At some time in our lives, whether we are African American, Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian or whatever our ethnicity, we are all Hagar’s sister. When our backs are against the wall, when we feel abandoned, abased, banished or betrayed: we find ourselves in need of another woman’s help, (a sister, friend, neighbor, colleague, cousin, an aunt, someone related, or a total stranger). Sarah had a need and used her own tainted rationale to resolve a problem that created another dilemma. We like Hagar are in need of someone to “sister us”, to help us, to respect us, not exploit us.
As women we must pool our resources, our gifts, our talents and our energy, so that each of us has the opportunity to flourish. We all hope for opportunities to spread our wings, to embrace innovative, wholesome and exhilarating experiences, so we can broaden our horizons, instead of being bound by our past, our mistakes, our backgrounds, the expectations of others and societal norms. Most of us long for the opportunity to grow, to excel, to inspire, to nurture, and to take the hand of another sister as we fall, run, stumble, struggle, walk, waltz, dance and skip along life’s pathway. I had a conversation with one of my five sisters today. She shared her feelings about the story of two biblical sisters, Mary and Martha. She pointed out how she related very closely with Martha, as she remembered doing all the work while the other sister, like Mary, “who will remain anonymous,” set around soaking up the ambiance around her. Of course, she was reminded that Mary, “had chosen the good part” Luke 10:42 KJV. Some of us struggle with traditions, while others sit basking in the glory of God’s goodness. Sometimes it means making sacrifices in what we are called to do, to help another woman experience something unique, but equally relevant.
I recently met a remarkable lady, a friend of my youngest sister, whose space and time in my life was very short lived. Over a two day period, she drove me to and from the hospital to visit, another of my sisters. The brief encounter was explosive in the union of our faith, beliefs, values and passion for the things of God. We bonded instantly, as if we had known each other for years. Such powerful camaraderie is not discovered, but destined to be as we shared stories about our families, our past, present and future. We are related through a common bond, by life itself, having encountered similar trials and victories, longings and accomplishments, hopes and dreams. We knew each other because we possess core beliefs of most women’s existence and the similarities of our walk along the path of life.
We might consider visions and missions that would take seriously the quality of our relationships with the women in our lives. We are encouraged to exercise wisdom, to assess the merits and needs of each relationship and to share what is necessary to sustain each other, in the appropriate manner, at the appointed time. I have a young friend, whom I have known for many years. Our bond remains strong even though time and geographical distance have rendered physical separation. Some years ago, she invited me to accompany her to a program at our church. I was unaware upon accepting the invitation, that she would be one of several speakers. As she spoke about life experiences, and the journey that she traveled to reach the present point in her life, to my surprise, she described our bond in terms of a Naomi and Ruth relationship. I sat spellbound and next to tears to even fathom the idea that anyone could ever perceive me in such a manner. Ruth learned from Naomi, the wisdom of exercising the freedom of making choices and adhering to godly counsel that resulted in bringing glory to Ruth’s life and all of mankind. Often, we are oblivious to the influence we may have on the lives our sisters, which means we should proceed with prayer and care.
During trying times, we are often just a sister away from our healing, our restoration, and our revival. We need a sister, who will see our level of destitution or greatest success, our jagged image or smooth edges, of what could be their own story, their own defeat, their own victory, their own life. Some of us hope for a sister and others of us have a sister, or sisters who extend genuine mercy and explosive grace, not episodic, moody, or conditional acceptance, but love that is steadfast, consistent and free.
To care passionately about the quality of another woman’s life, to respect each other’s choices, to adhere to Christian guidance of love and support, and to allow for each other’s differences, is the epitome of maturity in womanhood and sisterhood. This could mean exercising love and compassion, to care deeply without enabling and to love sincerely without stifling growth. Ultimately it may mean, accepting that love, loss of love, faith and doubt, bondage and freedom, form a full circle that makes us whole, makes us aware, makes us close and makes us sisters.