Thirteen — A Story of Community


A little more than two years ago, I packed my secondhand cheetah print suitcase, boarded a plane and headed for a remote Texas canyon cut by the Frio River. I was excited to be attending my first writers’ conference, and nervous. I wasn’t an author, wasn’t writing a book, had no plans to write a book, and wasn’t published, but I do love words, write a blog and a little poetry, and love photography.

The days in the canyon were good and hard, challenging and encouraging. I was rooming with a woman I’d never met (who turned out to be lovely), was missing my daughter’s first high school homecoming dance, and also desperately needed this time to heal and remember how to breathe.

Something happened in the still of the canyon. God spoke and invited me to trust Him again.

He spoke through twelve, fierce, funny, wise, compassionate, slightly irreverent, deeply encouraging, sword-wielding women. Warriors steeped in Jesus.


Twelve women who rallied around and prayed me through surgery two days after leaving the canyon and we’ve been praying together ever since. An unlikely band of thirteen and my heroines of the faith.

We are young and old, mothers and grandmothers through birth, marriage and adoption. Black and white. Big city and small town. Affluent and just getting by. We are teachers and lawyers, authors and social workers, singers and nurses, poets and cooks, crafters and pastor’s wives, editors and homeschoolers, businesswomen and photographers. We are young women and empty-nesters, coast-to-coast, north, south, east and west.

We are Louboutin pumps and flip-flops, cowboy boots and baseball caps, business suits and feather boas. We are spired churches and expansive auditoriums, and we are sports fans.

We are thirteen brave, strong, broken, grace-filled women sharing this journey through life – celebrating, weeping, laughing, beseeching, cheering, groaning, ever and always praying as we wield the shield of faith.

Microcosm of The Body. Lived out. Life-giving, life-changing community.

These are my incredible heroines of the faith – twelve, faith-filled, courageous women – gifts from the Father’s hand straight to my heart, and I am forever changed.

Next month, I’ll once again be packing my second-hand cheetah print suitcase and boarding a plane to a remote Texas canyon cut by the Frio. This time, I’m ready. And I can’t wait!

*This blog post is part of Michelle DeRusha’s #MyFaithHeroine contest, in connection with the release of the book 50 Women Every Christian Should Know. Find out how to participate here.



Filed under Devotionals

8 responses to “Thirteen — A Story of Community

  1. Just puddled here, Cindee. Love you big, my Frio sister. I cannot wait to get back to that river. xoxo


  2. pastordt

    You know, I feel exactly the same way. Thank you, Cindee, so much. This is just lovely.


  3. Me too, Sandy. And Diana. and Cindee. Yes, me too. xoxo


  4. I am so grateful for my Devoted Dozen. Pure grace from God. And this is just lovely. Big hugs, friend…can’t wait to give them in person. 🙂


  5. I am smiling so big, Cindee! This is the best thing that’s been written about this group, including what I’ve tried to do.


  6. So beautiful, Cindee. Rejoicing with you – while inwardly jealous that I can’t get to the Frio, too. A cheetah print suitcase? Love it! xox


  7. Sometimes I think with all the talk on ‘community’ these days, the importance of intimacy & fellowship, and the focus on ‘mega churches’, we fail to stop and understand that Jesus only had ‘the twelve’. Those ’12’ carried Jesus to the Cross. Our Christian network is no less important. Thanks for sharing with us this beautiful reminder!! Blessings, Cindee & a lot of my prayers!! Dr. Bill Gerber


  8. I absolutely love this story, Cindee. And more than just because I am part of the “13” – but because it’s so beautifully told.


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