by Angela Bell
Once upon a time, there was a little girl longing for adventure. She spent many a summer day with her beloved grandmother hearing stories full of excitement and adventure — tales of kindness and caring, strength and hope, and even importance and power. The girl longed to grow up so that she too could go have adventures with her friends. She vowed that she would one day be every bit as amazing and awe-inspiring as her grandmother.
Sound familiar? I’m sure this story brings up beautiful memories for many. Sure, we can switch the word grandmother with mother, aunt, or neighbor, but the meaning doesn’t change. Many of us grew up hearing stories from the incredible women around us.
If you’re reading this post, I will wager that some of those stories focused on adventures within the church and women’s group. Women of the ELCA groups are full of tales that are oh so magical.
Strength and hope
Women are out there, all over the world, exuding kindness while caring for their neighbors and communities. They are leaving the comfort of their own churches to provide strength and hope to those who are lost.
Many women are spearheading important projects and grassroots campaigns that display the power within us. That same power is what makes our organization so awe-inspiring as we strive to be centered in Christ. Everything that we do as Christians should focus on God.
Our motivation should be for the glory of God, not ourselves. We are supposed to dedicate our lives to Christ and the Great Commission, not our own works-righteousness. We do fail. After all, Martin Luther says we are both saint and sinner. But when we do, our sisters are there to pick us up.
That’s the true power of a group of passionate women who trust in God. In recognizing our failures, we begin the long, often slow journey towards restoration.
Together, more is possible
As an organization, we have recognized that some of our practices are no longer working. We have recognized that there are some things that we can do better. I’m sure that you all have seen our requests for your own stories and thoughts about the future of our organization. It may feel daunting to tell, but your story is vital to our existence.
At our synodical women’s conventions, we hear so many phenomenal ideas through the stories of others. Mentioning the work we do for the community or congregation can feel like bragging or that pesky works righteousness. It doesn’t have to be that way. Remember that our forebears relied on word of mouth to pass on their stories. We can do that too.
Be the bold women that I know you are and share your own tales of excitement and adventure with your friends and kin and the wider church. Together so much more is possible.
Together we can ensure that our daughters and granddaughters have the same support system that we have. We can help them create their own tales of discipleship and service that are every bit as meaningful and amazing as ours.
Angela Bell serves on the executive board and is a member of St. John Lutheran, Bellville, Texas, where her husband is the pastor.