For years they’ve gathered in this room to study the Bible, but recently they’ve had to disband due to civil unrest in their town. But word went out that a bible study would convene, and all women in the town were invited. I was asked to bring a message of hope and encouragement from God’s Word.
It was my privilege.
We started with the women sharing how life had been over the two-year conflict. They shared many stories of pain and shame. One gal’s parents had joined the rebel forces – shame. Another’s daughter was seized – shame. Another was barren – shame. Another woman shared how her husband had been killed, kids were scattered, and she returned home to find her house gone. She tried to rebuild it to no avail – such despair that she was on the verge of suicide.
Until one of the women in the Bible study went to help her build her home. That act of kindness led to her joining the women’s Bible study, which she said, “kept her alive.” This past fall I taught a series, Sisterhood, on female relationships and how desperately we need our sisters. And here I was seeing that truth play out in every woman who sat in our circle.
After listening to their stories I shared how crucial it is for us to “carry one another burdens.” (Galatians 6:2) Then we opened our Bibles to Luke 1 & 2 and looked to see that truth in two women’s lives in Biblical times. I marvel at Elizabeth. She was a wise older woman with status. Mary was not. Elizabeth longed for a child. Mary did not. God said Elizabeth’s son would be great but Mary’s would be greater. Elizabeth doesn’t let envy, judgment, or mothering (Think about it, what mother tells another mother, “Hey your son is going to be greater than mine!”) get in her way of ennobling Mary. Mary’s life wouldn’t be easy. The path God had chosen for her included much suffering. She would need a sister cheering her on to run her race and win the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24, Philippians 3:14) And Elizabeth did just that. She cheered Mary on, “Run, Mary, Run.” How many of us, as we’ve run our race, have been tripped up by other women rather than cheered on?
That’s why I marvel at Elizabeth. I marvel at these women sitting in our circle. They have struggled and yet they hold onto Jesus – they hold onto hope. During our time of sharing several women shared how our Bible study materials and training had sustained them during this season of suffering. Now I was being cheered on! What a privilege to be a part of encouraging our sisters halfway across the globe. Especially sisters whose lives are far more difficult than mine.
So many of you have championed my race. You’ve given your skills, time, and financial resources to enable me to run The Marcella Project. I want you to know your cheering of me in my race has had an impact on women in South Sudan and Congo. You have cheered them on to run their race.
Keep cheering on,
P.S. We left behind about 40 more bible studies! Can’t wait to get to the new heavens and new earth and learn all that came from their use.
P.P.S. We had the opportunity to buy women in Congo Bibles in their own language. It was an unexpected expense, and you provided. Another fun time in the new heavens and new earth! Thank you!