Jen Wilkin states that women are “essential and indispensable to the mission of the church.” Her words certainly ring powerfully true for planting wives, as her full partnership is critical. She is a vital leader and missionary. She often shares the entrepreneurial spirit of her husband and shoulders tremendous responsibilities at home, on the job and in the church. She truly is “essential and indispensable” in the life of a church plant.
While planting wives pour generously into the health and well-being of those around her, she simultaneously may be neglecting her own well-being and soul care.
There is a tendency for isolation among planting wives — and her reasons are valid. She has no margin, exhaustion is always lurking, and she struggles to find the relational energy it takes to build community.
Choosing isolation may seem expedient, noble or even a preference, but it is dangerous. Remaining disconnected does far more than make us feel alone. It actually weakens us and leaves us exposed to multiplied temptations. We are vulnerable.
“Solitude is a gift from God. Isolation is a tool of the enemy.” Carey Niewhof
Just like a lion who tends to get their prey into isolation to devour them, Satan has similar tactic. Don’t be naïve. 1 Peter 5:8’s sobering warning says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Planting wives, I urgently implore you: resist isolation. You really are better together, going alone does not end well.
THE BENEFITS OF BEING TOGETHER
Locking arms in life and ministry as sisters offers you:
Few things are more isolating than being misunderstood. Planting is a unique challenge, and few understand its demands. Hurt and frustration are easily borne when wives are met with unhelpful, uninformed perspective on their calling and world. When others understand the sacrifice, uncertainty and constant battle against discouragement, it is a gift to a weary, burdened heart.
Many planting families find themselves far from home. When demands or crises arise that may require helping hands, support is hard to find. The painful loss of nearby family shrinks as a new loving, caring community is built. Yet, it cannot be built without intentionality and effort. The Bible reminds us — a sister is born for adversity.
Women sharpen women. What a rich resource of wisdom, experience, expertise and shared passion from women in your own city. Peer-to-peer learning is a rich outcome when women connect and collaborate. Tremendous synergy is created when female leaders living on gospel mission sharpen one another — they become a mighty spiritual force.
4. Laughter and Fun
Women carry complex, heavy loads in their daily lives. Perhaps they are prone to fall into a trap of taking themselves too seriously. Their hearts need laughter and fun. When wives gather, I love watching laughter wash over them, it brings healing into their lives. It just takes a few short moments for the initial awkwardness to fade and laughter to fill the room. They leave a little lighter with a little more gas in the tank. “A joyful heart is good medicine,” (Proverbs 17:22).
SISTERHOOD IS ULTIMATELY ABOUT THE MISSION
Sisterhood really isn’t optional — it’s a necessity.
Sisterhood provides women with an absolutely necessary ally. Ally originates from the Latin word alligare, meaning “to bind to,” like nations who are allies in wartime — they bind together for the sake of the mission and to protect one another. Why do nations become allies? They recognize it is a necessity because they understand they are better together for the sake of the mission.
Sisterhood ultimately is about the mission of the hope of the gospel. When your foot first hit the soil of San Diego, Portland or Kansas City, your purpose was to demonstrate the heart of God and share the reality of the gospel. Other women in your city share those deep longings and calling. When women “bind together” as allies they are infinitely stronger. Collectively, they become a mighty spiritual force.
The great commission is a collective calling. It was given to the ultimate community — the Church. We don’t just need each other, in actuality it’s more than that. Hannah Anderson wisely said,
“God intentionally sets mission beyond us in order to require us to work together, calling us out of isolation into dependence.”
Few of us want to be dependent and yet Hannah is reminding us the mission of the gospel is beyond us—it demands we lock arms for the sake of the mission.
Can the gospel be accelerated when women truly bind together as allies on the same mission? It most certainly can! Don’t underestimate the mighty spiritual force of a group of women locking arms passionately and collectively for the sake of the gospel and the glory of God.
Sisters, we are better together.
Verses to Pray:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10: 24-25
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6
Published October 29, 2020