Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The New Church Lady




Photo Source - Joslyn Blair

Updated February 6, 2014

Beautiful friends,

I wanted to thank you all for your extraordinary amounts of support and kindness with the post.

He gets every ounce of glory and honor and credit. 

I wrote this post with the same heart. Just as I've written here for the last six years.

For some reason, this post resonated with you...

I am amazed by Him. And by each of you. 

Thank you for sharing His words with the women in your life.

I am incredibly humbled and grateful.

I wrote this post with my normal readership in mind. 

I had no idea so many new people would read and comment.

I want to try and bring understanding where I can.

I am overwhelmed at the thought of our heavenly Father speaking to the hearts of His daughters through any words found on these pages. 

Thank you for your love, support and encouragement friends. 

I wanted to ask that you read the entire post before you comment.  I would also like to ask you to please be kind when you leave a comment. This is an incredibly loving, supportive and Christ centered community of women. You will catch that if you visit here and read for very long. 

These posts are pieces of my personal testimony. They are experiences that I have lived through. And have helped shape and mold me. Like so many of you, I too am grateful that God allowed me to go through the years of really hard things. Compassion was born in my heart because of those experiences. Especially for the broken hearted and for those who fear that God does not love them, or
worse, that He is angry with them.

This particular testimony is a good 22 or so years old. But there is still life on it.
Because this. This condemning and shaming and excluding and judging is still going on today.

Please remember that 22 years ago there was not a place for single mothers in the church.

You were either married or single. There was no divorce care. Grief recovery. Single mothers unite or whatever. There were two categories. Married and single.

Additionally, single mothers wore the scarlet letter on their chest. It was a rare thing.

Unwed 18 year old teen mamas didn't exist.

It was downright scandalous. Especially in the heart of the bible belt.

This post is not about every church in America. This is about my personal experience at that time in my life and how because of the way I was treated, coupled with years of heartache, I walked away for nearly a decade. I didn't walk away from my faith. I didn't have any faith at all at that point. I walked away from the church who misrepresented God's heart for me.

And this is still happening today.

No one can argue with that.

I agree with those of you who commented that you do not attend church for people- or to have people meet your needs. You go to church each Sunday to commune with God.

Me too.

But when you are broken down and beat up and heartbroken and lovesick and can't keep the lights on and when you are wondering if there really is a God because your life has been so painful it feels like there isn't one and if there is- He certainly doesn't love you. When it hurts to breathe and you do not know how on earth you are going to get yourself out of the mess you are in or how you are going to make ends meet or how you going to make it until payday.....you need someone to lead you in love and kindness right into the arms of a loving heavenly father.

Thankfully, we belong to an incredible church here and I'm not sure I have ever witnessed the love of the Father, amazing worship, the truth of the word and beautiful community in one place before.

It has been a healing balm to my soul- even all of these years later.

God demonstrates His love for His people through His people.

And if people are intentionally hurting the already broken hearted- sometimes, they cannot find Him.

They need to be led to Christ in love.

Not shamed and condemned and shouted down with scriptures.

They should want what we have and we should offer it in a way in which they can receive it.

I love God's word.

And I spend a lot of time encouraging other women with the truth and love and hope and goodness and mercy and grace that is found within it.

It is living and breathing. It brings life.

It will transform us.

It will draw us closer to Him.

But someone has to present it in love and gentleness. Otherwise it may fall on deaf ears.

I understand fully that there are amazing women who have gone before us and loved God's people and demonstrated the scriptures with such salt and light and fragrance that people would do anything to know the Jesus they love so much.

I am thankful for those women.

For those of you who mentioned that women do not need another "list" of what they should do or be, etc. I understand that. This is not a "to do" list.

That part of the post is simply referencing the character of Christ and may come as a surprise to some who commented but yes, it is actually biblical!

Yes. God loves us no matter what. He does.

This is not a list to try and earn God's love and to try and get into His good graces...these are traits that I have seen shifting in the hearts of women who want to be known for following Jesus.

They demonstrate the scriptures with the character of Christ.

I want what they have.

I want to love like that. I want to forgive like that. I want to place a high value on God's people and take off a mountain of expectations and just simply love them.

These traits are not about me. They are traits that I hope to aspire to.

They are the ways in which I long to love His people....


*************************The original post follows************************


We had a group discussion with some church friends recently and this question was presented..

Do you all feel that Christians are known more for what they stand against or what they stand for?

Everyone agreed that for the most part- Christians are known for what they stand against.

As someone who has lived well over half of her life scared to death of Christians and especially the infamous "church lady" -  I remember vividly what it was like to be unchurched and unsaved and un- everything.

Like it was yesterday.

I wanted nothing to do with Christianity and the church and their Jesus.

And I had a long list of reasons but they made it abundantly clear that there was a series of events I 
had to go through before He would ever be mine.

It seemed as though I was living in the land of "you have sinned and you are going to burn in hell" - where I belonged mind you, and all of the church ladies were living life high on the hog by way of the front row and never having sex before their wedding night.

I can remember pulling into church parking lots again and again and sitting there bawling my eyes out as I watched married couple after married couple walk inside the holy doors of we have it all together -sorry about your luck.

I never had the courage to actually go inside.

Then finally, I can remember it taking everything I had to walk in those dreaded doors one Sunday morning with my baby girl in my arms. I was an unwed single mama raising a baby on about $6.00 an hour and no support of any kind. I left the trailer that morning and looked at the gift that I didn't deserve and told her we were going to give this Jesus a try. I cried the entire way there and wondered if I looked nice enough, good enough, clean enough, churchy-enough.

I wondered if all of the perfect people would be able to see me past the missing wedding ring and the beautiful baby girl on my hip.

I wondered if they would embrace me. Accept me. Allow me in- in spite of my circumstances and in spite of my mistakes.

I'm sorry to share that I walked into a sea of judgement and condemnation during that season of my life. 

And unfortunately it caused me to leave the church for nearly a decade.

Because when you are struggling with the lie that is "there is no way that a holy God could love a girl like me." And you are hanging on by a thread because life has just been too much....

Every moment counts.

The way you are received and welcomed or not.

The way the caregivers receive your child with kindness or not.

The way a seat is made available for you or not.

The way you are looked down upon, questioned or interrogated by church members or hopefully not.

The way someone took the time to speak with you or not.

The way you are shamed and condemned or accepted and loved.

All of those things and so much more are some of the reasons that people will give church and ultimately Jesus another chance.

But one of the biggest reasons I walked away was this.  I didn't want what they had.

They made it loud and clear to me what they were against.

But they failed to demonstrate what they were for.

I didn't want to be judgmental and critical and look down my nose at folks.

I didn't want to spend my time pointing out other peoples sin and making them feel worse than and less than the thousand ways they already felt like a failure.

I've spent lots of time and lots of years with unsaved folks. 

I've spent lots of time over the years listening to the hearts of the brokenhearted and the downcast and the overlooked and the shamed and those who have been cast aside by society.

And I've listened.

And learned so much.

Mainly I've learned what I want to stand for.

I believe that God is raising up a new "church lady" in this generation.

The following words are beautiful truths that I have seen shifting in the hearts of women who want to be known for following Jesus.

She will truly have His heart and His eyes to see sons and daughters when she looks at His people.

She will be a doer of the word and not a hearer only.

She will refuse to judge and condemn and do her best to love people back to wholeness.

She will be a fountain of mercy and grace and one who will breathe life back into dry bones.

She will know that it is the love of God that breaks every yoke.

She will be a living epistle of love and humility and will demonstrate the scriptures with kindness and gentleness and compassion.  

She will give credit where credit is due.

She will point others to Him. She will give Him all the glory. All of the honor. All of the credit.

She will understand fully- the truth that is this. If it were not for the grace of God- there go I.

She will reach to the back row and encourage and minister to the hearts of the women who can't get past the grief and sorrow of their own life. 

She will look past circumstances and situations and appearances that look different than her own to see daughters of the living God who have yet to discover their worth.

The new church lady is looking for opportunities to be a blessing- instead of looking for her own opportunities.

The new church lady knows that the only way up is down. She knows that "humility isn't thinking less of yourself but it is thinking of yourself less."

Graciousness is her hallmark. 

Gratitude is her beauty treatment.

She is a woman of her word.

She is a worshipper. In spirit and in truth.

She is a prayer warrior and holds trust from others as sacred

She is supportive of others and is not an opportunist.

She understands that to become the Proverbs 31 woman- you can't skip chapters 1-30.

She is fully aware of her own shortcomings and seeks Him daily for His love and guidance.

She recognizes hopelessness and worthlessness in others and speaks life.

She is an excellent listener. She listens with her head and her heart. She hears what is not being said.

