Sisters for Life
Updated: Dec 5, 2021
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She is my bestest bestie of all time. If you know me, you know who she is if you've been around me long enough hanging out with me online you've seen us, but if not I'm going to introduce you to her. We have been friends for over 40 years.
The cool part about our friendship is we have lived away from each other, which is the majority of our lives.
We met in high school and became friends. We were friends for like a year and a half.
After high school we both moved away, one of us moved to Wisconsin the other one to California and God brought us back together about a year and a half later. We wrote letters to each other. The amazing and awesome part was that we both were serving Jesus, at the same time. That was what was really cool because we weren’t serving Him in high school.
We won't go there, but praise God there was no social media back then.
Throughout the years we were able to stay in touch, even though we've always lived apart in different states.
We talk on the phone, text, Facebook message, and all those kinds of things. I really want to encourage you to build relationships with your best friend or with somebody that is like a sister to you. It can be done.
We share our secrets, the sad things, and the happy things. You know the things we need people to pray for that maybe we don't want everyone on Facebook to know about. We text each other or call and say, please pray for my child, grandchild, or whatever it is that we're dealing with in our lives.
My friend Ann Rakestraw is a wife, mom, and Gigi,
But Ann is also a mighty woman of God. That is why I had her come on the show. Not just because she's my bestie, but because she has been faithful through so many times in her life where things were just turned upside down.
She's going to share with us when she didn't have godly confidence and how it affected her.
Ann: My word is intentional. If you're intentional about it, the Lord will bless and give you godly relationships or friendships.
But one time in my life when I would say I really struggled with walking in godly confidence was dealing with the aftermath of my divorce. I was married for 27 years to a minister.
We went through a lot of heartache and pain in our relationship and it ended in divorce after 27 years. We had three children together.
If you've been divorced, or if your parents have been divorced, you know it affects everybody. My youngest son was 10 years old so he was the only child still left at home. That was a pivotal time in my life.
You have divorce and after divorce. Some people might say you have before cancer and after cancer. It's a defining moment in your life.
It was so painful for my son. I questioned myself because of how he was dealing with it, and the effect, it had on him.
That really shook me, you know. Did I do the right thing? Am I doing the right thing? I had to get out of that situation. God has restored and made all things new. He brought us through.
God says when He has joined two people together let no man put asunder.
When man puts it asunder, it's going to be messy and ugly. It's going to be painful because you are breaking something that is never intended to be broken.
Navigating through that was so hard. For a while I really struggled with it. I struggled with trusting God.
How can this situation ever be better than it is right now? I just could not see how. Later on I'll share some scriptures that got me through that. I always go back to the Word.
I'm an English teacher. That's what I do for my job. I am also a Bible teacher. I tell everybody there is no substitute for knowing the Word of God. Good preaching is great. I read amazing books that have really helped me but I’m telling you there is nothing like the power in His Word. You must know the Word and His promises. You could be going through a divorce yourself, you could be going through cancer, maybe the death of a close loved one or even death of a spouse, or loss of a job. Your world is flipped upside down. You're not alone! Praise God and also my friendships with my godly sisters like Michele.
Michele: What is your best advice for women who struggle with insecurity?
Ann: Sometimes you cannot pray for yourself because you are so low.
Sometimes you're in a such a dark valley and need somebody to stand in the gap for you. That's why it’s important to have those godly sister relationships to lean on. And you know God's Word says, “I'm the God of all hope.” in Jeremiah 29:11 He says, “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Why would He plan hope for you if you weren't gonna need it. He knew we would need it for godly friendships.
His mercy endures forever and he is faithful and another thing that got me through is listening to worship music.
Michele: I want to emphasize godly relationships. You can have all the friends but if they don’t know Jesus they're not going to give you good counsel. You love them and that's okay. I'm not telling you not to have them, but I want to encourage you to have godly ones too.
Ann: It's like the blind leading the blind, they can't give you something they don’t have. Cultivating godly relationships is very important, I agree with that wholeheartedly.
