The Women Who Stayed

This is for us women who are deciding to support each other and not be the “mean girl” any longer.

The resurrection of Jesus is this beautiful and amazing story. The first witnesses to all of it is the women who stayed with Jesus and the relationships they had with each other.

John 19:25 – Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene.

Of course we know that the men scattered. Except John because he is also mentioned in John 19. The women—together—stayed through the entire horror of the crucifixion.

Matthew 27:57-61 – As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, 58 went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. 59 Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. 60 He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. 61 Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.

After watching the horror of the crucifixion, the women continued to stay close to the scene—together.  

Mark 16:1-4 – Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on Sunday morning just at sunrise, they went to the tomb. 3 On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4 But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside.

The women were together, planning and preparing. Notice the relationship they had with each other.

Luke 24:9-10 – So they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women who told the apostles what had happened.

The women knew first. Together the women knew first and then spread the good news. This is the good news that changed my life.

These women were in relationship with each other. Notice how they stayed together after Jesus died. Did they go to one person’s home and sit together in lost disbelief? Did being together help them process their grief? Did they stay together to practice Sabbath together? When did the men join or rejoin them? Did they help the men process their grief?

It was the women—together—who came up with the plan to give Jesus a proper burial. Did this idea to give Jesus a proper burial come from trying to process their collective grief? What conversations were had as they were collecting the spices and oil for this proper burial? Did the preparation for this new goal of honoring Jesus’ dead body give them some purpose in their grief?

Did any of them secretly believe that Jesus would rise from the dead? Is this why they went so early? Did they talk about that possibility together? What was their conversation about on the way to the tomb? Was there any conversation? We know one question was, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?

On the way from the tomb what was their conversation? “Jesus is alive!” “I knew it!” “Can you believe what an angel looks like?”

Can you imagine the emotions in those moments? All of the emotions? Can you imagine sharing those emotions in the safety of other women?

The women who followed Jesus—all the way to the foot of the cross and then to the tomb—were in relationship with each other. They weren’t competing to get Jesus’ attention at the expense of the other. They weren’t grouping into gossipy cliques. They weren’t threatened by the other. They weren’t criticizing the color choice of their head coverings. They didn’t communicate with eye rolls.

I actually can’t say I know this for sure. I am making a solid guess that they were so sure of who they were because they knew how Jesus saw them that none of this “women drama” was necessary to create their own powerful identity.

Because you know today that every eye roll is really saying “I need some power in this moment to know that I matter.”

These women’s insecurities were healed because of their proximity to Jesus. They recognized their power—in a time when women had very little power—and used it without devouring the other women in the group. They used their power together.

This is the beautiful gift of people. Women, we can have this with each other.

We don’t need be defined by comparing ourselves to each other. Our insecurities can be healed when we learn how Jesus sees us. This healing can help us bravely lean into vulnerability with each other. To risk the fear of gossip. To risk the possibility of having an honest moment of sharing true emotions and then leaving that honest moment trusting that it won’t show up on someone’s Instagram story. To find the beauty of our strength when we are together as women figuring life out.

People are a part of our spiritual formation. Women, we need each other in ways that only women need.

I am willing to risk the hurt from other women to have women in my life. This is a brave decision but my identity is in Jesus so I want to do more brave things with women alongside with me.

What if we see an angel also? What if we—together—can show the broken world Jesus in his truthful beauty?

Read the book

A small book about being the people that hurting people need.

“This is the book that I wish I had had for people in my life that have suffered and needed me to be that compassionate friend. This is the book that I wish others in my life had read before they dismissed my pain, or compared it to theirs, or stumbled horribly through trying to lessen my pain because it was actually really about THEM not feeling comfortable with it.”

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