She is a lifter. An encourager. A hope giver. 

She forgives- fully. 

She knows that the same grace that was made available to her- is also available to everyone else.

She does not gossip. She does not constantly brag or boast. She speaks blessing.

She sees the best. Believes the best. Hopes the best.

She places a high value on God's people.

She invests in the greatest investment in the world.

His people.

She is known for what she stands for.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, good fruit, impartial and sincere.  ~ James 3:17


185 comments:

Love Being A Nonny said...

She is known for what she stands for.....wow. thank you.

{A*very} Blessed Home said...

Such a beautiful and Spirit filled post! Sibi, I just love you! I love the way in which you cut through all of the red tape and cast out lies and speak truth all to God's glory. I love how God shines through you with such a brilliance that it leaves those who witness with tears flowing, awe struck and inspired with the knowledge that absolutely, yes, God is speaking directly through your words to the hearts of all who are willing to accept and hear the gift of love and acceptance and hope that he gives freely. Thank you for allowing God's light to shine through you!

Deborah said...

That's the kind of church I want to belong to and that's the "church lady" I want to meet and be. Thank you Sibi.

Charity said...

I love that church lady!!!! Love you friend!

Lissa said...

oh sweet beautiful sibi!! when I read this I kept thinking of that song... 'there's an army rising up!" An army of love. An army of doers, and army of encouragers. I'm so thankful for you. you bless my socks!

LLH Designs said...

I know this girl! I KNOW HER! This woman is YOU! Do you see her? Do you see who you really are?!?! He does. And so do I! xoxo

journeyingwithhim said...

This was beautiful! A friend passed on this entry to me and I immediately had to send it on to some friends. This is the cry of my heart! Lovely!

Mona's Madness said...

Beautiful and very enlightening! Thank you for sharing this. It gives a lot of us a need for searching our hearts.

Beverly Dillow said...

I love your post! Such an encouragement and reminder to the women of the church! Thank you! I, too, hope to be known for what I stand for!
Beverly

Creations By Cindy said...

What a total blessing this morning to read this! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

Tamara South said...

This was beautiful. Thank you for this it brought me to a place I was sometime ago.

Sibi said...

You are one of the most incredible church ladies I have ever met Nonny! I love and adore you!! xoxo

Sibi said...

A*very blessed home...

I was such an honor to finally meet you in person at The Pearl Event!

You are the same beautiful soul in person!

I cannot thank you enough for your incredible words of love, support and encouragement. It breathes LIFE!

I am word person and your words always bring me to tears and make my heart sing all at the same time.

Thank you for your love and friendship beautiful friend. Means so so much. xo

Sibi said...

Deborah!

Yes! Me too! I want to meet and be her as well!

I am thankful that He is teaching me day by day how to become the new church lady!

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your sweet words! xo

Sibi said...

Charity!

Me too! You are the new church lady sweet friend!

Love you so...

Sibi said...


Lissa,

You bless me too! Heaps and heaps of God's goodness and love and mercy and grace pour out of you every, single time you write.

You are such an encourager to so many hearts!!!

So thankful for you and for our friendship. xo

Sibi said...

LLH~

Thank you so much for life giving comments that speak life!!!

I don't see it but I know that I long to have the qualities of the new church lady. I am grateful that He is stripping away the old and pouring out the new and that He is teaching me day by day!

I am so grateful for you and for our friendship!!! Who would have thought?? I cherish our coffee and chickens prayer meeting mornings. Love you. xo

Sibi said...


journeyingwithhim~

Thank you so much. It is all Him. Truly. I am so thankful someone shared it with you and you were blessed by it! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!!! Means so much!

Sibi said...

Mona ~

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment with such kind words today! Means so so much to me.

He is such a good teacher isn't He?

Just Ask Beth said...

love on my friend paige today.. her heart is heavy!!

cj said...

Thank you for this amazing piece of art! And thank you for how you ended it with one of my very favorite verses, one that I was compelled to memorize a few years ago. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I plan to share this.

LaTracey Copeland said...

Perfect! My brother in Christ referred you to me. Let's connect

jenn said...

I have to say I don't usually comment on these but I have one here. Here it goes!! I feel your pain. I haven't raised children on my own thank God. But I have been at those steps with tears yerning to be held by this Jesus they spoke of. The people that were supposed to love us. I stopped going too because of the judgments that are felt or told. I prayed one day to God and asked him to show his true self not this man made god that is preached in these buildings they call church! I found him! He is amazing! I believe we
are here to show these "Christians" the true God and the True Jesus! Thank you! Thank you for sharing so that others know that the Jesus they preach is not the Jesus these people are interpenetrating from the bible

Child of God said...

This is a very powerful post. Thank you. I am so sorry about your experience with a judgmental church. Had you come to my church, I might have gotten to rock your sweet baby. I'm not the normal church lady, maybe, but my church calls me the baby lady! I also write Christian fiction with hopefully real characters, some Christian, some seeking, who I try to make live up to what you wrote. If you read, look for my novels at ledellwalters.com and leave me a note if you think I missed my mark. Have a nice day.

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

What a great post. So glad
I stopped by today

Libby Rosengren said...

This is excellent! Yes to all of this! I want to be this kind of "church lady". This post needs to be read everywhere.

residentgeek said...

thank you for this.. it touched my heart.. and I am a pastor.. God Bless You!

Unknown said...

Than You for your incredible post! I was so touched and my♡♡cry, God help me be "that church lady!"

Lisa Chambers said...

She speaks blessing....
Wow. You just spoke a blessing to me. Thank you :)

Erica Nuno said...

Perfect! I wanna be the new church lady. Wearing jeans and t's, giving love and grace. :-)

Ann Sherrod said...

This is truly the best thing about women; when we love with the love of God, we see HIS Glory in all we say and do and we SHARE! Here's to being the best God has for us, my sisters!!!!

cliff said...

I know of a small handful of these new church ladies who truly have a daily walk as Proverbs 31 woman. One, shared her life for years with me so I heard the heart listening, and the voice lifting others, mostly women and she Poured herself and her Jesus into rejected ones of the church of brick, mortar and judgment 10 hours a day, sometimes more hours than ten. I'd never SEEN such an example as who worked before me as a mature, seeking to restore,filled with unconditional Love as I witnessed her put forth. I KNOW her, she goes out and Seeks those who are not found in mortar churches and she heals everything she puts her hand to that wants it. This one walks now, in Utah, reaching out, seeking, restoring, encouraging, drawing in, as God has Cloaked her and she walks among those lost from being able to enter through church doors and cry, waiting in parking lots piled deep in shame and pain. God finds those children and directs them to phone her under pretext of other reasons and they find her then, and hear the voice of pure non judgmental love which is Christ, this country over. She purposes her dedicated time of 'Watch' each day when she's restored, herself, and able to pour into others, she begins, and God begins the streaming in to her of those who need His love, healing, restoration for another 10 straight hours doing the work He directs for those, seeking. After 30 yrs continuous, they still seek Him, through her. She only gives them what Christ tells her to say to each one, specifically for each one, her words are HIS. It's amazing to witness, these last 4 yrs.

Margaret Martin said...

I was raised in one of those judgemental churches. For years I have struggled with the ''walk'' of a Christian woman. The scars I carry cannot be seen with the naked eye. There are many like me who still today struggle with this judgemental, stuck up spirit that is felt at some churches today. It's hard to get past these hipocrits to get to the altar to get to God. Many can't . Some do. I did. But not in that church. I know a lot of people that won't go to church now because of those judgemental, busybodies that destroy everything God is trying to build up. You might detect a tad of bitterness here, I watched many good people who earnestly wanted to live for God be drove out of the church by these wonderful Christians

Nina B said...

Amazing post.
www.wearflowersinyourhair.com

Jamie Soen Leonhard said...

You have a powerful way with words andI thank you for it.

Stepping out of the cliche of Church lady means we have to step out of our cliche of seeing God, so we can become the new church women. Ironically, the world has done so in a poor shadow in feminism. Instead of rising up and creating a God driven feminism, we have stood against the world's imitation.

Standing against, like you say, means we have isolated ourselves, both from our own gender, as well as men, emasculating them in the process. Pink and lace and all sugar and spice are not bad, but have been used as a horrible reaction against feminism, and now a post feminist world.

So we as women have to step out of the pink and lace and become women of strength and grace and truth.

Sometimes this means a quiet, simple strong life, lived in extraordinary circumstances, like my mother in law in Africa. She was a homemaker, but in the jungle. She exhibited strength and grace,even when snakes attacked their home.

Thank you for talking about this, however, I feel you can step even more outside some cliches. If you can't physically do so (travel, etc) look for examples. Literature and biographies are powerful.

