Every woman needs acceptance, love and a place to belong. That’s the underlying theme of the new music CD, A Place to Belong (Lifeway Worship) from singer/songwriter Lisa Troyer, president of Circle of Friends Ministries. Refreshingly authentic and dynamic, the companion worship CD to Troyer’s recently released book, A Place to Belong: Out of Our Comfort Zone and into God’s Adventure (Barbour Publishing), tenderly draws women into a place of true freedom and belonging in the very heart of God.
Troyer encourages women to form their own circle of friends, a safe place of truth and love where women can develop lasting relationships and discover together the purposes of God for their lives.
Q: Why do you believe that women need other women in their lives?
There is an unmatched emotional dimension that develops when women come together—the ability to verbalize dreams, disappointments and desires in a more relational manner than is possible in most male/female relationships. Even though I have been married to a wonderful man for 22 years, there is an intangible essence in female friendships when formed around the centerpiece of a relationship with God. We discover, even though we are different in personality, gifting and preferences, that we were “commonly” designed to encourage and relate to one another in a unique manner.
Q: Why do you think that women tend to shy away from being transparent with other women?
I believe that one of the primary reasons is that we struggle with the truth of being fully accepted by God—even those of us who have known forgiveness and spiritual reconciliation through Jesus. When we really embrace the truth that we are beautiful to our Abba Father, and beloved by Jesus, our spiritual husband, it avails a freedom to be transparent. Self-protective, emotional wall building comes from trust issues unaddressed—often with good reason. The enemy is so skilled in keeping before us the trap of “What would people think if they really knew?”
Q: What are some of the common issues with which women deal but are too afraid to reveal?
Abuse, rejection, shame-based disappointments, feelings of inadequacy and poor self-image based on a false standard perpetuated by the media are just a few. In the church, the feeling of “not knowing enough about the Bible,” struggling in a painful marriage, eating disorders, debt, addiction and depression are prevalent.
Q: How can an atmosphere be created where women are comfortable enough to begin the process of sharing their struggles with other women?
I believe it begins with one person willing to be a light in a dark place. Sometimes the darkness is disguised in “I’m fine” as the stock answer. I believe there is a woman in each community that is called by the Lord to reach out and do as the Woman at the Well did in Samaria: “Come see a man who told me everything I ever did.” When we are willing to step out and admit that we are fallen, God knows it and loves us anyway. That’s the launching point. Providing a “place to belong” is a call to action. And, when we step out of the shadows of our comfort zone and into that adventure that God has planned for us, we find we have a place to belong as well. In being willing to provide that place, we actually gain more than we give.
Q: What caused you to begin dealing honestly with your own issues?
Even though it was scary to do so, I wanted God’s best and admitted that I was weary of dwelling in that wasteland of pretending. It’s like when we physically know we need to address a painful place in our body, the fear is real, but the result from the treatment is health that could never be enjoyed while avoiding the presence of the illness or injury.
Lisa Troyer is available for interviews. Review copies are available.