NEVER BETTER THEN WHEN WE ARE TOGETHER
“Women come together best at a birth.” This is a line spoken by the midwife in the book I’m listening to called “The Last Midwife,” written by Sandra Dallas (published by St. Martin’s Griffin). As the midwife looked around the room, she saw the mother, mother-in-law, and two sisters of the woman in labor, moping her brow, giving her sips of water, working on a quilt for the baby and cooing words of comfort and support during the rigors of labor. When the baby came, every woman in the room rejoiced as if the labor had been her own, because they were in it together.
A women’s conference is kind of like that. We become our better selves when we fellowship together in the Word and some wonderful things are born – things like new friendships, like enriched knowledge, like inspired worship, like a reigniting of zeal.
The women we read about in the New Testament set an example for us. They rallied around each other in time of need and supported one another in time of sorrow. They served the Lord together.
Acts 9:36-40 [NIV] In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, "Please come at once!" Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.
Notice, as she lay asleep in death, those she had served were standing by her, gathered in their sorrow for the loss of this disciple. The Greek word used here is simply the feminine version of the same word used for disciples of Jesus when referring to the 12 men who were pupils of Jesus and His closest companions on this earth. Tabitha was every bit a pupil of Jesus, the Great Teacher. The good works she did in life are a testimony to that, as is the great sorrow of the widows who stood by her in death.
Women were gathered together at the crucifixion. John puts them near: John 19:25 [NIV] Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Mark says watched from afar. Mark 15:40 [NIV] Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome.
It is either just a judgment call of the writers – one man’s “near” is another man’s “afar” – or Mary Magdalene moved from one group to the to the other or the whole group moved from near to far or far to near. Whatever the case, these women who had served Christ Jesus together during His life, stood together at His death. Mark 15:14 - In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there. [NIV]
Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, went together to care for the body of Jesus and were rewarded by being the first to hear of his resurrection. [See Luke 24:1-10]
When women come together to serve our Lord, great things happen. It is the same in our lives today. And we don’t have to wait for a women’s conference for this to happen.
When women get together over coffee, there is encouragement of one another. There is joy. There are prayers. There are tears of laughter and sorry. When women get together to help the poor, the lives of both groups are enriched. When women get together to pray, things happen. When women get together at a sickbed, spirits are lifted, souls are nurtured and a spiritual form of healing occurs – whether physical healing occurs or not.
There are certainly women who are “loners” in aspects of their lives. But in service? In worship? We just seem to gravitate to each other. Perhaps we are more in tune to the benefit of the admonition of Ecclesiastes 4:12 [NIV] Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Whether it is for physical safety or spiritual, we stick together.
When women get together in worship, we are reborn. I’d say women come together best at a women’s conference. But the truth is more like this: when women come together for good, whether it is two or 200 or 2,000 – whether it is at a sickbed or in a soup kitchen, at the sewing table or graveside – God is glorified. Together, we get to show God at His best, through our words and actions.
Women come together best in the service of the Lord. Women come together best in worship. We are never better than when we come together for good.
If you were at the conference in person or online, let me know your thoughts. I welcome any comments and questions or takeaways you’d like to share. You can write to me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.
P.S. There were many individuals and organizations who donated time and/or money to the New Church Lady conference. You enriched the experience for us all. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. May God bless you all. Thank you, Wes White for your unflagging belief in me and in the vision of the conference. And, I’d be remiss not to once again say a special thank you to Jeff Reed, who labored perhaps more than all of us put together, all year long, to ensure that the conference was a success. You are a rare gem.