I hope we can continue to dialogue. Let's serve the King for the Kingdom together.

Lou Ann Keiser said...

Yes! Yes! YES! I am going to share this.

KBPotter said...

This is such a powerful post! Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you!

Debbie Crawford said...

Yes, I want to be that church lady!

Sharon B said...

I cried through the entire post. I have experienced the stares and judgement of the church ladies. And in great sorrow I probably have been one...

But lately I've wanted to post a blog title, "I'm no longer a Christian" not because I have lost my faith, but because I do not want to be know for what I am against.... You've expressed my hearts desire.

Thank you sweet sister in Christ.

nonnie said...

Oh, Sibi, you have reminded me of such an important truth. May we all strive to be the Prov. 31 'church lady' with open arms to whomever needs Jesus!

Love you and thank you for the ways you show us how to be what God has called us to be.

Jessica Quinn said...

Thank you so much for this!! I was the girl who was always in church, saved at the age of seven, known as the good girl in my family....but I am human and I am not perfect. I became an unwed teenage mother during my junior year of high school. Talk about shock factor. Some members of my church lifted me up and loved me through the situation while others demonized me. I left the church for a while, but I never left Jesus. I finally decided to show face in church again, the same church that kicked me out of the youth group, but praised the "good" girls who were popping the morning after pill each weekend. I came back unashamed. My actions were shameful, but God had blessed me with this beautiful baby boy for a reason and I wasn't about to waste my life not praising Him for his gift. My words to my family were this, "I go to church for my God, not for the people. If they want to talk, let them. God knows my heart and this is where He wants me."
I am now a member at an incredible new church where we are all open about our imperfections and we try our hardest to lift one another up in tough times and hold one another accountable. That is what church is for...not for the ones who think they are perfect, but for the ones who are broken and in need of a Savior.

Amy Tilson said...

Beautiful!! This is the "church lady" I want to be. I'm sure I haven't been, but that doesn't keep me from changing. It also doesn't mean I'm this lady just at church either. Thank you.

Alicia Manautou said...

Wow! What an amazing post! Thank you so much for sharing. Do you mind if I use your post - giving you credit and including your link - on my blog. I would love to share this with my readers as a guest blog post.

Here's my blog in case you want to check it out first.

www.thatstillsmallvoice.com

Janna Anna said...

Love this so much I'm printing it off to remind me of how much it matters to stand for love!! Love truly does cover a multitude of sins. Thank you so much for reminding me how to "be nice and kind" to others and thinking of myself less often.

Manu said...

Thank you. May I have your permission to publish this in our church bulletin?

Judy Muir said...

One of the most haunting phrases in the Bible to me is 'no man careth for my soul'. I'm not sure where it is found but there is a song that goes 'No one careth for my soul.....thus cry the millions' taken from that scripture. I have a ministry of Soul Care because I have to care for the souls of those Christ died for because HE careth for me! Thanks for the post!

Traci said...

Awesome

adnilorotrot said...

I am a divorced single mom... I understand where you are coming from...although I have not experienced exactly what you have. I think what those who look at Christians don't realize is that Christians are just forgiven sinners... and are a work in progress. Nevertheless, we MUST ask Christ to change us and we must be willing to act in faith and obedience.
If you were to come into our church as you did back then, I would like to think you would be welcomed and invited to someone's home for lunch. I am almost positive that would happen. But this is after years of the Lord's grace and mercy.
You are so right about the kind of church lady you are striving to be...so am I. You worded it so well and I appreciated the article very much. You are a trophy to the Lord and press on, dear sister!

Iiona said...

I truly enjoyed this post and I too have been there... It was myself and my son. It was great to finally find a church home that we felt was home.

conisong said...

Thank you for putting it so succinctly. It is my desire to be THAT church lady. I am grateful for the Christ followers who accepted me and welcomed me into the family of God. I am also grateful to the church people who demonstrate for me what I do not want to be like. I am grateful that God never said, "go get your act together and come back when you have quit smoking and drinking and sleeping around." If He did, I may never be here. Thank you again for being transparent in your writing.

Kim said...

Powerfully and beautifully said! Thanks for the insight.

Julie Gaglione said...

I am so blessed to have met you in the hair aisle at Target! So much for me has changed since, and you have been one of my shepherds whether you know it or not!

Shell said...

This made me cry this morning. It makes me so sad that you were not received as you should have been that first time but mostly it made me think about a lot of things and about who I am and what kind of "church lady" I want to be. Thank you!

Lady Of Virtue said...

I want to be this church lady!!! thank you for the encouraging and exhorting words.

Kimberly Cuilla said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful post! This is everything that I pray God will change me into! I have so far to go. I can understand not all, but a little of what you faced as I am now a divorced single mom, going through some rough times. It is tough to face so many Christians who would rather judge than love me. I am so thankful for my loving Creator who forgives my every failing and changes me more and more to reflect Himself! I want so much for His love to shine through me to the broken and hurting!

Alice W. Gold said...

So beautiful. Thank you for sharing. So poignant.

bethannchiles.com said...

Beautiful. Thank you for your wonderful and wise words. We all all striving --aren't we? She is known for what she stands for. Simply beautiful. Sharing. This needs to be shared a lot.

Vicky Pearce said...

Thank you for saying words that are in my heart. Being a church lady that steps out of the church and into the world to show Gods Love is an astounding accomplishment for a woman to spend her life striving for. Thank you for giving me some "church" on a Friday afternoon.

Holly Doss said...

This is beautiful. Wow. It brought tears to my eyes. I need to be the right church lady. Wow. What a great post.

Pam said...

Wow. Just wow.

I just saw your post on FB! I haven't been on there as much, as I have been trying to avoid, slash, deal with trying not to compare myself to others these last few months and it seems I always walk away mildly depressed after awhile on there.

We just relocated to Austin, Texas, and as God planned we were saved by exactly what you such so eloquently described. I, a broken down cradle Catholic, who was looking for a better relationship with Christ and my husband, a man looking to lead his family and become a better person while not knowing which way to turn. I was you! I felt Thinking I wasn't wearing the right clothes, didn't have the right "look" of someone who knew the Bible or walked the walk with God. Seriously, what does that look like anyway? By the grace of God we were welcomed and loved on and shown there is a way out of darkness and we are not meant to walk through life alone. You have captured all my feelings and thoughts on this subject and what a "real Christian" a new Church Lady looks like. Thank you, thank you , thank you. I wish i could reach out an hug you.
What a blessing you have been to me today, just know that!

Debbie Dillon said...

What an amazing post and a beautiful blog. Thank you so much for sharing!

Aunie said...

Thank you SO MUCH! Before I became a Christian, I would also cry and cry and cry before and even during church because I didn't feel accepted. Thank you so much for your honesty and for BLESSING us with this raw truth and perspective. You are sharing Him to so many. Thank you!

meagon gaspar said...

This reminded me of Anne Graham Lotz's book "Wounded by GOD'S People",and the song "YOU invite me in" by Meredith Andrews or Natalie Grant.The LORD has been trying to get me to believe in HIS grace for the longest time.Once through an interpretation of tongues HE said that when we fail HIM,HE doesn't push us away (1 John 1:9) and if we open up our hearts unto HIM;HE will heal us and cleanse us.HE is the lifter of our heads and HE doesn't want to tear us down.

The Foster Family said...

Wonderful post!

Lisa said...

wonderful post . . .love love love

Mimi said...

Yeah, that's the church lady I want to be!

Sharon said...

What a beautiful post full of grace and truth, just as the new church lady should be! Thank you!

gina haggard said...

This church lady was my grandmother-in-law Edythe, who led me to God with her incredible gentleness, kindness, and love.

Ashes said...

Oh hey. I like you, we should be friends. lol
Seriously though, thanks for putting this out on the internet where I can send the link to people. I get a little too passionate and tongue tied with this particular subject. So, thank you.
I totally cried by the way.

Sarasmiles said...

So amazing and beautiful! Can I have your permission to print this please? I would really love to share it with my women's bible study?

paige said...

such beautiful powerful words!! i say that every time!!! i love to see how HE speaks through you my friend!!
amen & amen & amen!!
love you!

Renae Moore said...

Sibi,
I love this post. You are such a gifted woman and the Lord has blessed you with conveying His heart through you. I am a mentor at my church here in Atlanta to moms of young children. I am going to send this post to all of the mentors because I know we all want to be the 'new church lady'!
Blessings to you Sweet One.

tinahdee said...

the coolest thing is, you don't have to go there, to get Jesus. In other words, you don't have to be a church lady, to be part of His church.

jsully said...

