Women Helping Women Workshop: A Reflection

By Jane Highley

Last month, I attended a Harvest USA workshop called “Women Helping Women.” I knew that, as a youth group volunteer, I should attend. But I also had a few other reasons to go. But when I arrived to the packed room upstairs, I wondered why all these women were here. What were their stories? What compelled them to spend six prime hours on a Saturday sitting indoors? I don’t know their stories, and I will probably never find out, but their attendance on this day makes these women revolutionaries.

“What? That seems overly dramatic. What did they do other than to show up?”

Yes, exactly. That’s the first extraordinary move made by these women – to decide to come. Even though this workshop was, on a broad scale, a “how-to” on personal ministry and discipleship among women, the focus was on sexuality and the related sin struggles that eventually present the need for such intentional ministry and discipleship. These women came with personal burdens or those of others, with questions that they may have found difficult to ask in an ordinary Bible study or Sunday school class. So coming to this workshop was a brave and bold step towards learning biblical truth, embracing grace, and finding hope – not just with regards to sexuality, but to all the other roles and titles that make up one’s whole identity.

“So what’s the big deal?”

It’s this: These women who attended the workshop have been given practical and powerful tools, especially Harvest USA’s “Tree Model,” to begin conversations in their own circles about sexual struggles and the change that the Bible promises. Also, through the encouragement and example of the Harvest USA sisters who led the four sessions, the attendees know that they have a supportive and well-equipped resource to cheer alongside them. Because I was one of those attendees, my hope is that a women’s support group can begin at our church. This support group will be a place of refuge for women who are dealing with sexual struggles of their own, of their husbands, or of their friends or relatives. Nothing feels worse than to think you are all alone because you assume everybody else is fine and “normal” – and the power of a support group would provide not just confidential community, but also the hope and love from others who are in similar paths or from those who have walked that path.