Let’s see….in the last 16 hours I’ve: had an early morning prep/material review of a new women’s small group Bible study… gone to work… led a morning women’s group… went back to work some more… ran to the grocery story…did the “company quick clean” chicken dance at home… rearranged furniture to seat 12 in the living room… led another women’s group at mi casa… did the “post-company pick up”… and finally….finally….at 10:16 p.m. have cracked open my laptop, praying for divine (and speedy) inspiration for Day 14. =)
At the end of this day I am….well….exhausted!
But far more than exhausted, I am very, very grateful.
Today I got to see and experience with my own eyes what my “heart’s eyes” have been imagining for over a year. What? Tell you more? Well…..if you insist….. =)
I’m a relational person, through and through. I’m that girl that really does ask people, “So how does that make you feeeeel?” I love connecting with people, and all of the parts of them….everything that makes them “tick” is fascinating to me. But life is so hectic anymore, it seems there’s rarely time to really settle into those conversations that are so compelling no one wants to get up and go – everyone wanting to hold the moment just a little longer.
At least a year ago I began thinking about ways to get to know the women in my church better. I was certainly comfortable with everyone, but there didn’t seem to be many places or opportunities to really dig in and get to know these women. I knew they would all have incredible stories to tell and wisdom to share….we all do! And I knew I wasn’t going to find the kind of relationships I was looking for in the few short hours we spend together at church. So I began thinking, planning, dreaming of a reason for us to come together in a meaningful, significant way.
Four weeks ago I put out a simple sign-up sheet in the back of the church announcing a women’s Bible study with morning and evening options. I thought if there were even 4 or 5 women who were interested, I’d be so happy to get to know them. At the end of that service, when I went to pick up the list the morning group was completely full and the evening group had one spot left! (Both groups are completely full + some now.)
So….this morning I had the sincere priviledge of leading 12 women in a time of study, reflection and very, very candid conversation. I already know each one in a deeper, more intimate way, and there are still 5 more sessions left! I was so very blessed and grateful for their generosity in sharing of themselves and their stories. Some were painful, some were victorious, but all were very authentic. Such a blessing!
Then, tonight I got to do it all over again with another 10 women in my living room. Same material – different discussions, but still very sincere and vulnerable conversations. Again…so very grateful! (Also feel free to ask me just about anything about the story of the 10 lepers in the gospel of Luke, seeing as I’ve been through it four times in two days!)
So, I got to spend 3 hours total with 22 women in one day and feel like I connected a little deeper with each one of them. They honestly shared their struggles, their faith, and their wisdom without judgement or advice-mongering in a safe, respectful, thoughtful space……these are my kind of women!
So at the end of this long, but fantastic day I am just feeling so grateful that God kept this little seed of a dream alive in my heart for over a year, and when the time was right….threw open the door and ushered us through. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this group of women in some future blog before Lent is through (The material we are using is called, “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God”, and I can’t wait to see where it will take us!), but suffice it to say that God answers our prayers in ways that are always better (and better for us) that we imagined for ourselves. I could have forced this a year ago,….but I’m so thankful I didn’t!
I’ll close with the assignement we were given in our study tonight: Be on the look-out for a “divine interruption” somewhere in the coming week….an unexpected time when you know God has brought you to a person or a situation for a purpose. Then share what’s on your heart – maybe a piece of your own story. I’d love to hear about it! (And I’ll share mine, too.)
G’night, sweet blog friends. I feel your companionship more and more each day as we walk this road of discovery and discipline together……though had I known I would be submitting a daily blog post at 11:45 at night, I may have just gone ahead and given up chocolate! ) =)