Wow! This is so my heart only I was one of the others for many years. My "Christian" husband left me for another woman In the church three years ago. Since, I've been in a spiral downward...roller coaster of emotions and not getting why God allowed this to happen. During that three years, I was the furthest thing from the " church lady". I met a man, an alcoholic, we moved in together and I took him drinking in bar after bar. I even started smoking cigs again...hadn't done that for 30 years. I was able to listen to countless people say similar things I'm sure you heard. I would try to witness to them and tell them Jesus loved them...thank God a seed was planted and His word never returns void. I'm so thankful The Lord never leaves us and the Holy Spirit convicted me ever so gently. Six months ago or so, I came back to the church. I'm sad to say, it's still the same in many ways except I see it differently now. I saw it as the broken porcelain china doll instead of the old me...slowly, but surely, Jesus has put the pieces back together and I now know what it is I need to do and where I belong. I can only hope everyone sees me as "THE NEW CHURCH LADY". I am a new person...totally different by the grace of God. Thank you for sharing this. Your an amazing lady. God bless you and yours.

Linda Clark said...

Thank you for sharing such beautiful spirited words. God is amazing! My goal is to have the qualities of the new church lady. To stand for what I am for and not what I'm against! What a wonderful goal! God loves us and uses us to further his Kingdom and I give him all the glory! Thank you! I'm glad someone shared you with me! God Bless!

LLH Designs said...

I just have to say it again, with the authority given to me in Jesus' name: YOU ARE THIS NEW CHURCH LADY! Smiling big as I say it! This is how His eyes see you. This is who you are. This is how I see you when I look at you through His eyes. This IS you. It's who you've become through your story. It's who God has made you through your suffering. This story of yours, and this new creation that He has fashioned...this is how others will see Him more clearly! BEAUTIFUL!!! xoxo

Grassfrog Technologies said...

Wonderful article, really resonated with me, as a single mom who knows exactly where you are coming from. Thank you for sharing!

Tatyana said...

I'm thankful that all my life I have gone to church and have never felt judged. I have spent time in California and North Carolina and Minnesota and even when I was the new one, through the bad and the good, I was always welcomed with love.

Molly Mable said...

This brought tears to my eyes....I will share this with the Sunday School class tomorrow....Thank you and may God continue to bless and use you for His glory! Kathy

Brittany said...

Such an amazing and inspiring post! I love this! I shared it on my blog's FB page at https://www.facebook.com/17hourdays. Can't wait to read more. Thank you!

VJ Gay said...

I think this is my way of thinking too...there are so many of both.. you do have to get to a place where you aren't looking for a reason not to go but instead looking for Jesus. Men and women at always going to blow it. I just had to decide I want him and realize I too need His grace... I think the people who judge the most don't actually think they have it all together.. they are the most miserable and shame filled. They are just trying to get someone to say w/o look at what u stand for! When I hit that part in my walk where I felt like I should have had it all together in Christ and didn't I really tried to make sure I was better than most. Which added to my own shame condemnation and guilt.. it took years for Jesus to remind me He loves me and He didn't expect me to be perfect but to let Him work through me in His love. Lets not even get started on the mom vs mom thing and that size up game. Ugh. Follow Him ladies. Let Him love you and you love others. You live a holy life and be a light. Encourage, love, disciple in love! :-)

Jolene Underwood said...

"The following words are beautiful truths that I have seen shifting in the hearts of women who want to be known for following Jesus." - I see this too and it makes my heart sing. Amen. Amen. Amen.

Your post is a beautiful capture of the women I pray that many will be amd will exemplify to others around them and to the younger generations. They are women who have a beauty and a strength beyond compare, because it is found in Him.

Alexia Curtis said...

I love this! When I read this, it made me feel like I was back in children's church with the feelings of happiness and inspiration I got! This is an amazing post.

Melanie said...

Truth! I've been the single Mom that is judged & not spoken to. Even tried introducing myself to some new deacon's wives to have one look at me strange & refuse to speak back and another who said she couldn't shake my hand because she was sick. They were standing in a receiving line because their husbands had just made deacon. They had just had the requirements of a deacon's wife read to them. I never want another person to be treated like that!!! Everyone is worthy to God!

Cyndee Ownbey said...

What a beautiful post. Grace. Grace. Grace. If only we would freely give that which we long for and that which has been given to us thru Jesus on the cross. Great challenge for all women of the church!

pressedforcash said...

Wow. Going to print this out and post it somewhere to see every day.

Reading the first of that post made me want to hug that mother and her child and welcome them to sit on my pew! Also made me wonder about how many times someone felt like that in the church I attend.

Lovely post!

khartell1229 said...

thank you. may the Lord of all creation cause our hearts to break for those things which break His own.

The Moore Family said...

I LOVE THIS!! I made a printable that I could place in my study Bible.

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/75857574947888136/

dbrew said...

"Christian" means follower of Christ, so I would hope you would not use that blog title to make your point. Maybe better would be "I am no longer one of those Christians". Whenever we stand for something, we are also labeled as standing against something else and visa-versa. I think that your idea is good. We need to change the way people look at Christians, not as the mean spirited people that are spoken of in many news media reports but people that have learned of God's righteousness through His love. It cannot be one sided. God is holy and righteous and demans that of us to come to Him but thankfully He provided the way to do that through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection. I hope you do your blog and that it is successful in changing the perception of many people. May God bless your efforts!

Marian Brooks said...

Powerfully said...eloquently spoken! So inspiring...thank you!

Cherry said...

Oh my! I am so very very blessed! My four aunts and my mamaw ALL were this new church lady, all of my life. Because of them I saw the love of Christ, and because of their example, I came to know and love Him. Thank you God.

Cherry said...

To God be the glory! My four aunts and my Mamaw were all this "new church lady" when I was growing up. I saw Christ living in them, and because of their example I came to know and love Him myself.

Pamela (His maidservant) said...

I found this post to be so spiritually powerful and amazing!!
So much truth and so paints the picture my soul longs to mirror. I too had to post it on FB to share with the world. God bless!!

mom2themonkeys said...

I have been on the side of being judged and it is taught me that who I want to be is this lady. I pray that the Holy Spirit is forever convicting me when I get to even slightly thinking I have arrived because I HAVE NOT!!!!!!! I long to be a grace-giver, an encourager and to reflect the amazing unconditional love that has been lavished on me by a Savior who has NEVER given up on me. This is beautifully written.

itisallaboutfaithblog said...

Wonderful blog. Thank you for writing this!! God bless your ministry!

Gaby said...

Hi, Sibi. A friend of mine shared this on FB and I wanted to leave you a note. Reading the comments above me it makes me a little nervous to be a voice of slight dissent so I do hope you and your readers can read between the lines that I'm just trying to voice a different view of what you wrote, not trying to be contrary or difficult...I liked your post. It is well-written and it shows a heart that loves God and his people. I liked the essence of it and I understand what you mean but it concerns me that sometimes posts like this one give Christian women one more thing to feel guilty about: "I'm not like that so I must be a bad Christian" I think we all should strive to be more like that each day, with God's help, but the woman described here does not exist, just like the Proverbs 31 woman does not exist because to be ALL that and to do ALL that ALL the time is pretty near impossible. I know you probably didn't mean that we are to be and to do all that all the time. I know you are meaning to encourage and to challenge but I've seen too many women beat themselves up in guilt for not being the perfect mom/wife/friend/Christian/Proverbs 31 woman and I'm afraid lists like this may contribute to these feelings. I worry that people see Christianity as something they have to "do" or "become" and forget that the only way to be anything of what you talk about is to have a personal, living relationship with Jesus. I don't know if that makes sense. We are called to love God and love each other madly. Ideally everything else should follow, including many of the characteristics of the woman you wrote about. I really hope I don't offend you or discourage you. I just read your post and thought: "wow, that is a tall order for any person to try to live up to" and I thought perhaps someone else felt the way I did and was too afraid to comment so I took a risk. I hope you take it as it is intended: to invite discussion not to offend.

Heather said...

Wow...I have so much to learn...

Gracegirl said...

Gaby, I agree with you. Thank goodness God sees me as righteous and as white as snow, just like his Son, because I fail in so many ways. These lists of attributes of how to be the new "church lady" are what we pray that we become as lovers of Christ, but it is a process and God understands that. Every single woman that has posted here has the desire in her heart to become ALL that God wants her to become. When we totally understand that once we become Christ lovers, the Holy Spirit will guide each of us and the journey will look different for each lady. And that is ok...We are all unique and special in His eyes.

beth meagher said...

Thanks for this. I would describe this as 'more blood than ink'- something I just read in another blog. I've become somewhat jaded about blogs. Like getting the happy Christmas letter every week. So refreshing and encouraging.

Lisa H. said...

