Sisterhood Is Powerful
By MARIANNE WOOD
Sisterhood is Powerful, the title of a textbook for my women’s studies class in 1976, served a purpose for a radically new course. This title fits today as I examine the impact of women in the history of my life–the sisterhood of many decades that has genuinely been powerful in many ways.
I’ve written before about my childhood neighbors, Betty, Virginia, and Edith, parents of friends who nourished my growing up faith by setting beautiful examples of home keeping and loving well inside and outside of their homes. And I’ve written about older friends from church like Lesey and Agnes who loved me well and helped me grow in a community of faith.
But many of my favorite female influencers are women I have not met or barely knew. They are those who wrote Bible studies and prepared lesson after lesson for a room full of women, many of whom they would never meet. But they, too, figure powerfully in building this sisterhood I prize.
The first of them must have been Barbara Beer. For the spelling of her name, I had to consult Mendy Phelps, a longtime friend who attended Barbara’s Tuesday night studies called “Womanhood from the Wisdom Literature” in Lubbock when we were students at Texas Tech. Barbara’s clear and thoughtful teaching taught me the value of studying the Bible with the sisterhood of faith. Mendy and I never met during that study but discovered our shared experience in the mid-nineteen-nineties. We’ve enjoyed a dozen or more such gatherings since then and benefit from a greater depth of friendship as a result. When women meet for conversations about faith and family, something good will happen!
Finally, among the women I celebrate this March are teachers like Audrey Wetherell Johnson, who wrote the original Bible Study Fellowship lessons; Jane Pope, who taught them; plus a host of celebrities that include Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, and Jennie Allen. Most recently, I joined an international gathering of women called Love God Greatly. LGG declares its women’s ministry purpose in this simple tagline: “Changing Women’s Lives, One Journal at a Time.” I highly recommend it. And I celebrate all the women who gather for Bible study across our community, weekly examining our faith and encouraging one another. In the words of Elisabeth Elliot, “Faith does not eliminate questions, but faith knows where to take them.” Taking them to Christ with a sister is powerful.
Marianne Wood works as an editorial assistant and researcher for Bill Wright