Conversations that Build Faith and Friendships
by Rachael Crabb, Sonya Reeder and Diana Calvin
Every woman longs to be heard, seen and fully known by other women. One of the best ways to encourage this kind of discovery is through conversations that matter. As a woman reveals her story in all its complexity and is received in ways that reflect the Father’s grace and love, she opens herself to the work of the Spirit, who longs to redeem her sin and release her uniquely feminine beauty.
Allow me—Rachael—to introduce you to two of my friends who have experienced the power of real talk among real women. The three of us wanted this project to come from live conversations—nothing scripted—that offer an opportunity to listen in on three women who, despite their daily struggles, want to know God deeply. We know that the kind of conversations that we model in this book can help us to love God more and love each other in new, better ways.
I met Sonya Reeder and her husband, David, when she was a student in Larry’s counseling program. In class Sonya sat in the back and seemed to hope no one would notice her. Outside of class, however, she sought me out as a mentor. Our twenty-year age difference melts away when we are together, and we still see each other every year at our friend Joanie’s ranch in Texas.
I’m with other women a lot, counseling and speaking, and through the years I’ve seen them struggle to know what it means to be a lovely woman for the glory of God. I wrestle with that issue myself. What books can I give women to point them in a direction beyond their own longings and desires? I want us to speak about brokenness and repentance, words that don’t often make it into women’s books. We can’t give our readers any easy answers about how to be lovely or how to be a woman, because we’re stumbling along ourselves. But we can talk about finding God in the midst of wrestling with these questions.
I want to have the kind of conversations in which I invite other women to truly see me and to speak into my life with truth and love, not fluff. I want my friends to see me at my very worst and still love me, and I know other women want that too. I think community and good conversations are so essential to finding God. I want people to see me, and I want to see them, in ways that somehow encourage us all to want more of Christ.
Larry and I met Diana Calvin when we served together in Russia on a team to encourage missionaries. Of the younger ones in the group, I immediately recognized Diana as a real sharpie. Our closer contact with her came a few years ago when she attended Larry’s School of Spiritual Direction. Since then, we have kept in touch and have come to know her husband, John, and daughter, Emily, as well.
When I talk with women about what is really on their hearts, I am amazed at the beauty that surfaces. There is something stunning about a woman who lets down her guard. So why are these conversations so rare? Why do we struggle, even among the closest of friends, with the temptation to pretend or dramatize or hide or push away? I want to explore the possibilities for what could happen when a conversation becomes real and women reveal what is truest about themselves. I think that’s where we would most clearly see the presence of Christ in us and in one another, and where our small stories could most clearly be seen in light of God’s bigger story.
As the older woman here, I (Rachael) am interested in writing this book to show how events in our past shape our whole lives as women. I hope that others can hear our discussions and feel encouraged to tell their own stories as well. Proverbs 18:21 tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue. I want women to see the power that words can have for good or bad as we have conversations that matter. I want us to talk about—and encourage other women to talk about—the most important thing in our lives, and that should be to bring glory to Jesus Christ.
We’re three distinct and different voices coming together to sing in harmony and talk about what it means to be a woman of beauty. And we invite you to listen in. We hope that even as you hear voices that are a bit off-tune or out-of-sync, you’ll recognize the common melody in a song that every woman longs to sing.
Excerpt from Listen In by Rachael Crabb, Sonya Reeder and Diana Calvin
Foreword and Afterword by Larry Crabb
Excerpt taken from the introduction: “Three Voices, One Song”
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