For years I didn’t have a tribe.
Saying the word “tribe” makes me feel silly, but I believe it’s one of the strongest things we can do to live free as women.
Years ago, I had built a wall around me. I had friends. I was surrounded by people who loved me and I loved them back, but that wall kept them from getting too close. My wall was carefully hidden, nurtured, and visible only when I wanted it to be.
When I sensed God calling me into ministry, I knew that he was asking me to break down that wall.
So I flew solo for a very long time. I worked hard. I was surrounded by people. I prayed and ministered, but that invisible wall stayed in place. It wasn’t intentional.
It is just who I am — I thought.
It was also isolating. Lonely. Exhausting. And I don’t believe it was ever God’s plan for me.
Breaking down that wall
Today, I can share that my wall has not only crumbled, but it’s gone. It’s one of the strongest steps I have ever taken.
Are there risks? There are.
I met women who have hurt my heart. I’ve had to walk in vulnerability. Breaking down that wall means you see my flaws and strengths and goofiness — the whole me. But it also means that I’m surrounded by women who are just as vulnerable, just as strong, just as human, and just as flawed as me.
It’s absolutely freeing!
When we break down our walls, it helps us see the walls other women have in place. We are free to give them grace to break down their walls too.
How do we break down those walls?
I wish there was a formula, but it’s a process instead. My first step was to ask God to help me chisel away at that wall. Second, to understand that there was risk, but also tremendous gain. Breaking down the walls began with breaking down personal barriers I had come to see as truth.
These were a few of my barriers. Those walls started crumbling as I sensed God asking me to:
- Exchange the belief that walls protects me to understand the truth that they isolate me
- Be myself, which gives others permission to be themselves
- Give grace lavishly
- Move on if someone is unhealthy or abusive, but always in wisdom, discernment, and kindness
- Listen, learn, and expand my understanding of others and their experiences
[bctt tweet=”When we begin to break down walls, it doesn’t mean that everyone becomes our best friend, but it does mean that we become stronger. https://wp.me/p4jbdw-4HH #livingfreetogether” username=”suzanneeller”]
Why breaking down walls makes us strong
The greatest reason for breaking down walls is that we are free to discover who we are without walls that keep us hemmed in. We are free to cheer on others as they live without walls.
Your tribe may be a handful of women who walk through life with you. It may be a face-to-face group of women or women you meet online who encourage you (and you encourage them) in faith. It may be that women’s group at church or that Bible study that meets in a coffee shop. It might be that you open your home so that others have a safe place to laugh, talk, dig deep in the Word, and grow in faith.
If you are living behind walls, ask God to help you break them down. I’ll cheer you on as you take that spiritual hedge hammer and take the first crack. We’ll cheer each other on as those walls come tumbling down and with God’s help, we are stronger together.
One of my “tribes” is a team of ordinary women at Proverbs 31 Ministries. Twelve years ago I stepped into this team of women to do ministry with them.
It was one of the ways I knew God was breaking down the walls I had constructed.
Some of these women have become my closest friends. We have wept with each other when a child went astray from faith, or a marriage fell apart when you’ve done all you know to do. We’ve laughed until we cried, and wept real tears from a place of sorrow. Our common bond is a desire to watch women grasp the love of God and walk in that freedom.
Today these women at Proverbs 31 Ministries are doing something special with my book, Come With Me Devotional. They are offering it to anyone who gives a gift of any size to help us reach more women through P31.
I work behind the scenes and get to see the heart of this ministry.
Many of us volunteer (I am one of them) as writers to reach over 1 million women with daily encouragement through Encouragement for Today. I watch as women labor to create Bible studies that reach women in several continents, at no cost. I get to see my friend, Lysa TerKeurst, and her heart for women and see how she leads with integrity and wisdom.
And so much more.
If you’ve been looking for a beautiful, hardbound devotional that will help you walk with Jesus 260 days (five days a week) through the year or want to give one to a friend, you can receive this gorgeous devotional AND help Proverbs 31 Ministries reach even more women across the world with a gift of any amount.
If you want to know more, I hope you’ll visit this page.
Do you need prayer?
If you need prayer today, I have a beautiful tribe of prayer warriors that will gather around you and pray. Just let us know how we can pray. If you don’t have the words, just say, “Pray for me.”
Pray for me my health and emotional stress. I am also Stoping Cigarettes 9/30. Pray for my husband who literally can wake up in a different time period 2-4 times a day. Thank you
Lord, I lift up Elaine to you for her health and emotinal needs. You, Lord, know every cell in Elaine’s body and mind, bring her to perfect health, clear her mind of any stress as she presses into you for comfort, healing and peace. Clear her lungs from any affeccts of cigarettes and give her the strength to quit smoking with no desire or craving for them ever again. Help her honor you in her physical body. I lift her husband up to you too, meet him where he is and bless him today. I thank you Lord for all you are doing in Elaine and her husband’s life. In Jesus name I pray. Amen!
