came into agreement with insecurity and rejection and then out of the overflow of that misalignment, tried to pull her sister out of her place with Jesus. How many roles and relationships with each other do we poison because we are moving out of the overflow of our issues instead of the confidence and strength of the Lord. And even worse, how many sisters do we put a stumbling block in front of, complicating their way towards Jesus because of our own un-surrendered brokenness.
All we do has to originate from our place with the Father. It’s not always easy but it’s so simple. It’s a position that was made possible through the blood and death and resurrection of Jesus. When I step into that place with Him and remain there, I am positioned with the Father and he sets my identity, makes whole the places that were lacking in me. When we are in a whole place, we can bring supernatural peace, joy and strength wherever we go. We can celebrate our sisters even when they receive something that we want or are asking for. We become better sisters when we are confident in our place as daughters.
We cannot forget that we are not just individuals on a journey by ourselves. We are the body of Christ, we together form the bride He is coming back for. Your wholeness and health and lack thereof affects all of us and those around you. Each day we walk in healing and wholeness I become a better sister to you and you become a better sister to me.
There is a narrative being written and played out all around us. Women stepping up and out, declaring who they are and fighting for their rights to live, move and speak as they wish. It is a glorious time to be alive because there are so many opportunities for us as women, as sisters, to take hold of. But we must not come into agreement with the counterfeit message. It’s time for us as women of God to walk in our true purpose and calling. The world needs to hear the voice of love, hope, righteousness, peace and joy that can only come through Jesus and His kingdom. And in doing so sister, I don’t want to receive everything God has for you. I want YOU to have everything that God has for you. Every single thought that He thinks of you. Do you understand? And I want the same for me. I will not diminish what is available to me by comparing it to what you have or do not have. So don’t you diminish your call, gifting, opportunities, work, or worship either.
We sisters in the kingdom of God have a king who sings over us. It’s more than a story, it’s a song, a soundtrack to our life. And when we get into the rhythm of that we will overflow with every good thing we need and that others around us need. No striving, no stress, just resting and moving out of what Jesus already accomplished. That is the place of true empowerment, true encouragement that is not tainted by the rotting flesh of comparison, insecurity, or fear. But instead overflows out of the lives of broken women who know where to go to be made whole and who flow with the anointing and fragrance of their worship.