Written by Erica Campbell
I remember the first time I strolled through the pebbled streets in Charleston, S.C. It’s such a beautiful, quaint city full of vibrant colors and southern charm. While walking through the Historic City Market, one booth stood out. Several artisans sat there weaving together baskets of all sizes, colors, and shapes—each one unique and crafted in such delicate manner. As I stood admiring their artwork, one of the gentlemen handed me a palmetto rose he had just finished creating.
After researching this ancient craft called “basket weaving,” I learned a few things. First, these baskets (known as “fanners”) were originally used by old-world, West-African rice farmers in the process called “winnowing”, where they would toss hulls into the air to separate the chaff from the rice. Though the skill was developed in Sierra Leone, it eventually made its way to Charleston, SC in the 17th Century. The baskets are made using sweetgrass, palmetto, bull rush, and longleaf pine. As a history buff, I found all this miscellaneous information, about a topic most people would never investigate, very interesting. However, what I found most noteworthy about basket-weaving is how strong the baskets created through this process are. These hand-crafted baskets are woven so tightly together that they can hold water, and last a lifetime.
Maybe you’re thinking, “What does basket weaving have to do with sisterhood?” Allow me to answer that question. First, let me tell you my heart truly desires to see women from different generations, cultures, denominations, and backgrounds, come together as sisters in Christ and allow our Heavenly Father to advance His Kingdom through us. Although, I have hope that what I’m seeing around me is the beginning stage of this—not only among women, but within God’s Kingdom at large—I still sense a deep urgency about this matter.
While in prison, Paul wrote a letter to the church in Colossae encouraging them to stand firm and united against false teachers who were attacking the church by denigrating the deity of Jesus. Paul says to these Colossian believers, “My goal is that they (referring to the Laodiceans, Colossians, and all believers who had yet to meet Paul) may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col. 2:2)
In this text, Paul clearly links the church’s being “united in love” with their ability to fully receive the “riches of complete understanding” and the knowledge of “the mystery of God.” Wow! That’s a huge statement! In other words, we cannot allow worldly influences, church politics, and our differences to prevent us from receiving the fullness of God. Ladies, we must be woven together tightly, forming a sisterhood that’s willing to lay all these things aside and exalt the name that is above every name.
Jessica Honegger, founder of Noonday Collection, made this profound statement in her new book Imperfect Courage: “The sisterhood effect happens when women refuse to let perceived threats strangle our relationships, when we let empathy triumph over judgement, and let collaboration win over comparison.”
My dear sisters in Christ, like a basket delicately woven together, will we allow our Creator to weave us into a sisterhood that can literally change the world? Can you imagine what we could do together, unified, using our strengths and gifts to bring others into the Kingdom? Let’s stop getting caught up in all the personal preferences and comparisons. Let’s start getting caught up in who God is. I believe with all my heart that the Father is doing magnificent things and, further, that He invites us to all play a role in his grand story. However, discord, disunity, and division stand in the way. So, I encourage us to resist “strangled relationships” by refusing judgement and comparison. Let’s say “no” to competing against each other, and let’s be simply and profoundly united in love. Let us allow the Father do His work.