Last night was a special program for women. No men allowed. It was a mystery as to what we would do, but I decided to check it out. I am so glad I did. Two hundred and twenty women and teen girls arrived for the event. Six women missionaries from various parts of the world were seated up front and very candidly shared some of their struggles. The point was that we all have issues and that they shouldn't prevent us from serving somewhere, doing something. One woman has challenging health issues. One has difficulty living in a different culture that has no sense of time or urgency. One is single and extremely lonely. One has small children and feels her life is on hold because she is not useful to others. One is overwhelmed with all the work she has to do. One has issues with self-image. One is just plain tired and irritable. (That's more than six, so some women have more than one issue!) Just as we all do. And all their "issues" are common to all women, except I guess most of us don't have to deal with living in another culture.
We also had time to interact with other women who attended. I ran into many of the young women I taught years ago in Bible studies. Precious, beautiful young women, their children I knew as babies growing up. It was like a family reunion seeing them again. The openness and vulnerability of the speakers seemed to give us the freedom to share our own issues with others. Women are struggling with marriage problems, death of parents, kid problems, illness. We connected on a deeper level and encouraged each other. I came home renewed and refreshed. Women need other women. I've missed that.