A friend and I were at a campfire, suddenly we saw a snake come out of the flames wiggling in pain. My friend reached into the flames and pulled out the snake t...o save it and when he did it bit his hand. My friends reaction was to shake the snake loose and when he did it fell back into the fire. He immediately reached back into the fire to pluck it out again and it bit him again. He shook the snake free only to see it fall back into the fire. As he started to reach out once again to pull the snake from of the fire I called out to him, “ Hey don’t be a fool for a third time, if it bit you the 1st two times it will bite you again”.
His respond stopped me in my tracks. He said “ Just because the nature of the snake is to bite me, that doesn’t mean that I will alter my nature, which is to help”. With that he picked up a stick and reached in to finally pull out and free the snake from the fire and certain death.
The moral is simple: Don’t allow the negative nature of some or all of those around you to change the positive nature that God has given you to share with all. Nothing wrong with being smart ( i.e. Use a stick), but help, save, support, encourage, and strengthen those around you regardless of their actions or reactions. Focus more on who you are and who you represent than what others may say or think about you….
A lady went to the pastor and said “Pastor, I won't be going to this church anymore.” The pastor responded “But why?” The lady said “Ah! I saw a sister speaking... bad of another sister; a brother that can't read well; the worship team living wrong; people looking at their phone during service; among so many other things wrong in the church.” The pastor replied “OK. But before you go, do me a favor: take a full glass of water and walk three times around the church without spilling a drop on the floor. Afterwards, leave the church if you desire.” The lady thought: too easy!
She walked three times around as the pastor had asked. When she finished she told the pastor she was ready. And the pastor asked “When you were walking around the church, did you see a sister speaking bad about another sister?” The lady replied “no.” “did you see anyone looking at their phone?” “No” “You know why?” “No” “You were focused on the glass, to make sure you didn't tip it and spill any water. It's the same with our life. When our focus is on our Lord Jesus Christ, we don't have time to see the mistakes of others.”
A few months ago, my girl Nichole Nordeman sent me a picture and a story.
It's about female elephants. You know, as all good stories begin. See, in the wild, w...hen a mama elephant is giving birth, all the other female elephants in the herd back around her in formation. They close ranks so that the delivering mama cannot even be seen in the middle. They stomp and kick up dirt and soil to throw attackers off the scent and basically act like a pack of badasses.
They surround the mama and incoming baby in protection, sending a clear signal to predators that if they want to attack their friend while she is vulnerable, they'll have to get through 40 tons of female aggression first.
When the baby elephant is delivered, the sister elephants do two things: they kick sand or dirt over the newborn to protect its fragile skin from the sun, and then they all start trumpeting, a female celebration of new life, of sisterhood, of something beautiful being born in a harsh, wild world despite enemies and attackers and predators and odds.
Scientists tell us this: They normally take this formation in only two cases - under attack by predators like lions, or during the birth of a new elephant.
This is what we do, girls. When our sisters are vulnerable, when they are giving birth to new life, new ideas, new ministries, new spaces, when they are under attack, when they need their people to surround them so they can create, deliver, heal, recover...we get in formation. We close ranks and literally have each others' backs. You want to mess with our sis? Come through us first. Good luck.
And when delivery comes, when new life makes its entrance, when healing finally begins, when the night has passed and our sister is ready to rise back up, we sound our trumpets because we saw it through together. We celebrate! We cheer! We raise our glasses and give thanks.
I have this picture saved in three different places and in a frame. (I also have an elephant ring given to me and my girlfriends from Tara Porter Livesay - it tells me: never alone.) Maybe you need this too. If you are closing ranks around a vulnerable sister, or if your girls have you surrounded while you are tender, this is how we do it.
There is no community like a community of women.
Photo cred: David Yarrow Photography