It was 2008, and I was chatting with a friend after church on a sunny September morning. She could see that I was stressed and tired and desperately wanted a break from life and a chance for some quality time with my husband. She offered to take my kids for the afternoon, and I politely declined. Why? Because I didn't want to burden someone else with the responsibility of watching my kids. Because I didn't want her to be obliged to help me just because I was stressed. Because she had three young kids of her own, and Sunday was her only day off. Because I was afraid that she would feel manipulated by my complaining. Because I was ashamed that had I complained instead of being 'joyful in all circumstances'. She listened to my refusal and then brushed it aside. She offered again. I refused again. And then she said the words that pierced my heart. She said, "Cory, will you let me be your sister for real?"
The truth is that we spend so much of our time afraid of what people will think of us, comparing ourselves to each other. We judge; we come up short. We judge someone else; we take comfort when we come out on top. We have shallow, casual relationships with other women. And so we put up barriers and boundaries that keep others out, and we become isolated in our self-made prisons.
But in that moment, that divine moment, the Holy Spirit reached down into my heart and broke through my walls. I cried. Right there in church while the kids were running around and the people were leaving and the pastor was waiting to lock up. I cried with relief, because I had a friend who loved me enough to fight to bless me. And I cried because I knew that God had just given me a picture of what His heart is for His daughters. And I would never be the same.
So that day I went and took a walk with my love, and I enjoyed the beauty of a summer afternoon, and I arrived later to pick up my children refreshed and inspired. Because I had a sister for real. And because I knew that if we could continue to walk in this call of God - to love without judgement - to give without thought of getting back - to support without pretense - to be sisters without comparison or competition - it would radically change our own lives, and the reputation of the Church.
Since then, I have worked to spread this picture of God's heart to as many women as possible. And I have seen the light of hope in their eyes as they leap to grab ahold of a life surrounded by sisters. Women that you can be real with. Women who love you through all circumstances. Every single woman in the body of Christ is your sister. It's time to be sisters for real.