Cohort: Women Together

Last October, the WMCLB launched a cohort of women reading through Gretchen Ronnevik’s book Ragged: Spiritual Disciplines for the Spiritually Exhausted, and I am grateful to have joined. Every meeting was an opportunity to connect and to celebrate what God has freely given us through the spiritual disciplines.

As a Christian woman, I have felt the need to be pious—prayerful, generous, and constant in my Bible reading. As a young mother and worship leader, I have worried, “How could I teach my son or lead our praise team with a worshipful heart if my own Christian walk feels lacking?” I have often felt I am not doing enough. I’ve even felt angry at the standards that seem to be necessary to be a good Christian. Our cohort consisted of seven women. Although we came from different walks of life and from different places across the country, we all seemed to relate on this point. We all love Christ and want to grow in him; we all want to be good and faithful servants in our families and churches. But as Gretchen described “the pious woman” in Ragged’s introduction only to follow with, “That woman is not me,” we all also confessed: that woman is not me.

With this, our meetings had an atmosphere of openness and vulnerability from the very start, one that is rare among new acquaintances. We shared our thoughts on Gretchen’s book, our testimonies, our earnest questions, and our prayer requests. As we did, we reminded each other that the disciplines of prayer, Bible reading, meditation, and others should point us not to ourselves and our abilities, but rather to God’s greatness and our dependence on him. We urged each other to look at the disciplines not as obligations, but as precious gifts—valuable not because of the holiness we can achieve by our discipline, but rather because of what God does in us through them. We reminded each other that God alone is the provider and perfecter of our faith. And as a result, I truly felt like our meetings were filled with a deep sense of humility and joint praise to God.

Our meetings were also a time for us to encourage each other as servants of the Church. As we shared our struggles as women in church leadership–whether as pastors’ wives, youth leaders, missionaries, or teachers—we found others who understood and could lift us up in prayer. I saw women remind each other that our ministries depend on God, not us, just as Ragged reminded us that our sanctification is not a result of our own work, but God’s. And every time we closed our conversations, I would come away confident that God is ever faithful to his promises to sanctify us and to work for good in the world around us. Thanks be to God.

Michelle Wang attends Calvary Lutheran Church in Bergenfield, New Jersey.
Please consider joining a cohort this fall! We will be using Greg Finke’s book Joining Jesus on His Mission: How to be an Everyday Missionary.
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