Dedicated to the women who, in this desert time, have led Bible studies on Zoom, sewn face masks and scrub bags, schooled children, supported spouses, wiped tears, baked bread, made meals, served on the front lines, and cried in your closets. In the dryness of our time, may you find grace and strength at the well of Living Water
Have you ever noticed how life grows beauty in and out of the most unexpected places? It’s a funny thing, really, because we often think that the most obvious place to look for life and beauty is in colour, light, music. Expected places. And it is there. But often richer, truer forms of it must be sought out, searched for, mined in the places that are muted, dark, silent.
We see this in the struggle of a tender green shoot, breaking through the soil. We see it in the struggle of a young bird, having to crack a hard shell to enter life. We see it in the beauty of a woman’s body, designed to grow and stretch and endure long labour and great pain to bring forth new life.
It’s a woman who first feels the whisper-soft tremor inside of her; the first promise. It is she who knows most intimately how in dark and hidden places that cannot be seen but can be felt, the quiet tremble is a sign pointing to stretching that is on the way. It’s a sign that she will have to swell to accommodate, that there will be pain and tearing. Because life cannot come forth otherwise. Life does not emerge apart from blood, and sweat, and tears. Before the beautiful, there is the difficult.
Seeds of Love … Watered With Tears
A woman knows that what broke forth with a cry of triumph, what was cradled close in love and tenderness, will eventually be released. Because what has lived in us for a time and with us for a time is not truly ours. Women know this, and that’s why our seeds of love are often watered with tears. We know that life and beauty are squeezed out if they’re not released to be planted again – they’re not ours to hold and hide away; they’re given as gifts to be shared.
Life’s first whisper is synced with our heartbeat, so as first witnesses to the beauty of new life, women are often the first to stand beside our sisters and brothers, our sons and our daughters, to whisper life to them. I have heard the whisper and seen its growth. In a time when life seems fragile, in danger of being muted, darkened, silenced, I have seen mothers and sisters and daughters whisper life all around them.
As the director of ministry to women at FAC I have seen my sisters swell to accommodate new life that the Spirit is growing in and around them. I know they have felt the pain of the stretching. I know the labour has been difficult and endured with tears. But with great courage, they’ve borne the pain to know the joy. This new way of living and doing ministry has been hard. My sisters have held the hands of husbands, children, grandchildren, and friends who are sick, scared, uncertain. They’ve sung lullabies of love while their own hearts trembled. My sisters have swollen in their capacity to nurture life. While themselves hungry, they’ve fed others. While themselves frightened, they’ve comforted. While themselves aching from pain, they’ve nursed the wounds of others. They’ve laboured – they’ve sewn, listened, learned, instructed. My sisters have not turned away from the task that confronts them; they’ve trusted the One who made them for this purpose. They have washed his feet with their tears.
This has been a time of labour. Tears. Pain. It’s also been a time of new life, which always comes through blood. It has always been this way. Long ago, Eve waited for the redemption promised through a seed that would grow in her. Her tears watered the ground in sorrow before they were wiped away. Long ago Sarah waited for her son of promise. The years were wet with weeping before they were filled with laughter. Long ago the mother of our Saviour knew the tremor of hope and new life. But this promise came with the promise of pain that would pierce her heart. There were many long nights of weeping before her morning of joy. For now, part of the pain of new life is it still comes with the promise of death. Beauty brings pain. For now, the morning of joy follows the night of weeping.
But take heart. Because long ago, there was a woman bound in terror and darkness and death before our Saviour set her free. She was the one he chose to be the first to see his new life. But this was a different kind of new life: Resurrection life. It comes with the beautiful promise that all this stretching and growing and labour and pain will one day burst free from the cycle of life and death, beauty and sorrow. All who find life in this Saviour will one day awake to a new life which has no more darkness, no more pain, no more sorrow, no more death. So labour on, dear sisters. Labour with your eyes on the One who bought eternal life with his blood. Labour on knowing that his cry that it is finished secures our promise. Labour on knowing that your labour in the Lord will not be in vain.
If you’re reading this and find you want to be a part of this body of women, come join us! Our Bible study is always open. Our Facebook group is always open, and you can find it here facwomen2women. You can add your group to ours by accessing all the study material here women2women or you can join with a group by emailing Arlene Bergen. New life and growth is stretching, sometimes hard, and not always pretty. But these are the places true beauty grows.