Sisterhood…The Call

Many of you have asked about my talk at the Relevant Conference. So, I have decided to write it out for you this week (slightly edited).  I will be doing a post about my experience at Relevant, but not until next week, after I have had time to process. For now, all I can say is that it was AH-MAZING. God is AH-MAZING.

In the meantime, here is the first installment:

One of our favorite things to do as a family is to head into a village where my husband flies.  We spend several days just spending time and getting to know the people and encouraging them.  Life there is simple.  No running water, no electricity, laundry is done in the river, beds are mats on plywood floors, and they cook over an open fire.

The thing that interests me the most is the women.  When our family comes, there are lots of mouths to feed and the women trickle into the house one by one each bringing something.  One woman brings a hunk of pig meat, one brings uncooked rice that she recently harvested in her field, another brings ferns she collected near the bank of the river, and yet another brings a root she dug up that promises to add delicious flavor. And then, sitting around the open fire laughing, chopping, cooking and talking, they work to create a meal together.

These ladies are a small group of believers living in a small village in the middle of the jungles of Indonesia, and they show me a beautiful picture of how true Christian sisterhood and unity should work.  No one takes all of the burden or load, and they each bring something to share.  They bring something different and unique and they all work together to create a tasty, satisfying meal.

And so I want to ask you. How can we create a sisterhood both on and offline? One where we bring our unique gifts and talents, and we all work together to prepare a beautiful, satisfying meal for the watching world.

Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

A unity, in spite of our differences, and a picture of the Body of Christ portrayed through us.  That they world may see our unity and see Christ in it. If we are believers we have His light within us and it is our calling to shine that light.  We have been put here to both experience Christ and His love and to portray it to the world.

More tomorrow…..

What are your thoughts?

Photos by the amazing Dave Forney.

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  • Arabahjoy

    Joy, thank you for sharing this. I came over from the Relevant site because I was hoping to find some scraps you guys left behind from the conference:)

    As a relatively new blogger, I often wonder how I can work in unity with other bloggers to build them up and maximize what we all have for the glory of God. Yet I have so very little time, even to write my own posts…Community is so important and American society is so individualistic. Perhaps you have learned some things from another culture that can carry over to assist us in doing community better. I look forward to the rest of what you share.

    • Joy

      I am so honored that you would come and comment here. I admire and respect you oh so much! Yes, over the next few days I hope to suggest some practical ideas on how to build our community. I’m like you, though, it’s hard enough for me to even write, let alone see what others are doing! I think maybe if we don’t have time it can simply be expressed by our heart attitude, don’t you?!

  • Thehomespunheart

    Each doing what we do well (what God has invested in us and gifted us with) for His glory – wouldn’t that create a beautiful tapestry to others watching? Reminds me of your theme of being content – if we are content in the above – in our place in Him, won’t that be beauty? Thank you for the reminder to create sisterhood. Sometimes it is hard when things feel like a competition rather than a community. Can’t wait to read the rest!

    • Joy

      Oh Monica,
      You are the best example of creating true sisterhood…you sent me a package to the hotel!!! :) It’s all packed in my suitcase and ready to head back to Indo. Thank you. I hope that these words (and as you will see, my struggles) will point us toward building a true unity in the body of Christ. Love you friend!

      • Thehomespunheart

        I wanted to send you some Whoopie Pies – but didn’t think they would travel well! :) Maybe when we meet in person some day!!

        I’m so thankful for the sweet ways our Lord met you there – just as we knew He would…

  • Terri S

    Thank you for sharing this. I tried to listen to you on Ustream but was unable to, so I look forward to this – especially to see what others say as well. I do not blog, but follow many who were at Relevant, and have not connected online to the sisterhood there so far, but long to. Currently our church is trying to create community, so I am longing to find something locally as well. The simple picture you portray with your words calls me, and perhaps God will answer my longing somehow to become a part of His community. I know I belong to Him, but want to share Him with others in that closer community to become closer to Him in another way that is also seen in His Word.

    I look forward to hearing more and becoming closer to that sisterhood.
    Terri S
    Madison WI

    • Joy

      Community with other women is hard. I’m not going to lie…it’s painful, challenging, and stretching, but I think in the end it is so worth it.
      Sorry about the Ustream. I think it was taped tho, and I’m hoping I will be able to make that available online sometime soon.

