The fallen sisters

I could talk about self-control, rightly so. I could talk about doing the right thing and what my conservative opinions of a Christian life should look like. I may even get a lot of encouragement from other well-meaning do-gooders. We could have our own club, totally separate from ‘the world’ and draw the shades to our heart while we enjoy how Christian we are. Meanwhile, we suffocate a fallen sister because our lives don’t offer hope, they offer moral standards. You know you’re sending the wrong message if one of your members leaves the group when they make a moral mistake. God set up grace so that He would never lose anyone. Set your life up that way, too. ~from the incomparable Serena Woods at Grace is for Sinners

I've known a thousand of them, women struggling. Women losing babies. Women saying goodbye to their dead children. Women struggling through pregnancy, or grief, loss, limitation. Women wounded deeply, ignoring their wounds and living in a twisted world. Women at odds with their families. Women deep in depression and plagued by anxiety.

Last week, in the hospital, I met so many fallen sisters, sisters who saw no reasonable excuse to continue their sad lives. Sisters who had overdosed, wounded their own bodies, carving out flesh for sins past, sins present, sins they dreamed their future filled with. I walked with them, as one of them.

How do we, the church, respond to fallen sisters? How to carry them through their grief, loss, pain, and dependence? How to help them see sunlight again? To feel the small and large joys that await each of us on this long walk we call life. How to let them know that life is not hopeless, nor are fallen sisters powerless or voiceless.

Like the glimmer of the yellow crocus petal, I feel myself in the world of fallen sisters, but rising for beauty. Beauty for ashes. Gladness for mourning. Praise instead of a faint spirit. (Isaiah 61:3)

Lord, help me walk back into the sunshine.