Let me tell you about Sisterhood.

We had been singing for a good twenty minutes, dancing, arms raised, sharing grins with strangers, bound together by the giddiness of the men of the church dressed in suits handing us little pink cupcakes at the door, the flower crowns and the click of the camera, the massages and manicures being offered in the lobby. The music that swept through the room in a crazy crescendo of lights.  The fact that we are celebrating womanhood tonight, exploring what it means to be women in the body of Christ that is the church.  Less so for me, but I know for the people around me: exploring what it means to be a woman in this body of Christ and this church that is Hillsong Buenos Aires.

It was a full house, and I’d been sent straight to standing room on the balcony, just barely snagged a spot at the rail to prop myself up on, with a good view of the stage.  When this girl with a curly mane of dark hair and a star-speckled top nudges up against me during the prayer.  I give her a look, and she smiles at me, not a hint of aggression or irony, a real smile, friend-to-friend.  She nudges up against my shoulder, pushes past me, and I step back in surprise.  It becomes clear as her face lights up – she just wants a spot at the rail. She cranes her neck – she just wants to see the pastor’s wife, Lucy, as she sets up her Bible on the podium to speak.  The trouble is, so do I – one hand firmly planted on the railing, I grit my teeth and prepare to dig my heels in.  But then I take a second look at her.  And I pick up my bag and my coat and I went to lean against the wall to listen to the sermon.

Because let me tell you, this girl was electric.  She was humming.  The energy that had been crackling in the room had taken root inside her – everything she touched sparked under her fingers.  You could see it in the back of her eyes, in the grin that may have permanently stretched from ear to ear, in the way she pulled off the cap of her pen with her teeth and poised it over her notebook, attention riveted on Lucy’s words.  This girl was sisterhood.

Because sisterhood is about wanting to see, not be seen.

Because sisterhood is not about defending your place at the railing.

Sisterhood is a worldwide movement for women by Hillsong Church.  There is declaration, written by Hillsong principal pastor and Sisterhood founder Bobby Houston.  We read it last night in Spanish, and I looked it up in English when I got home.

I AM SISTERHOOD is a declaration.

It is our collective here and now – and belongs to any feminine soul, who somehow believes that she was born for more than what is temporal and fleeting.

It’s for women of all ages and background, personality and style, colour and vibrancy. It’s for the bold and bodacious, the demure and unassuming.

It’s the sisterhood that perhaps heaven imagined when a very intentional Creator created His girls. It’s strong and beautiful, feminine and gracious, authoritative and gentle and above all else, welcomes the broken and discarded.

Welcomes the broken and discarded.

Whichever way you see or understand it, it is a growing movement of women across the earth.

Applause thundered through the theater as Lucy spoke, fighting back tears the whole time.  The depth of her affection for us as her sisters in Christ and for the women of these church was evident by the emotion in every syllable.  But for every moment that her voice broke, there were a hundred more in which it boomed through the room without a tremor of doubt as she empowered and encouraged us as women with words of truth.  You are unique.  You are special.  You are created in the image of God.  There is greatness in you.  Don’t believe the enemy, who wants to limit you.  You were created to get up and overcome darkness, you were created to show your light, for Him to shine through you.  Open your life!  My heart sang as I recognized that this was both the what now and the why, that who I am is who I am because of what God says is true about me and who I am shapes what I do and what I do has purpose designed by the Creator of all living things.

And I am special, I am purposed, I am able but I am not alone.  When we are able to realize that we are uniquely created, we are able to disentangle ourselves from competition.  And when we are filled with confidence and conviction of who we are as women of God, it overflows into the way we see other women as women of God, women of purpose, women of greatness.  It doesn’t make us perfect, and it doesn’t make them perfect either, but it does make us powerful.

And this process is hard but it’s worth it, because sisterhood is messy, but marvelous.  Sisterhood is the idea that you see someone’s beauty before you see their brokenness.  You see their soul before you see their shortcoming.  You recognize that someone else was born for more than what is temporal and fleeting, and that gives them something in common with you.  It’s the truth that utterly changes who you are and when you’re changed, it changes who they are to you.

It’s not becoming something new, it’s stepping into the reality and the richness of who we’ve always been.  Daughters of the King, sisters in the Lord.  The three goals of Sisterhood are to come together, to equip, and to mobilize.  We are an army of women who know our worth, and we are going to change the world.  One shared smile at a time.

Want more on the Sisterhood movement from Hillsong? Click here.