LOVE LETTER

I’ll never forget the first love letter my husband gave me. It was short and sweet with the simple words, “I love you.” For most women, love letters are basically a universal love language.

Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hate stirs up trouble, but love forgives all offenses.”

 

We live in a world where protests leave lives lost and cities broken.

Where differing opinions about our nation leave disillusion, disarray, and disunity.

Where natural disasters are so common that we’re tempted live in a constant state of fear.

 

It is in this world that love must reign above all.

 

“Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” — St. Francis.

 

Because there is so much hate in the world, my desire is to sow love.

So, credentialed women, this is my love letter to you.

 

My purpose is to write on behalf of the next generation of women (under 40) and simply say, “thank you.”

 

Thank you for intentionally paving the way for us. Thank you for pioneering new trails in a world of dead ends and detours. Thank you for busting through doors that will remain open for generations to come. Thank you for breaking through barriers that we may never even know existed. Thank you for loving us through our seasons of stretching. Thank you for encouraging us to discover our voice.

 

We honor you. We cherish your wisdom. We love you.

 

Above all, I want to personally say “thank you” for your patience, because making deep connections with other women has never come easy to me. It is something that I have had to work very hard at.

 

Perhaps its my background in youth ministry, or maybe its because my mother was absent most of my life. It may be due to the lack of community I experienced growing up, or the fact that relationships never really seemed to fill up my love meter.

 

Whatever the case, one thing was for sure: I was clueless about the importance of community and relationships with other women. Instead of running to people, I tended to run to books for deeper community. Many summers, I found myself caught up in the world of the characters that I most related to. I could escape to far off places and hide away from the difficulties of life.

 

After becoming the first person in my family to surrender my heart to Christ, I was astounded by the family of God that I was immediately thrust into. Even though only a teenager at the time, I realized that there was something different about Godly community. It was refreshing to be around those who were just as passionate as I was about influencing culture.

 

The problem was that, for me, community became all about ministering together. That was the wrong perspective. Community is not about just doing ministry together, but about doing life together. One could say it is a combination of being together and doing together.

 

My perspective started to shift. In fact, many of you helped to nurture that growing perspective in my heart. You showed me kindness, acceptance, and love.  And I thank you for that.

 

The Sisterhood of Pen Florida

 

Recently, I had an epiphany. I realized that I am in both the Under 40 ministers group AND the Credentialed Women’s group. What an exciting time to witness what God is doing in both of these incredible groups!

 

So, despite the uncertainties set before my generation, there is one thing I know for certain… we are not alone. We are guided by Scripture, grounded in love, and surrounded by those who are running the race before us. Runners like Pastor Susan Pippin who encourage us to continually fix our eyes on Jesus.

 

I have learned that the value of sincere fellowship is immeasurable.

 

Together, we can build the kind of community that our uniquely feminine heart seeks: A community of strength, honesty, and love. If you find yourself on the outskirts, know that there is room for you at the table. Your voice does matter.

 

Your unique perspective does not bring complication to our community; it enhances our community.

 

When I look at the sea of faces known as credentialed women, I am overjoyed to recognize a wave of diversity. I see women who are not afraid to take the road less traveled. I see women who are more concerned with out-celebrating one another than out-doing one another. I see women who are working to both advance the Kingdom of God and nurture our homes at the same time. I see women who understand what it means to co-labor. A sisterhood is really the best word to define it. We are sisters. Thank you for accepting me into the sisterhood known as Credentialed Women of Pen Florida.

 

In Christ, I want to simply say, “Thank you.”

 

Love Always,

Natalie Barnoske

Youth Alive Missionary, Pen FL

 

Are you both Under 40 and a Credentialed Woman?

Lets connect! I will be at Thrive this week with our Youth Alive Table and I’d love to meet you! My personal email is Natalie@yapfl.com. Also, remember to keep Pastor Deanna Shrodes and PF Women lifted in prayer as they lead us into Thrive weekend!

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