Yeah, I used to be a hater.
It must have had to do with some authoritarian woman teacher in my past…but however I got there, I HATED women with a passion. (Strange, since I AM one, I know.) I couldn’t stand the ways women would manipulate others to get what they wanted. I detested when girls would “play dumb” to attract male attention. And I absolutely abhorred large gatherings of women. All the cackling and clique-iness happening under the billowing clouds of estrogen made me sick to my stomach.
Funny how so many other women I know have expressed similar feelings to my own. What makes us hate our sisters so much? It doesn’t really make sense, until you see what is behind the hatred. Most women walking the planet right now have been hurt very badly by another woman. Our mothers, our sisters, our teachers, pastors and friends have hurt us. So most of us have resolved to avoid being hurt again…and have built up fortresses around our hearts. “You shall not pass!” has been our standard response to any woman who dared knock at the castle gate.
I lived quite happily alone in my castle for a long time, just me and Jesus. I didn’t need sisterhood. I would smile and wave civilly from my window high above the masses, but never considered for a moment that I would ever let someone in. Just me and Jesus. Jesus and me. I loved Jesus very much. He was my everything and I was so satisfied with Him.
Well, somehow I found myself roped into playing guitar and leading worship for a small group of women from our church. I loved worship and being in the flow of God’s presence, so I agreed to come to the group every week and “be a member” if it would allow me to lead in worship. I thought I would go in and keep to myself, tolerate all the dumb woman-y stuff and just enjoy the worship part. Week after week went by, and I began to soften a bit as I got to know the ladies in the group. Some of them were very funny! Some were deep in their walk with God. But the thing that totally blind-sided me was the book Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge. Our group was reading and discussing that book over the course of a semester, and I was kind of enjoying it. It had some neat points and good stories. But one day as I sat and read chapter 5, I felt tears roll down my cheeks and a fury rise up in my bones. For the first time, I realized that it is Satan who hates women so much. He has assaulted women since the dawn of time because they bear the beauty of God and because they give life. That revelation rocked me to my core. I felt the flip of a switch inside my heart and then everything changed.
Years before, my husband had a vision of me standing in front of thousands of women, ministering to them. I actually laughed when he told me! I could not imagine myself ever doing such a thing—I hated women, especially in large groups! I dismissed his “prophetic vision” like it was no big deal.
Fast forward to the tears and fury moment of realization…and see me running down flights of stairs in my heart-castle. I ran to my front gate, unbarred the door and flung it wide open. My Jesus, who I loved so dearly, had finally gotten through to me: my hatred of women had only aligned my heart with Satan’s agenda! I wanted no part of that anymore! At that moment, I resolved to be a lover of women, to shelter them from the assault on their lives and to stand with my sword drawn to defend them. I pledged my life to storm into the darkness and bring as many women into the Light as I possibly could for the rest of my days.
I had to learn how to have real relationships with women again. Since I had shut them out for so long, it was a little awkward at first. But the more I surrendered myself to the Holy Spirit, the easier it became. It was really just His love for women that I needed. As I took baby steps in allowing women into my life and experiencing friendship, I began to notice strong, powerful women leaders. In fact, there was one in particular who taught me how to love women in a way that could heal them. I was entranced by the way she gave such grace and raised up the other women around her. She was not self-seeking or prideful. She genuinely loved other women and saw the best in them. She loved me that way and called out giftings and destiny in me, and I have been eternally altered by her impact on my life.
Think you don’t need mothering? Sisterhood? Friendships? You could probably make it through life without those if you tried. But your life can be so full when you open yourself up to them. Do you hate women because of something a woman has done to you in the past? The enemy wants you to stay hurt and angry about it. He wants you to stay barred in your castle and never come into meaningful contact with another woman as long as you live. He wants to destroy you. The castle you constructed for protection is really just a prison. You’ll never see the fullness and vibrancy of the life God intends for you if you don’t open the door and go outside.
You don’t have to stay wounded, you know. God can come in right now and heal that painful spot in your heart.
Remember that vision my husband told me about? The one I laughed at? Well, since the storming of my own castle, I have actually begun stepping into that vision. Satan wanted to keep me tucked neatly away, while God intended from the beginning that I speak into the lives of thousands of women. You just never know what may be around the corner! Don’t let the wounds from your past keep you from living out God’s amazing dreams for you!
We, as women, need you. You are valuable. You are precious. You are one-of-a-kind. Is that a knock at your castle door?
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*The strong, loving woman I mentioned before has actually just written a book, and you need it. It is available beginning April 15 at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and on iBooks (iTunes). Get to know my dear friend and pastor, Jan Greenwood in her debut as an author: Women at War. She will guide you down the path to healthy, meaningful, life-giving relationships with other women.
**Want to experience healing in your heart in a large group setting? Gateway Church’s Pink Impact conference for women is coming up! You can still register for Conference A that begins on April 15!!! www.pinkimpact.com