Women of all races and religions deal with different obstacles â€” depression, unplanned pregnancies, abusive relationships and struggling marriages.
When interacting in the outside world, however, many try to hide their suffering.
â€œA lot of women are so bound up,â€ said Joeanne McSwain, a prophetess and co-founder of Women Ministries of Reconciliation. â€œWhen we go out our doors, we have this image â€˜Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with me.â€™â€
Wanting to keep up that public face deters many from seeking the help they need.
Sometimes women are ashamed to admit their struggles after proclaiming they have been saved. Other times, they fear their preacher will turn their story into a sermon.
For this reason, McSwain felt compelled to begin Women Ministries of Reconciliation, a group which will meet every third Saturday at McSwainâ€™s home.
McSwain had a vision prompting her to start the ministry several years ago. Just four months ago, however, the urge to organize became much stronger.
â€œThe Lord impressed on my heart â€” itâ€™s time to do this,â€ she said.
Through prayer she found six other women, all acquaintances of hers, to work with the group. After fasting, praying and having an organizational first meeting, the women were ready to invite the public.
This Saturday marks the first official meeting of Women Ministries of Reconciliation, and McSwain wants women of all backgrounds and life experiences to come.
The goal of the group is for â€œWomen to mentor women in the word of God,â€ and McSwain says no one will be judged.
â€œI want the prostitutes to come here. I want the drug addicts to come here â€¦ If (women) want to wear their daisy duke shorts, we are not going to condemn them,â€ she said. â€œWe are going to show them love.â€
McSwain and the other six women leading the group have all struggled with their own obstacles including divorce and having children out of wedlock.
They believe spirituality helped them survive.
â€œGod is always there. His grace is sufficient,â€ McSwain said. â€œItâ€™s more than enough to get you through.â€
The group meeting will include scripture, prayer, singing and sharing stories.
â€œAnd then, of course, weâ€™ve got to eat,â€ McSwain said.
No one younger than age 18 is allowed to attend, and the meeting will be kept confidential.
â€œThis is about Kingdom work,â€ McSwain said. â€œItâ€™s not about getting into peopleâ€™s business.â€
All seven women involved in the ministry have big plans and expect to see it consistently grow.
â€œItâ€™s not a fly-by-night thing,â€ McSwain said. â€œIt is a vision from God that we are going to see through.â€
The first meeting will be held on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1527 West Dale Lane in Lincolnton. No one younger than 18 will be allowed to attend and the meeting will be confidential. For more information call Prophetess Joeanne McSwain at (704) 735-7817 or Prophetess Delphine Moore at (704) 735-8627.
Other group leaders are evangelists Tina Odom, Elizabeth Rutherford and Charlena Butler and lay people Rosehetta Forney Sherrill and Audrey Williams.
by Sarah Grano