Please pray for Gabrielle’s spiritual, emotional, physical and financial well being. I want God to surround her with angels(heavenly and physically) who will form a hedge around and walk with her daily.
I need Meme to understand that there are more people for her than against her, make her realize that when God on her side she can not lose.
Angela, Lifting Gabrielle up to our heavenly Father for wisdom, discernment, her spiritual, physical and financial needs. Asking God to put a circle of protection around her to guide her steps and actions. Lord let Meme know, without any doubts, that when you are for her absolutley no one or thing can have victory against her, no mattee how the situation looks, you are fighting her battles in the unseen, spiritual realm and when she walks with you, Lord, she walks in victory. In Jesus name, Amen. Have a blessed day and weekend!
i too found that I had many walls… but thru the recovery I found in the 12 step anonymous groups I learned to be open..honest and frank in order to ‘stay’ in a recovered state of body, soul and spirit .however..when I got ‘to church’.. and many Bible Studies I found that my ‘real-ness’ made folks uncomfortable…and truth is I ‘once again’ felt ‘out of the circle’
but by then..I had ‘done my time” in the 12 steps groups so..there was no place for me there..either
what I finally found was this.. although my openness and realness was uncomfortable for some.. and I seemed to be left out.. there were a few who sought me out to meet with them
and that started what I call my one-on-one ministry. so now I’ve got a few gals that I meet with once a week .just one-on-one
so…………………..while it was tough ………………at the beginning……………….it has turned out to be a blessing.
thanks for sharing your story of ‘walls’.. and the outcome.
we all have our walls don’t we.?. the important thing is to not let others dictate how ‘they’ want you to be.. just be the YOU God created you to be.
that’s so true..I too lost many church “friends” due to my sharing the real me with the mistakes and checkered past however I didnt realize how losing them made a way to find women who were open to my mistakes and I felt less judged and more joyous in the end. it’s still a little painful as I loved those other women but I realized that it was conditional on their part. I couldn’t change my past but I could move on from those who discourage and judge..
I have a tribe of real women who love me warts and all.
Beautiful and speaks to my heart.
I”m s ministry wife working through some walls, some hurts, and feeling called in some areas. Please pray for wisdom and discernment to either sit still, stop, or move forward. Pray for His plan to unfold and growth in the struggle. thanks
Jackie, I understand your pain. I am a PK, and I have seen the hurts that can flow into a home who serves the church. I am sorry.
Father, we place Jackie in your arms of care and understanding. You see her heart, and you know her wounds. You too were rejected, so you get it all. We ask you to pour your wisdom, discernment, and steps over Jackie. Bless her in her obedience in you. Amen.
Jackie, my husband and I have been in ministry our whole adult lives. We’ve had our share of pain and disillusionment. Jesus’ conversation with Peter reminds me of why I serve Him. Jesus didn’t ask Peter if he loved the sheep. He asked him, “Do you love me?” That has helped me get up again, perhaps a little wiser and a little closer to my Shepherd. And then He heals my wounds and makes me richer because of them. Blessings to you. God will meet you in the darkness. (Ex. 20:21)
Debbie, How powerful are your words “Jesus didn’t ask Peter if he loved the sheep. He asked him, Do you love me?” When we love our Jesus we can serve even in the most difficult situations and people because HIS love shines through as we walk the path He calls us to.
That is a profound statement, I never though of it that way. Some people, and I ‘m sorry to say, even Christians are hard to love.
Thank you for sharing this.
Please pray for me
Marilyn, Lifting you up to our heavenly Father this morning. He sees you, He knows your needs and most importantly He loves you with a love that only He can give. Praying you have a blessed day and weekend!
Please pray for my family and I.We are all going through a tough season of changes, especially my son, John, who is looking for a job due to a necessary unexpected career switch.Please pray that he not get discouraged and depressed by the process. I know God has a plan for each of us but the waiting is hard.I’m learning to lean into Him and trust, but my children don’t currently have a relationship with Christ to lean on making it harder for them. Please pray that they would both come back to Christ.
Heavenly Father, first and foremost I pray that you would draw Heidi’s children back to you. Put someone in their path that would shine so brightly that they could not help but see you. Lord, waiting is so hard, during dificult times, give Elaine and her children peace that surpasses all understanding. Supply all their needs. Help them to trust that you have the perfect position chosen for John, grant him peace in this journey. I thank you, Lord, for Elaine, and her hearts desire for her sons and that she is able to find comfort in pressing into you. In Jesus name, Amen.
Praying for your family Heidi ♥️🙏🏼
Please pray for my family as we enter in to this season of adopting our third child. Pray that God will continue opening doors that need to be opened and closing others that He does not want us walking through. Pray for the continued strengthening of our hearts to heed the Lords calling in our lives.
