You know who I’m talking about. She’s the woman who comes into church late, holding her head down to avoid the stares, and leaves early to avoid conversation. She’s the woman carrying the baggage of shame and rejection.
She’s the kind of woman you may want to keep at arm’s length because you know wading into her life will involve a large investment of time and emotional energy. Or maybe you feel ill-equipped to step into her world.
She could also be the woman who greets you with a smile, while hiding the same amount of shame as the woman who ducks out the door. It’s hard to tell from outward appearances, but there are women who are weighed down by heavy loads of hopelessness all around us. And what should we do?
How do we help them?
What did Jesus do?
In John 4, He came right into the deepest places of shame and rejection and invited a woman with years of baggage to drink living water!
We cannot serve as “Savior” to the woman in need (nor should we try), but we have the responsibility to offer her the living water of the gospel.
Investing in her life will require time, and she may need more than you can provide. For example, long term professional counseling may be necessary. But don’t allow the fact that she has baggage prevent you from being willing to reach out and serve her.
When entering into a relationship with a woman who has significant issues, it helps to approach that ministry opportunity with a clear plan. If she agrees to get together with you over a relaxed lunch or is willing to just grab a cup of coffee, she may open up to you and allow you to hear the needs that weigh her down.
Ask her how you can pray for her. That one question usually opens a floodgate. It may be the first time anyone has ever asked her that question, or offered to pray for her. If she does open up to share her story, don’t rush past the significance that she is entrusting you with her pain.
You have the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus to this precious woman. As you follow the Lord’s lead, may she be led to and drink abundantly from the River of Life.
→ Kimberly outlined 7 steps to follow when meeting with a woman who is carrying baggage in this article for members of womensministry.net.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment sharing how this post has encouraged or inspired you and be entered to win a copy of Kimberly’s book, Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior. Winner will be randomly selected from comments left by Wednesday, April 26.