  • Jeannie S

    Wow, that is true sisterhood. Here I am in the land of abundance and I do not have a group of women collectively that can be there for each other. I have a few friends but they are scattered not close to where I live. I go to church and have neighbors. I have tried and continue to reach out, but nothing comes back. What a blessing and their faces are so sweet. May God bless you abundantly!

  • Stacey29lincoln

    Drinking it all in once again. Thank you sweet friend for your heart, for your message, for your sisterhood! You are such a blessing! So glad I got to hug your neck!

  • Debbie

    Matthew 5:16 is one of my favorite Bible verses. It says so much about how we should live in this world. Yes, we are each created uniquely with different gifts. I loved reading about these beautiful Indonesian women who teach us how to live a life of love and community. Instead of desiring another’s gift, we should embrace the ones we’ve been given to build up the body of Christ. And in the process a watching world will see and maybe desire what we have; Jesus!

    I look forward to reading more about your trip to the Relevant conference and your keynote speech. I’m sure you blessed many women.

    blessings and love,

  • Brenda

    Beautiful pictures, and imagery. I want to go there and experience that someday. Or maybe, learn to experience it here. :) Thank you, Joy!

  • Renee

    Oh Joy, your post brought me to tears! It’s beautiful. I live in a small village where the only other Christian is my inlaws. Sometime I find it hard not having close in live sisterhood. We meet for church on Sunday’s always have great fellowship, but the rest of the week, it’s the business of life that takes over.

    With 3 toddlers in a tow, it’s easier for me to stay home and be busy here, not that I have time to be bored or anything, they keep me busy that is for sure :-) But doing the work, the Work that the Lord has for me now, raising little one, taking care of them, is a hard and wonderful blessing.

    But this work, I would love to share it with someone, having another sister, working along side of me, sharing, encouraging, laughing… would be so nice!

  • Anastasia Stephan

    I have experienced this in a different country and a slightly different way, but the way the ladies gathered together to create not just a meal but a beautiful experience was humbling and uplifting! There seemed to be no aspiration to compete or outdo; just a harmony of sisters trying to create a beautiful experience to their visitors. I think what spurred such kindness and beauty and simplicity was LOVE! I know no other way to “come together” but by being clothed in His love (agape). So, I’m seeking out more of that divine “outfit” so that I may ready!

  • Barby S

    I love your post Joy! My neighbor and I ( sister in Christ), are going to host a ladies Christmas tea for our neighborhood women. It will be our first! I would love to show them your blog pictures and tell the women this story and let them know that we would love to grow our neighborhood community of women closer together for support and encouragement!

  • Shelly Miller

    I think sometimes poverty brings out the beauty. In our full lives with so much, we become isolated. I see this in Rwanda too. Community that takes place naturally, authentically. We have to plan, organize, bring out calendars, clean our house first to build community. Enjoyed your post, great food for thought.

  • Jessica Lynette

    Love this and looking forward to hearing more!!

    We had this exemplified so beautifully by our church family just yesterday – we’re currently on a very tight budget as my husband is back at school, but we have a home that can accommodate large groups of people and we really enjoy playing games.
    We extended an open invitation to our entire church for people to come over to play games – we provided the home and the games and everyone else pitched in with snacks and it was EASY and FUN for everyone without any large burden on any one person. It was wonderful and I was so thankful for how everyone pitched in as we are so limited with what we can physically provide at this moment, but our hearts and home are open and God provided :)

  • Lisa Littlewood

    Hi Joy…LOVE that picture of those women cooking dinner together…it makes me wish we lived in a more communal type of society at times…Sometimes it’s hard to be a stay at home mom when you’re the only one that seems to be at home on the street! I have a wonderful community at church, but to have women come together over the daily things, like serving their families food…that’s a beautiful thing…

    It was SUCH a pleasure to meet you this week. You have a beautiful heart and I’m excited to continue hearing more of your story.

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  • Lara Wingler

    That would be so nice. I can’t get other christian women to show any interest in friendship. I keep inviting them over and asking how I can help and they don’t respond. It seems they are too busy with family to lift a finger for others. Any suggestions?

  • Evelyn

    What a beautiful, peaceful picture of the body of Christ working together. So often fellowship with other ladies is stressful because we are concentrating on comparing ourselves instead of on blessing one another. May our focus — my may focus– be on presenting a blessing, to my friends and to our King.