Wow! This is truly beautiful and says exactly how I feel! Jesus, may this be true in my life!

Thank you!

Wanda Bolhous said...

This is so beautiful... and heart-breaking! It makes me so sad to hear that you were not received with love and grace. I am so happy to be in a church that tries to love on the many hurting and broken people who walk through the doors, whether they're hurting and the broken people who attend every week and tithe often or the broken people who have not been in a church since their Grandma took them to Sunday School as a kid. Your words are such a great reminder to just be known as the people who love the way Jesus loves.

Christen Blackburn said...

Such a powerful message and deeply needed in our world and church today. SO many people including myself have felt not good enough for church or even family...It is the kindness of Jesus that shines through us that can reach people not fear or judgement. This is the best thing I've ever read on facebook and the way to be a true Christian... like Jesus taught us to be His hands and feet to this broken world

Sibi said...

I did!! I told her what an awesome Mama she is:)

Sibi said...

Yes Manu. Thank you so so much for asking permission.

Sibi said...

Ann!!! Yes!!! Love your words so much!! Thank you!

Adeline Blumer said...

Hi... loving the comments. Lots of diversity here.. I'm sorry for your experience that you felt so judged etc. for your choices and destiny. But I agree with Gaby and some of the other commenters that there are many churches where people are accepted, and helped and treasured... and especially single gal programs are very high on the priority of ministry. I've been widowed for 20 years and received a lot of support and I've reached out to other singles with varied backgrounds. So... great that you can now share your love and acceptance... but sometimes it takes 2 to create communication. Also... there is a difference between judgment and discernment... I've realized that when I or someone else makes a poor decision we see everyone as judgmental. When in truth they are sometimes just pointing out things that we can do better for our sake. Takes humility too to come back and acknowledge that we've done something foolish, hurtful and destructive. Keep on loving them all!

Saved by grace said...

This was my New Year's Resolution. I do believe that in the heart of women, there are many that want to follow the ways of the virtuous woman. You are so right that we need to stand for Jesus, not judging against the sinful nature of the world. The love of my life refuses to go to church for exactly this reason. He was judged for his (and our) behaviors. Thank you for these words!

Carol Schultz said...

I'm sorry this was your initial encounter with church people. I have others and seen some examples myself. I remember praying about this very thing and the Lord showed me that people go to church for many reasons and many are not because they are followers of the Lord. So now even having been a Christian for many years I specifically look for those who are what you hoped to find. They/we are there. Don't give up the search for the Lord is the most important thing in your life and He can be found in the quiet of your tears, and all the quiet places. Find Him first and He will lead you to His people.

Tonya Frye said...

Amen!!!! God bless you new church lady!

Angie Martin Hall said...

Thank you. This was beautiful. I'll have to read and re-read this on many occasions. Wonderful.

ArielMalek said...

Very touching and insightful post sister. But it could be equally applied to many men-if not more so. The watershed revelation you shared is truly the crux between the Body life Jesus came to give us and the ancient religious system that has enslaved and abused mankind for millenia.
And as Jesus was broken and bruised that we might have restoration and life, so He used you to taste a small bit of the same religious abuse He suffered. And since you ultimately responded in forgiveness and grace rather than bitterness and judgment returned, He is using you as His healing balm to those whose hearts have likewise been broken and bruised by religion masquerading as Jesus in the flesh. Keep it up, sister!

ArielMalek said...

Some great pearls of grace and wisdom here born out of the pain of the sharp grains of religious judgment and condemnation. When we begin treating the broken, lost and outcasts like Jesus did -with love and grace- then sinners will flock to Him as they did in His day.

SISmith said...

I am so sorry that you had such a bad church experience. However, I have always known ladies in church who fit the description of the "new church lady" you so wonderfully describe. I have several I could mention from my growing up years and all the years I've been in church since (I've been in church for 63 years). There are still both kinds in church today, I'm sad to say. Such is human nature - I don't think it has anything to do with the times. I wish you had gone into a kinder church that day.

Lisa Odom said...

What an entire lesson in just the few words……"being know for what you are for or for what you are against". So many people, and even churches could learn something from this.

Teia Collier said...

Thank you, thank you!

Braindoc said...

This is why I joined Mormons. Full of Gods grace and the new Church Ladies are already there.

Carole Ann McKenzie said...

GLAD THAT ONE HAS OPPORTUNITY TO READ, LISTEN, LEARN AND MAYBE LOOK AT THEIR LIFE AND UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS NOT TO LATE TO CHANGE GOD HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE BUT LOTS JUST DON"T LIVE WHAT THEY WERE TAUGHT MANY YEARS AGO BECAUSE THEY CAUGHT UP IN BEING LIKE THE JONES OR HAVING FUN ALL ABOUT THEMSELVES LOVE MIMS

Jill said...

This is powerful. Thank you for sharing.

Renee' said...

After reading this blog on Facebook, I insisted my 16 year old daughter read it. I told her if she wanted to help people, really help people, be that person that's willing to go to the back of the Church. She agreed. I can't thank you enough for sharing this with us.

Rhonda said...

As I read this with tears in my eyes, I vowed to strive to be that kind of church lady. Thank you for reminding me to stand for...

Nanny said...

NOW WILL THAT EVER PREACH
would that every woman who has ever called herself a believer
be able to read those words
they are words that seem to reach out and grab your heart
touching your real self
thank you for reminding us
that in him JESUS we can make a difference in a life, by simple acts of love

lovelydoesit.com said...

Loved this article. It was very well written, and lots of good points.
We need to be known for the things that we stand FOR, proactive, not passive aggressive.
Thanks for writing!
I posted a link for others to read this article on my blog here, if you want to check it out:
http://lovelydoesit.com

Chantelle said...

Sibi, I would like to publish this in our church newsletter. Do I have your permission to do so? Thank you!
Chantelle

Valorie Cartwright said...

Loved this!!!!! So much truth, thank you for sharing!

Pat Allen said...

Thank you for the truth, that's the kind of lady I strive to be. God bless you.

Pat Allen said...

Thank you for the truth, that's the kind of lady I strive to be. God bless you.

Aileen Bluhm said...

This is beautifully written and, sadly, true, in many ways. It is so unfortunate that people are judgmental and exclusive but that is because we are all carnal, natural men. We cannot base our belief in God or his love for us on "people". We are all sinners. We are all trying to live His word. If we remember that no one is perfect, keep our heads held high, and love others unconditionally then we will be happy and that's all that matters. I don't go to church to socialize or feel accepted by the people around me (although that is all nice and good). I go to church to commune with the Lord and feel accepted by Him. That should be our main goal. I hope you can forgive those who have been unkind. They may have done it unknowingly or maybe you perceived that they were judging you but they were not. God lives and He loves you. He loves us all!

Zamara said...

I actually do belong to a church like that!!! I know so many women like that!!! You should check out a Church of Jesus Christ for Latter Day Saints. Yep, a Mormon Church. I'm a very recent convert and love that these are the women I go to church with.

I grew up Christian but went to very judgmental 'hell fire and brimstone' churches. There was a lot of 'double talk' and I stepped away from organized religion for close to 15 years. Even before that I struggled greatly to find a spiritual home. I had lost faith in religion. Not in our Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ but in man’s ability to organize a church according to God's will. I feel very blessed to be where I am today.

Jen Allard said...

Church ladies unite! Psalm 68:11
Great post thank you!

Judy said...

Wonderful!! too many churches do exactly this and drive away many a would be believer.

Cara said...

I'm so glad I clicked over to your site here from a facebook link. This is a great post. Honest and passionate - great inspiration for the next generation of us Church Ladies. Love it!

Jenn said...

"She understands that to become the Proverbs 31 woman- you can't skip chapters 1-30."
Beautiful and sooo true! Love this post!
momathomescientist.wordpress.com
momathomepoet.wordpress.com

Nicole said...

Sadly, this woman doesn't exist. Not where I am anyway

lisa engle said...

Grateful to say I know her well. Thank you for the beautiful reminder and description, making the recognition of her presence known and for bringing the increased awareness of who others can look for. So lovely.

Nicole Gepson said...

I came here to read this post because my pastor referenced it in his sermon today. He challenged us in the way you have here and it echoes what I've been thinking about in my own life. I long to be like the person you describe. I am humbled over and over again how much I fail at this. Not in a condemning way. But in a way that repeatedly teaches me that I need to be living a life that's more of Him and way, way, way less of me.

Mabree Moore said...

