By Becky Klein
What is sisterhood, anyway? In my experience it has been the blessing to have one or more women who share a common bond; who share confidences without assigning judgement and without violating trust; and whom provide hope and solace when encountering times of difficulty, confusion or sadness.
Over the years, I have found sisterhood in a few select instances that were, and continue to be, extremely meaningful to me. One of those times was when I deployed in the military to the Middle East. I was one of two women who deployed from my unit. I arrived in a strange land knowing no one but my fellow female colleague. Soon, we not only bonded with each other; but also, with the other few women in uniform in our Tent City. We experienced together the realities of daily military life like adjusting to out-houses and weekly showers. We also fretted about our children and family on the other side of the world. We were concerned with keeping up physically with our male colleagues. We also had shared interests in our eating habits, keeping our tents tidy; and even partook in random urges like ensuring we had pretty painted toes inside our hardened military boots. Moreover, we had to accustom ourselves to a land that segregated women in public places, limited our activities like driving and going to the gym, and forced restrictions on what we could wear when we went off base.
None of us knew what the next day would bring given the daily scud missile alerts and threats of a chemical or biological war. Having a group of women that experienced together these pressures and anomalies was comforting. It gave us confidence in each other and in ourselves. The sisterhood was a safe haven from existential and external threats.
I also have experienced sisterhood in my office. Over ninety-percent of the people I have employed have been women. Not because I have pre-meditated that, but because women have shown up in my orbit that happen to be the most qualified and experienced for the jobs. Moreover, the other companies that share space in my office suite are run by women who have also employed mostly females. Over the course of the last twelve years, this group of professional women have come together to learn from each other professionally and personally.
For instance, last week fifteen of us gathered in the office for lunch while listening to a female author teach us about what it means for women to become financial savvy and independent. We shared stories and questions about our relationship and philosophy about money. This topic is often difficult to discuss with our significant others, much less with officemates. However, as a sisterhood of professionals, we felt safe in sharing sensitive conversations and personal financial worries. We left the lunch each more enriched by learning from each other’s tribulations, and wisdoms.
Christian Latina Leadership Institute (CLLI) provides the same kind of sisterhood experience. However, given that the foundation of CLLI is anchored in the power, grace and wisdom of the Word of God, the CLLI sisterhood is a much deeper experience. It’s not just about having shared geographical bonds due to external threats. It is more than coming together due to professional commonalities and goals.
CLLI provides a network of women who walk in the Light of the Holy Spirit and exude the love of Christ—a love that is changeless regardless of circumstances, time or distance. The sisterhood of CLLI provides a place of learning through grace and empowerment. The sisterhood of CLLI understands that we are each eternal and a reflection of Godself. It’s not about uniting due to life’s externalities; but rather, it’s about connecting from that spot deep within ourselves that yearns to know profoundly our Creator and to share with each other God’s His purpose for us in this dimension of life.
I hope you have had a sisterhood experience. But more so, my prayer is that you are called to come join the sisterhood at CLLI, and grow with us as we learn to lead in the power and grace of God.