Summer still reigns in Austin, TX. Dominating each day, regardless of Fall marking it’s territory on our calendars. Yet sweating my way through the better part of last week, I hardly noticed. Surrounded by beautiful women gathered from the far reaches of the country, nerves were the only thing on my mind, slowly uncoiling as I heard each of them speak up opening night.
Touting our differences prior, we’d assembled in rush-like fashion to see how this experiment might go. One by one, we attached flesh and blood to the words we’d read, ministries we’d supported, and new friends we were eager to meet. It was surreal, realizing the obstacles overcome to bring us together across the miles. We knew we better not take that for granted.
After a morning of asking tough questions of each other and breaking down in our answers, I heard common whispers around the room and it hit me:
We are the same.
Sure, our settings are different. City, Country, North & South. Our ages and stages are different. Single, Married. No kids, 5 kids. Our theology looks different. I like that. But this room gave me a larger vision of a body of women that have much in common. Ways we meet one another exactly where we are, with hearts wide and palms open. Ways we are the same.
To long for the heart of God. The same.
To not have all the answers. The same.
To break down and cry for help. The same.
To rest in His embrace. The same.
To choose the joy of our salvation. The same.
Our time concluded, sharing a long table over laughter and conversation. Toasting our sameness and celebrating God’s grace in all our lives. Breaking bread and drinking the cup of His sacrifice and Christ’s commitment to make all things new.
I’m eager to see what this newness looks like. If newness includes seeing our sameness, my heart delights in what God has in store for women, and the church. Breaking down walls, and reaching across lines and rooting for one another. It’s palpable and squirmy, this love toward those we’ve yet to meet to eradicate barriers and boundaries. May we all embrace this sameness together.
Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other. John 13:35