Thank you so much for this post. I truly needed to be reassured this right now. I just began my second semester of college and I am at a private Christian university. Believe it or not, the devil is EVERYWHERE and not every person that goes to a Christian university actually IS a Christian. (whaaaaattttt???? I know.) I believed that coming here would be like a giant youth group, but boy was I wrong! I also came from a very strong and supportive church back home, so finding a church here has definitely been a challenge to say the least. I did not feel welcomed anywhere, I felt judged because I was a college student who didn't really belong in a church setting because of a stupid stereotype of college kids running off and becoming crazy people screwing up their lives. All I wanted was to feel loved. And I wasn't getting that from my Christian school or a church. (I recently have found an amazing church family who is soooo amazing and encouraging btw) But I HAVE found it in our Lord and Savior. He has EMPOWERED me to start voicing what He really wants from all of us. I have been challenged in my faith and love of Christ and have been called things that aren't true. But we as followers and disciples of Christ aren't called to live an easy breezy life. We are told constantly that we WILL be persecuted and taunted and disapproved of for following him. One thing I have beckoned upon since coming to college is that I have to know what my faith is built upon. I can't live off of my parent's faith, I can't just go through life not knowing for MYSELF what I stand for and believe. Your post has reminded me that I constantly need to know my purpose of living and to know what my faith and hope is built on! Thank you so much for this blessing of a reminder. God is working in miraculous ways through you, so like it says in 1 Thess. 5:2 (I believe) "Don't quench the spirit!" Keep on writing!!!! Thank you for being bold and living a life of God.

-Mabree

Terry Cotner said...

Nicole, my heart hurts for your pain. I am praying that God will send a loving, openhearted, godly woman to share in your life. It sounds like you are in search of this and our God is faithful. I know that He heals the brokenhearted and puts the lonely in families. He wants only the best for you and I pray He proves that to you soon.

Elizabeth Hanson said...

Beautiful....although I do believe you have described the ORIGINAL church lady that Christ intended! The others were counterfeits.

Ruth said...

You have described exactly the lady I want to be

Unknown said...

As a single mom for the last 16 years and before that such a hard life you have said exactly how I have felt. Thank you so much.

Beth said...

Would you give permission to copy this article on a church website?

robkee said...

Comment to Blog Post: http://pearlsandgrace.blogspot.com
20140201: Comment on a Blog Post
20140202: Repost after failure to post first time
20140203: Third attempt

This will be the third attempt to post my comment. Hopefully I have figured out how to do it this time. Each time prior it disappeared after a brief time.
________________________________________________
To the author. Thank you so much for transparently sharing your experience with everyone.

I was torn as I read. Grieved by the fact that you had to experience such rejection from those who misunderstood that the very same grace they had undeservedly received they were called to be the vessels of distribution to others; disappointed that anyone who receives Christ has to acknowledge the reality that in truth we will all still have the opportunity to fail, even though we have received a new nature.

And grieved that although our experiences can help us recognize and correct wrongs done by followers of Christ to those we are to be reaching for Him, we too many times use these experiences to create our own prejudices and begin a new movement against what we blanketly declare was the old movement.

My greatest grief though comes from the fact that even after we mature in our faith we fail to look back and see with clearer vision the reality that the "New Church Lady" as referred to in the article is in fact not new at all. She is described with great detail by the mother of a young Lemuel years before he became king. These women have been around since humankind has walked the earth. They have loved the unloveable, they have set the bones of the broken, healed the hearts of the hopeless, cared for the weak and visited the sick. They have welcomed the discarded, fed the hungry, mothered the motherless and raised some of the most influential men and women of faith this world has ever known.

These New Church Ladies are not new at all, they are as old as time and if we're not careful we will miss them. They don't ask for accolades, they work without appreciation of man because they are laboring for the Father. Sadly in our attempts to identify the failure of Christ's representatives we grossly ignore the countless many who humbly walk the planet quietly while unknowingly fulfilling all that has been required of the New Church Lady. Why? Because there's no such thing as a New Church Lady. Everything that defines her should be the fruit of all those who have trusted in Christ as their Savior and represent Him as Christians.

As we will most assuredly, and rightly so, continue to see and identify those who are misrepresenting Jesus Christ, let us spend twice as much time intentionally seeking out and following after those who are the humble vessels of grace fashioned after the image of our King.

Please hear my heart. In no way is my comment to be interpreted as argumentative or contentious. I know all to well and have seen all to many times the many pains we as His Church can inflict upon those we are commissioned to love. But in the midst of it all the healing comes when we cast our focus away from those who are failing and gaze upon those who are succeeding in our commission.

Sincerely in the grace an mercy of our glorious King, humbled to be saved and grateful to be used.

God bless,
Rob Kee

Carol Snelten said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol Snelten said...

I am sorry for your experience. I do not think that MOST Christians are judgmental. I do believe that most are welcoming. Although when seekers ask what the scriptures say and you answer them honestly they usually do not like what they hear. The Bible is offensive. People need to watch out here, because this "judgmental thing" I keep hearing is not reality. It seems non Christians are looking for a glimmer of a Christian that they "perceive" as judging them and they use it to say "See I told you they are all judgmental". It's the adversary's trick. We all will be judged and any Christian knows they have no power to judge others. The power lies with Christ, and scripture says what it says, and yes it condemns us all.

Rachel Mouton said...

This is AMAZING! I cannot thank you enough for sharing this <3

Christie said...

I don't normally read comments, but for some reason, today, I did... Thank you. I needed to hear your words & didn't realize it. I am trying to live like this daily. I hope to be Able to pass on this kind of encouragement in my daily life.

Jessica said...

I loved this. I used to feel the same way about church. I pray that I embody this "new church lady." Thank you for the post.

~yolanda said...

What a lovely post. Thank you for writing this. I have been in church all of my life and I'm sure at some point I have been guilty of being the old church lady. Praise God for His grace and how He makes us new!

Wanda Lopez said...

I am learning, trying, and praying to be this lady.

Sonia Moring said...

Exactly what I needed to hear...perfectly timed truth~ an answered prayer :)

Sonia Moring said...

Exactly what I needed to hear...perfectly timed truth~ an answered prayer :)

Matthew Smith said...

Can I just say, the only one that reserves the right to judge is God himself and if we avail ourselves of his grace then all that we can do is follow him via the holy spirit and welcoming Jesus into our lives.

I also grew up in the Anglican church and became disenchanted after I was confirmed an told that I had the Holy Spirit, no i didn't because nothing was different. It was only later in my late 20s that I found the real Gospel, the Gospel of truth. No judgement,no prayer books, no falseness, no compromise. Plain and simple as it is in in the Bible.

In saying this, Jesus only requires us to do one thing in order to receive his Holy Spirit and that is to repent and be baptised by full immersion anything else is a compromise. You may have heard this many times before but the majority of so called Christians unfortunately don't really know what this means as there are many so called religions, but only one true church and that is the church of Jesus christ and his disciples.

If you read the Acts of the apostles, specifically chapter 1 and 2 and observe what happened to all the disciples who were gathered in the upper chamber on the day of Pentecost. The only tangible way you know that you have the Holy Spirit is through the infilling of the Holy Ghost evidenced but Speaking in other tongues. Its something that most "churches" pass off as unimportant but it is real and of utmost important, everyone who was baptised this way, if they have an open heart and truly want the Lord in their life will be given this promise.

Many will say that the Bible is open for interpretation but i can say that Gods word is not. He is a loving God and blesses his people with some hearings and other miracles that you would not believe unless you saw or experienced them yourself.

It does say in the Bible that there will be many who claim to come in his name, misguided man made religion has fulfilled that, now there are many posers who may be 95% right but even a little bit levin, spoil the whole lump. Compromise is compromise and the hard truth is that humankind cannot follow the Gospel in his own strength, it will always fail and without the holy spirit to guide, praying in tongues daily, it is doomed.

Speaking in tongues is passed off as myth, not for this day, unnecessary for salvation, well that is lies. If it was good enough for the disciples as promised on the day of Pentecost by Jesus and Gods promises and word never changes then you can bet, I am not to argue with that.

DJay said...

