Saturday night proved to be something all together different than I expected. I don’t attend “Ladies Events” at church. Been there, done that. I have NO desire to spend ANY time with a group (and it’s a LLAARRGGEE group) of phony women.
If that last sentence offended you, I suggest you stop reading right now, cause sister, it’s gonna get worse before it gets better!
When I first became a Christian I was under the delusion that all Christians were your family; your brothers and sisters. I mistakenly supposed that we’d be a cozy little group whose goal was to build up, not tear down. Imagine my surprise to find just the opposite to be true.
Now, I’m an emotional girl, I can’t help myself. I’m what Patsy Clairmont calls “A Soggy Saint”. I cry over everything, coffee commercials, greeting cards, sappy made-for-TV movies, etc. In fact if YOU cry, it won’t be long and I’ll be crying right along with ya! It ain’t pretty, but it’s true (and that’s what you get here; truth).
I’ve always known that women can be catty, snotty, down right rude, (I am one after all, snicker) but I was surprised to find that even within the church, women have sharp claws. After being burned a few times, I retreated into my own little circle and decide, in a self preservation sort of way, to keep under the radar. If you don’t step out you can’t be stepped on. I hate being emotional in public. If I find myself starting to get teary-eyed I will chew my tongue, my cheek, I’ll count something and block out what ever it is that is making me choke up. I try my very hardest to keep it under wraps. After all, no one likes to see an idiot cry.
I also learned from the behavior of others that I really didn’t want to behave like them. I made it my goal to look for those who looked as pathetic as I did and be friendly. It was a good lesson in stepping outside my comfort zone and I found that there actually are a lot of very nice Christian woman who are looking for authentic people. As a speaker at homeschool conventions, my business partner and I spent a great deal of time talking with woman and encouraging them. We tried to be transparent.
While this all sounds very lovely (and it was) I also began to harden my heart towards those in the church who moved in the “inner circle”. Holy guacamole, it’s like high school all over again. The clicks! Why on earth are there clicks in church? Because I’d been hurt on several occasions, I was less receptive to any gesture by a woman in or around ministry. Shame on me.
I have friends who move in that circle now. They are the beautiful ones. Those ones who have talent, grace, and style (exactly what they are doing with this idiot girl is beyond me). Of course, because they are involved it means that I receive invitations to “Ladies Events”. Gaahh!
Usually, I politely turn them down. I don’t want to hurt my friend, but I loath those events. I know that one of two things will happen; I will either get emotional over something I’ve heard or I’ll sit there alone feeling like a leper. In all honesty, if both of these things happen at once, I’ll refuse to leave the house for days!
However, Saturday night would prove me wrong. Very, very wrong.
My dear, dear friend (The Giver) invited me to a ladies dinner at her church. Now, her church is not your run of the mill hymn singing, sedate church. Nope. It’s loud. It’s tattooed. It’s real, baby. I’ve visited it before but had managed to avoid the clutches of the women’s group. So, I owed her one.
The room was beautifully decorated. I am always amazed at women who have such creative minds and the way they can make a bare room bloom to life with candles and cloth. There were 400 (yeah, easy to get lost in the crowd, that’s what I was thinking too) women at this event. The music was LOUD. The food was good (I ate only three bites of dessert then handed my plate to The Giver). The woman who spoke was funny and transparent about her brain tumor and that fact that she has two to five years to live. She was real. She was joyful. She was really funny. Wow.
Her story puts all my blathering here to shame. It really does.
Then came the part I was dreading. It was the announcement that we were going to sit at our tables and share. I despise sharing with strangers and knew in my hard little heart that it would be another phony, gossip session that would leave me empty. I decide to be aloof, silent, simply a body taking up space. (Of course I was kicking myself in the hind end for not driving my own car! Gah! Idiot girls rises again!!)
I listened as first one then another shared some very real, very personal struggles. I was amazed as one woman started to cry while she shared. What? Real tears, real problems, real sin, being shared with total strangers. I sat amazed, my eyes getting teary, while my mind shouted, “Keep your big mouth shut! No one wants to hear what you have to say!!!!” Of course, I didn’t listen, I had to say something. And I did.
I told them how much I appreciated their transparency. They had removed their Christian masks and stood, hearts exposed, for every stranger at that table to see. I explained that I don’t “do women’s events” and why. They smiled, shaking their heads in agreement.
I learned Saturday night that authentic Christian womanhood is alive and well. I guess you just have to know where to find it. It gives me hope, it really does.