Foreword to Sacred Friendships
Imagine 10,000 women lifting their hands to the God they love. Hundreds of them lining up at the altar. Some weeping. A few smiling. Many on their knees before the Lord. All of them hungry to know God more intimately. As President and host of Extraordinary Women conferences, I watch tens of thousands of women fill arenas and mega-churches across America to connect with other women, to be encouraged by God’s Word, and to find hope and healing for the hurt in their lives.
Who are these women? They are mothers. Grandmothers. Wives. Daughters. Women of influence—in their families and throughout their communities. Many are ministry leaders in their own churches. They are women who are making a difference in the lives of their children, marriages, churches, and communities. These amazing women of today long to be encouraged by equally remarkable women from the halls of church history.
Hebrews 12:1 speaks of a great cloud of spiritual witnesses. Ordinary people who lived extraordinary lives. For the past 2,000 years, that cloud has expanded exponentially. What we so often fail to hear is the incredible testimony of those extraordinary women in that great cloud, their godly lives, life lessons, and powerful ministries.
Dr. Bob Kellemen and Susan Ellis, in their compelling work, Sacred Friendships, provide a voice for the voiceless. Like never before, they tell “her story”—the story of our great female forbears in the faith. As they tell it, and as we listen, we do not simply learn historical facts; we are empowered and equipped to practice soul care and spiritual direction today.
By the way, please do not assume that Sacred Friendships is for women only! Nothing could be further from the truth. Sacred Friendships is a gift from women of the past to women and men of the present—a gift that teaches all of us how to use Christ’s changeless truth to change lives in our ever-changing times.
That said, Sacred Friendships is also a gift to women. It validates the twin truths of the spiritual equality of women and of the spiritual giftedness of women. I promise you, you can’t read this book without praising God for how He has and will continue to use women to advance His Kingdom purposes. As you read the previously untold stories of over fifty extraordinary women, if you are a woman, you will never look at yourself the same way again. If you are a man, you will never look at your wife, daughter, mother, or sister the same way again.
Lay people—male and female, students, professional Christian counselors, pastors, and spiritual directors will all glean a wealth of life-changing ministry principles from the unburied treasure of historic feminine soul care and spiritual direction. You will finish Sacred Friendships saying, “I never realized how fascinating church history is. I never fully appreciated the depth of the spiritual riches that arose through the previously unheard history of women’s ministry. I never understood how relevant it is to my life and ministry today.”
Sit back and enjoy this amazing gift.
President, Extraordinary Women