I think that this post is very fitting for these times of doctrinal confusion. It makes us rethink who we really are. We have become so accustomed to offering people an institutional church as the answer and not Jesus Christ. The major confusion is that according to the 1994 United Nations Census on Religion, there were at that time about 23,000 Christian denominations in this world, and all seem to somewhat differ. This means that we do not have one voice, which is the voice or teaching of Jesus Christ. We have created a web of confusion to the world. Christ could never be divided.
Mark 3:24-25
24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
If we as Christians all live by the teachings of Jesus Christ, then we will fully understand “The New Church Girl”, which is not new because humans lived it in Biblical times.
Christianity is the way of life that all Christians should live because we are of Christ. The name “Christian was derived from the name “Christ” as “American” was derived from “America”. If I live in America, I must abide by the laws of America; there is no other option.
Matthew 5:48 - Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
The words of Jesus are commands and not suggestions. He will be standing at the “Gates of Heaven” and not St Peter. He is the only way to God.
I have been a Christian for over 40 years, and a pastor for about 15 years, but in time of my “dry spell” I went from church to church and could not find the peace, comfort and “Gatorade” that I needed. I felt completely ignored and isolated. I later found it in Christ and not within the institutional church. Christ died on the cross to give us the power to live like He did, which means that we have to power and authority to do so.
When we first got saved, we were so excited about our new found experience that we were willing and not afraid to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone we met; but after we became denominationally programmed and segregated; we became biased and critical of everyone else outside our own group. Jesus is calling on us to return to our first love (Revelations 2), where and when we first believed. The church is one body, as the human body is with many parts working together to complement each other. Let us stop finding fault with people and start walking in love.

DJay said...

I think that this post is very fitting for these times of doctrinal confusion. It makes us rethink who we really are. We have become so accustomed to offering people an institutional church as the answer and not Jesus Christ. The major confusion is that according to the 1994 United Nations Census on Religion, there were at that time about 23,000 Christian denominations in this world, and all seem to somewhat differ. This means that we do not have one voice, which is the voice or teaching of Jesus Christ. We have created a web of confusion to the world. Christ could never be divided.
Mark 3:24-25
24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
If we as Christians all live by the teachings of Jesus Christ, then we will fully understand “The New Church Girl”, which is not new because humans lived it in Biblical times.
Christianity is the way of life that all Christians should live because we are of Christ. The name “Christian was derived from the name “Christ” as “American” was derived from “America”. If I live in America, I must abide by the laws of America; there is no other option.
Matthew 5:48 - Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
The words of Jesus are commands and not suggestions. He will be standing at the “Gates of Heaven” and not St Peter. He is the only way to God.
I have been a Christian for over 40 years, and a pastor for about 15 years, but in time of my “dry spell” I went from church to church and could not find the peace, comfort and “Gatorade” that I needed. I felt completely ignored and isolated. I later found it in Christ and not within the institutional church. Christ died on the cross to give us the power to live like He did, which means that we have to power and authority to do so.
When we first got saved, we were so excited about our new found experience that we were willing and not afraid to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone we met; but after we became denominationally programmed and segregated; we became biased and critical of everyone else outside our own group. Jesus is calling on us to return to our first love (Revelations 2), where and when we first believed. The church is one body, as the human body is with many parts working together to complement each other. Let us stop finding fault with people and start walking in love.

creolitauk said...

I was raised in quite a judgemental environment, so I found it hard to be myself and see others that way. Thank God I am part of a powerful global church that challenges me in this area every week.

Melony Stevens said...

Love it! Going to follow your blog.. here's mine. :) http://melonystevensphotography.blogspot.com/

Vanesa K said...

As the wife of a worship pastor...yes yes yes! People who walk into church and are knowingly living in sin...don't need us throwing condemnation in their faces. That job is taken by the author of lies. They walk around in guilt and shame. If they can't feel loved and accepted by God's church...where will they search next?!

ghardym said...

If you are in Dallas and you are feeling this way then come visit us at Lake Highlands Church @ 9919 McCree. We got no old-time church ladies just the broken meeting together to hold each other up and praise the Lord.

Ashley Antkowiak said...

This is so wonderful. Thank you for sharing this with us! I'll be following from here on out :)

Jennifer said...

Sibi! We will one day find the perfect time for lunch! In the meantime thank you for this post. It's as if you have been listening to the conversations my mother and I have had. Or as if you have sat and listened to the conversations between the Mr. and I. Churches are hurting and driving seekers away from Christ more than they are driving them toward. If we really really look closely at the walk of Jesus he turned NO one away. He went to the ones that society would shun against. If there is another Pearl Event this year in TN or close by...you better beleive this momma will be there.
xoxo,
Jennifer

Michelle Hetzler said...

I love God, believe in his powers. .. But I do not go to church. This is exactly why. The church I always went to growing up is extremely that way now. I could care less how they feel about me. It's the fact that most of them go to church then not only in church, but anywhere they act as if they are better people than everyone else.

April Mckinney Recipes said...

I absolutely love this, a beautiful picture of a woman after God's own heart.

Eowyn Fair said...

Great article! And very thought-provoking... I have many emotions and thoughts on this.

I have seen many of the bad kind of church ladies in my life, and I have seen many of the good kind. I don't want to invalidate anyone's traumatic experience, but I also think that a few bad church ladies have given the rest of us a bad name, and so some people have a stigma of women in the church that is absolutely not accurate. My heart aches for those, like you, who were afraid for years and finally ventured in to seek healing, only to find condemnation for what you already knew you needed help for, and justification for all those past fears. (That's like a doctor telling you that you're sick and not helping!) I also think it depends upon what kind of church you visit as well.(I go to an Evangelical Free Church now. I love it!)

I feel that church people in general have gotten confused with what they're supposed to condemn, and who they're supposed to forgive. In the previous church I was in the attitude was extremely forgiving, but so much so that there was no accountability for Christians. We, as Christians, are called to be an example of love and of holiness to others. People in the church are called to rebuke other Christians if necessary, and by doing so will help them. On the other hand, we are meant to show love and forgiveness to those who are not saved, even as we give them a good example. Many people have this backward! They condemn the unsaved for behaving like the unsaved, and allow church members to do whatever, just so they can appear forgiving. How foolish!

I wish you had visited my church all those years ago. As some of the youngest attendees of the church, my husband and I were welcomed in with open arms, treated as though we were important, and have since seen the church draw others in with love and kindness. We have ministries to local communities that help the families and children, and it's just wonderful to see how loving the women in the church can be (especially compared to the gossipy women at my last church). It is refreshing. :)

Thank you for sharing your heart on this matter. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Melody said...

Yes, yes, yes. I want our church to be known what we stand for by our actions and our responses. Great post!

Dawn McBride said...

Sibi,
I was fortunately blessed when I walked into my church as a divorced single mom with 4 little ones. I always felt I was never really single then either...I was a mom. But the church was the beginning of my becoming the "New Church Lady"...which today I am still evolving into.

That was over 15 years ago...but with moving from that beloved church to a new state, I found another...only to move recently to a different city.

I am once again at the 'new' stage in another church, and I am blessed to say, filled with Agape and reflects Jesus Christ in all ways.

I am always thankful to Jesus for leading me to such wonderful inspiration.

Many blessings to you.

Ty said...

I pray that I can be "The New Church Lady"! Amazing post!

Serina said...

This was shared with me by a friend...and I must say, I absolutely loved reading this. It resonated within my heart as a reminder that we (ladies) need to be the new "church ladies" of today's society. What a blessing. I would love to be known for what I stand for, rather than for what I stand against..any day! Thank you so much for sharing and I had only wished that anyone would have opened up to you during your period of "lows"; no telling where you would be now if you had grown to love Christ at that time in your life rather than a decade later. Let's not turn others away...but embrace them and meet them exactly where they are.

pve design said...

Sibi- I was blessed to hear you speak a few years ago and your words touched me. I love that your not your Grandmother's church lady but have and are inspiring to many....what an image of grace.
pve

Heidi Reed said...

Very well said! If many more people had this kind of attitude there would be thousands and even millions more people saved. This would break down the negative stereotypes that all Christians and even God is always keeping score of what you do, done and have not done. And that we are against more than what we are for. I was so condemned for things I have done and even things that were not my fault or out of my control. Growing up I never had a warm, welcoming church family until about two and a half years ago when I was 15. This being so put down by the very people who were supposed to love me and taught the word of God caused me, like many others, to have a very distorted view of God and Christianity. It made me want to have nothing to do with anything related to God or religion. It was when mom and I moved to Indiana two and a half years ago to find a way out of the horrid situation we were once in with my dad, that God put this wonderful church and amazing, loving people in our paths. They accept us despite our financial situation and mom's divorce of my dad. They accept me when I fall 50 times over and don't spread gossip around. They do everything in their power to help us when they can with love in their hearts, not to receive something out of it or because they feel sorry for us. Because they love us. Once God showed me who He really was and who He really was not through the love of other Christians, that's when I gave my heart and soul to Him for real. I know I don't always live my life the way I should to represent Him, but no one does 100% of the time. The ones that feel that they are damaged goods and are good for nothing, as I did, need more than anything to be loved and accepted no matter how far they fall and where they have been. This is so crucial for salvation and developing a relationship with God. If it had not have been for these church members loving and embracing us as much as they have, there is a very good chance I would have gone on hating God and a good chance my mom would have as well. God has taught me that through love of others, we will see His love and who he really is. I know many people, men and women who are like the woman you have described. Don't sell yourself short either. You too are this woman. I very much appreciate that you are so humbled but don't sell yourself short. We all can say that you have grown into the beautiful woman that you have always wanted to be and who God has shaped you to be.