Please also pray for my father, he was diagnosed with stage 1 bladder cancer. Pray that the Dr was able to remove all of the cancerous tumors growing in his bladder and that there is no more cancer anywhere in his body. Pray that the Lord heals my father from the inside out and through this healing it is my deepest desire that my father and mother are led to the Lord. As of now they don’t have a very strong belief if any belief at all. I pray for them daily and I know that God is doing a good work within them.
Thank you for allowing me to open up my heart here and share a small part of my life. Thank you more for the prayers. ♥️
Jesus, I pray over Your dear daughter Shannon right now and pray for wisdom and discernment as they continue to walk through this amazing adoption process. Thank You for providing for her, Lord! I know You are always a step ahead of them, and in the midst of them, Jesus, and I pray You will help Shannon and her family to cling to Your promise of provision in this time. Father, I thank You for the life You’ve given us through You and I pray that You will use Shannon and her family to reach her parents that they may come to know You as well. Through Your blood, Jesus, I thank You for the healing we can pray for for Shannon’s father. Cover His every cell, Lord, and breathe life into him – both physically and spiritually. Encourage Shannon in her walk with You, Jesus, and help her to feel You meeting her exactly where she needs You every second of every day. We love You, Lord, and thank You that we can so boldly pray for and expect with anticipation that You will meet our every need. Amen.
I have been in ministry, I have been a caregiver. I am married to a smoker and pray he will quit. I ride in a semi with him most of each week. It is hard to stay close to women when I am not home. I have gained unhealthy weight. Please pray i can get control of my eating and be healthier. My ministry now is encouraged and prayer warrior. I lift you Suzie and your tribe to our Abba God with thanksgiving. I give thanks for technology that keeps me connected. Praise be to God.
Father, I pray that You will encourage Mary in her walk with You. Give her the guidance she asks for as she seeks You in her quest for health. Lord, I pray You break the chains of her husband’s addiction to smoking and that You will instead replace it with a hunger for You. Cover and protect them in their travels. Amen.
Pray for me.
Father, I pray You meet Dot where she is and help her to feel You surrounding her with Your love. Give her the strength she needs to walk through her days and help her to find peace in You. Amen.
Please pray for me as I am the mother of a 33yr old intellectual delayed who is very high functioning, has a job, assistant teacher in the children’s ministry and is very normal to everyone. Lately my son has been just giving me problems by not following directions at work, because he is acting up and wants attention, also, giving me legal problems by saying he is going to commit suicide, which he says when he sees or hears some type of announcement. My son is very suggestive, so whatever he is asked he always says yes and that is where I end up having authorities at my house. I am at the end of my rope. He has entered chat rooms and was swindled 1200.00. He tells lies to his coworkers where they look at me as a neglectful mother, etc. I need God’s hand to touch me and give me strength and courage to fight all of this evil that is coming to my house. He was never like this and everyday there is something new. Thank you.
Yes, please pray for me. You see, I don’t have a tribe, never have. And I’m currently going through a storm that has destroyed my boat and left me floating through the turbulent waters alone. Thirsty, weary, ready to let go and just sink to the bottom.
dear sheila … my heart wept when I read your message.. yes.. prayers are the gateway to getting out of any storm we are in…. the best help I ever got was from a gal in a wheelchair (of her own making.. drunk driving as a teen..she’s now in her late 50’s)… she once told me.. (as I was in a space like you’re in).. Joyce.. when all is gone.. physically,
emotionally/mentally and spiritually you’re at the bottom.. going down for the third time.. as I was after my life-changed because of the car accident (at the bottom. & in a deep pit)
I ..had nowhere to look..
no one to go to.- not one more Bible study..not one more new book..nor one more church service.. –.but I found at that bottom…””’WHEN Jesus is ALL you have —- Jesus is ALL you need”
Sheila..I’ve never forgotten her words..and I have found with each change of season in my life.. her words to be absolutely true..
My prayer for you is…………………to find Jesus at the bottom of the pit… in the middle of the storm..and walking toward you on the stormy waves..
JESUS + nothing = Everything..
xoxo Joyce H.
Joyce, such beautiful and wise words. “Find Jesus at the bottom.”
Sheila, my hurts for your heart. My soul aches for your longing. I am sorry.
Father, wrap your arms tightly around Sheila and remind her you are holding her in your strong arms of “you are never alone, my daughter.” May she see your love and care today. Protect Sheila in her thoughts and remind her of your deep love. Amen.
Sheila, my prayer is that we are your tribe. You are not alone in this. Praying for you today!
Pray for me! I feel broken and lost!
Lord, I pray for Melissa today. You leave the 99 behind to find the 1 and today I thank you that Melissa is firmly in your sights. Wrap her in your love and confidence. Pour out your healing power over her heart and thoughts. Thank you that she was brave and courageous to share her need. We all need you. We all know that feeling, and today we come around her as we lift her up in prayer, amen.