Michele: Okay So besides the scripture you just shared with us, is there another scripture that is one of your favorites to encourage women in their walk in the confidence of Christ?
Ann: John 3:17 is one of my favorites and also 1st John 1:9. It says, if we confess our sins, it's an if then statement, if you do this if we confess, our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of all of our sins and to cleanse us from all and righteousness. That's powerful! My last one is Colossians 3:1-3. It says, if you were raised with Christ seek those things which are above. He tells us what we’re to go after in life. Seek those things which are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of the father in the place of authority. Then verse two and three says set your mind on things above not on earthly things.
I think you can see why these particular scriptures are so important to me, and I know them all by heart. There's a lot of scriptures that I love, but I'm telling you, these are my go to’s.
Michele: What is your favorite way to encourage and witness to other women?
I know you've been involved in so many things like women's ministry, adult Sunday school, children's ministry, and so much more. Right now you are involved in an amazing group that God opened the door to so tell us what that is and how women can connect.
Ann: Yes, it's actually a prayer ministry to wives. It’s a marriage ministry and the name of the group is Glorious Marriage Revolution.
It’s on Facebook, so you can join the group there. We encourage women in their pursuit of a godly marriage and further than that which is we just encourage women in the Lord. Even if you're not married this group is for you as well.
There is a prayer team, called the inner court sanctuary prayer team and we love to take women's needs to the throne on their behalf and see God move in their lives. We share scripture with them and encouragement from God’s Word.
One of my favorite ways to encourage women is just to be a godly friend. I tell you one thing that stands out to me when I think about just being a good friend to someone is several years ago when I was student teaching.
My teacher that was over me said she did not really know the Lord, but she was going through cancer at the time. She would see how much I was involved in church and how much I loved being involved in ministry.
She saw me texting my sisters in the Lord and just encouraging each other. She saw how much I enjoyed it and told me later that made her want
relationships like I had with the women from my church.
Through that she started looking for a church to be involved in, and she came to know the Lord. She started going to Bible study, learning His Word, and making godly friendships just from being around me.
Just us living our lives and being a godly friend you're shining His light. If you're walking in the light than it is shining through you. You don’t even have to try. Others will see it and they will be drawn to it.
We should never ever underestimate the power of a godly friendship.
You never know what God's going to do through you for that person.
Michele: I’ve got to share this about my sweet friend and sister. She is so friendly and kind, but she used to be very shy.
Believe it or not, so was I. We both needed liquid courage when we were in high school just to have a personality, because we were terrified
of social interaction.
Ann: I'll tell you a quick little story, because you brought up how shy I used to be. I wouldn't even pray out loud for people. I wouldn't start conversations when they needed one. I would avoid doing oral book reports back in the day like they were the plague. I would just not go to class that day, because I was so fearful of doing it. It was a fear of failure.
But when I got saved I had a hunger for His Word and I would see other women make it look so easy. I thought man I will never be like that. I could never do that kind of thing.
I remember the first class I taught at church on a Wednesday night to the whole congregation. This sweet older man came up to me and said, “I just can't imagine you standing up there teaching the class,” because he knew how shy I was. I said, “Well George you know that's the Lord is all I can say. I tell you I did it scared.
And the very first time I did a tiny devotional at a Christmas party someone asked me to share. But I reminded myself, you know what you told the Lord. If he would give you an opportunity you wouldn't say no. So girl you got to do it. You got to put your big girl panties on and do it.
I'm going into the bathroom right before that devotion started. There were about 30 or so people there. I was so scared my knees were knocking. I said, Lord if there's any way to get me out of this, get me out of this. But if you see fit to get me through this bathroom situation and put me back out there, I will do it the best that I can for your glory. I dedicated everything I did to Him and asked for His help step by step. He helped me grow into where I was able to stand on a platform and speak to a lot of people. That's the Lord y'all. If you commit your ways to God, He will bless you and take you farther than you could ever imagine.
If you want to connect with Ann and the Glorious Marriage Revolution, be sure and look for the group on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/groups/GloriousMarriageRevolution/
If you were encouraged by this please share with others and keep walking in the confidence of Christ.