Sandra said...

Bless you, Sibi Bless you.
Miss you!! XOXO

Kristen Buckley said...

I came to your blog from Life in Grace. I have tears in my eyes reading this. You have made me reflect on the kind of church lady I am. I will definitely re-read this post to keep that fresh in my mind. Thanks for your inspiring words.
Kristen

Kristen Buckley said...

I came to your blog from Life in Grace. I have tears in my eyes reading this. You have made me reflect on the kind of church lady I am. I will definitely re-read this post to keep that fresh in my mind. Thanks for your inspiring words.
Kristen

Kristen Buckley said...

I came to your blog from Life in Grace. I have tears in my eyes reading this. You have made me reflect on the kind of church lady I am. I will definitely re-read this post to keep that fresh in my mind. Thanks for your inspiring words.
Kristen

Mrs.B said...

Awesome...the whole thing..the original, the update, the new post about the well. I thank God that you blog. Seriously. When I take a break from the internet, yours is the first blog I read when I come back. LIFE giving... because you are HIS.

Susanne said...

Perhaps you can help me understand something. As a church we embrace, we welcome, we support and nurture. We show up at 6am to bring food and blankets when you run out of groceries and heating fuel. We cry with you at midnight when your husband walks out. We pay scholarships to send the kids to camp or mom to a retreat. We gladly provide the ministry services, the unconditional love and acceptance, the hugs you need. But, somewhere down the line eventually we will mention change, giving up the old flesh, and living sanctified lives and suddenly we're unloving, judgmental hypocrites and you leave. We're coming up against an attitude that says in order to qualify as loving, we must forgo calling people to repentance. Jesus did both. Please hear me! I am not defending the churches that snub you because you aren't dressed a certain way or the ladies who purposely exclude you from events because you aren't "one of them." Those are the extremes that give all of us a bad name and I hate that they call themselves Christian. But in years of ministry I've seen so many people who come into church and see friendly, getting to know you interest as "interrogation" or encouragement to grow more like Christ as "not accepting me as I am." or a pastor's sermon on forgiveness as proof someone gossiped about your unforgiveness in some area. I'm seriously interested in how we can model love AND encourage spiritual growth.

Between You and Me said...

enjoyed every word, Sibi.
I can relate but only because my mother was rejected by the church when I was 7. She was so hurt..so devastated. It's a super long story, but the short version is that the pastor was molesting a couple of girls in the church and in order to make sure no one was looking to closely at him, he pinpointed a few people in the church to focus on. My mom was one of them. He blasted her for two reasons: 1…she came to church alone with my brother and I bc my dad wasn't interested in church. Back then, coming to church alone with your kids was very looked down upon. and 2…she was the PTA president and it was October and she was in charge of the fall festival…back then it was called a halloween carnival. Anyway, he accused her of witchcraft bc she was organizing the halloween carnival.

All these years later, my mom still hasn't been back to church, but God has used us in her life and a few dear friends and interestingly, a fatal lung disease that she suffers with to bring her back to himself. He has lavished his love on her…she can't get enough of his word…she reads it morning, noon and night.

This post hits home. The pastor of the church was eventually caught in his sin, and many ladies from the church reached out to my mom, but it was too late. She was so afraid to ever trust church people again. So grateful God has softened her heart and brought forgiveness for her and to her heart for those that hurt her so deeply.

Thanks for this…I'm so sorry for the hurt that you experienced…so grateful God has made all things good in his time…so grateful you are the new church lady!

Stephanie Davis said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. I teach Sunday school at my church and we are currently studying James. Sunday was James 2:1-13. I shared your post with my class (it included 2 men but it applies to them as well) and we ended up having such a deep heartfelt discussion that we will be continuing this lesson tomorrow night at Bible study. Most of us could relate in one way or another to your story. But what came out loudly was that we, as a church, must step up and be more Christlike and show people what we stand for rather than what we stand against. Blessings to you and thank you for opening up a much-needed discussion for many of us.

Dana Clark said...

I went through a divorce 8 years ago. We were members of a large church and I was very active in service. If you had visited my church, you would have thought I was one of those "church ladies". I looked like I had it all together. I taught all kinds of classes. I loved God with all my heart. I did not want to get divorced. I did not want that big D (as Beth Moore says) written on my forehead. But the reality is that I got it anyway. While my divorce was happening, people that I had worshiped with would turn and walk away. They would avoid me. I ended up leaving that church but I never gave up on God. I tried some other denominations but I never gave up on God. It was the worst 1 1/2 years of my life. My girls were 4, 5, and 6. Their dad had moved on with other women and there I was alone, just me and Jesus. I kept taking my hurt over the church to God and one day He finally responded to me. He said, "Dana, a church is just a body of sinners. If you expect anything more, you will get hurt. They walked away from you because they did not know what to say. They avoided you because they didn't want to see you cry." To me, even though this revelation does not justify their actions, I felt a little better about how I was treated. Even though I never went back to that particular church, I stayed in church. Even though I am a member of a church now, my true identity lies in this incredible song: Hello, my name is child of the One True King. I've been saved, I've been changed, I have been set free. Amazing grace is the song I sing. Hello, my name is child of the One True King. Once the Lord has truly broken us, we will love as He does, feel people's hurt like He does, be the "church lady" that encourages, cries with, and loves like He does. That is our calling... to love like He does.

Tonya Laird said...

Amazing!

conamante said...

I am proud to be part of a welcoming Christ-filled community. Here is our church's Welcoming:

WELCOME!

In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
YOU ARE WELCOME HERE!

If you are broken, confused, open minded, naive, overwhelmed, or just feeling lost
YOU ARE WELCOME HERE!

If you come from Wyoming or Grandville, Hudsonville or Byron Center, Grand Rapids or Kentwood; if you were born inside the United States or somewhere else; if you speak English or another language or multiple languages,
YOU ARE WELCOME HERE!

If Christ Lutheran has been your church home for your whole life, if you have just come today or if you come every week, know that
YOU ARE WELCOME HERE!

If you have been affirmed or ridiculed because of your race, your class, your gender, your mental or physical impairments, or your sexual identification, I want you to know that
YOU ARE WELCOME HERE!

If you've had a difficult time making financial ends meet, and if you are worried about your money running out before the month does
YOU ARE WELCOME HERE!

If you have been a Lutheran since before birth, come from another religious background or have no religious identify,
YOU ARE WELCOME HERE!

Finally, if you are excited about the gospel, or if you have some doubt than you have faith; if you are apologetically Christian, or have more questions than answers; if you have no faith, come from a different faith or you have great faith,
YOU ARE WELCOME HERE!

Beth Kroll said...

Shared this post on FB and came back to read it again. Still such a blessing and a challenge. Thank you for speaking the truth in love to us all. It reminds me of John 13:34-35.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

Karlie Hodgen said...

This post confirmed what God was already stirring in my heart. Thank you for writing it! I can relate having been the other church lady for so many years, one who judged the single mothers. My perfect little Christian family only had room for other perfect people... only one day I realized I was not so perfect. Now I am the momma with a baby on her hip, praising God in the pews without a ring on my finger or a husband at my side. While I am not a "single" mother, I do appear to be at first glance (and I've made for some interesting gossip in our community, lol). Trust me, even in todays churches I still get judgment. If I was not already grounded in my own relationship with Christ, I would have walked away. It is out of obedience that I continue to stand in the pews. As I praise God at church he whispers in my soul "daughter, now that you are broken, I can finally use you." Unfortunately my pride in my perfection was in the way before.
In your brokenness, God used you! This post is beautiful beyond words and resinates God's true desire for Christian women. Judgment and false perfection is SO ineffective. Thank you for your transparency and heart. You have put kindling on a movement that's ready to set fire, change lives, and grow the kingdom of God!

Keith Adams said...

Wow. So many good things have been said about this new Church Lady. Now, I am getting excited and want to meet her soon. On the other hand, please check out our site at http://www.churchstpetersburg.org. At King of Peace MCC, you will find contagious joyful praise, warm and friendly people, and an inviting atmosphere of radical hospitality.

Keith Adams said...

Wow. So many good things have been said about this new Church Lady. Now, I am getting excited and want to meet her soon. On the other hand, please check out our site at http://www.churchstpetersburg.org. At King of Peace MCC, you will find contagious joyful praise, warm and friendly people, and an inviting atmosphere of radical hospitality.

christyp said...

I always learn something new when I read anything that you write. You are such a wonderful woman & He is definitely working His wonders through you. You inspire me!