We sat last night just four- three souls and mine- gathered in my tiny living room with candles burning and the lights down low. With music wafting and the sounds of our hearts echoing between each other.
Like Abraham, God was calling me to go to a foreign land, to embrace people I didn’t know. People who were very different from me and likely, I never would have chosen for myself.
And yet, there we gathered; four women, all together unlikely as friends but bound by one common thread: a wrestling, a stirring, a longing for more…. For more of Jesus, to know that God was real and to encounter him. We wanted to be transformed by Him.
I’m no pastor, Im no theologian. Heck, I have not a stitch of formal training! But what I did have, and still do, is a heart that follows hard after God and clings passionately to Jesus.
It was enough then and it is enough now.
…Now, as we continue to gather each week as eight, grown from our original four. Some have gone, while others took their place. One had stuck with us the whole way through.
And while there is so much that could be said for what’s happened in these past three years, I always come back to this:
God is in this, He is with us and His presence shows up each week to meet us … to change us.. to wreck us with his love.
On more than one occasion, we’ve had ladies who have grown up in church confess that they weren’t really “christians” until they came to this group. We’ve had others who refused to put a title to their faith come slowly and sweetly into surrender, now claiming Jesus as their own. We’ve had ladies who do not share our faith come, long to find community.
And here, gathered on my floor, wrapped in blankets on my couch, we’ve all found home for our weary, longing souls.
I never knew community until I started this group. I never knew sisterly love until these women wrecked my walls….
The walls I used to build to keep people out and show them only what I wanted them to see. The walls that made me feel safe and yet at the same time, all together lonely. The walls that beckoned, “Don’t come in! If you saw what’s inside here you’d never love me and stay.” The walls that eventually formed a prison and locked me away from love, belonging and connection.
But God has done something in this group – in this space when he shows up: He’s given us zero tolerance for surface talk and a hunger for things of the deep.
The things way, way below the surface that rarely ever see the light of day; the thoughts, the fears, the wrestlings we’d rather push away and deny. It’s these things He calls to the surface, week after week after week. And while it’s scary, we discover something afresh each time: love, acceptance and empathy for who we are, whatever we are, exactly where we are in that moment.
No need to fix. No need to blame. No need to Judge one another away.
A love that binds us together and builds each other up in Christ. A love that sees beyond the circumstance, beyond our weak and frail limitations. A love that sees past our mistakes and looks fiercely into the eyes of one made right before God. A love that calls each other up, rather than calling each other out- although theres been a healthy dose of that too, in our midst. And yet, even that, has been a sweet and loving call to action.
Because here, we are safe. Here we are known. Here we can trust each other with our hearts; every messy, broken, insecure fibre of our beings. And together, we grab hands in seeking Jesus, the only one who can save us, heal us, and transform us.
And oh, that he has done 100 fold. Time and again. In every life that shows up in this home.
Not because of me- it has nothing to do with me- and everything to do with Him.
So if you’re longing for community – real community – the kind that grabs hands and sings “cumbiyah” – here you’ll find it. If you long to know Jesus and trust that God is real – here you will discover Him. If you long to love you and embrace yourself freely – here you will find and meet her.
Because whatever it is God knows your longing and it’s his greatest delight to meet it.
Thank you girls, for loving me relentlessly as I’ve fumbled my way through leading you. Thank you Jesus for teaching me grace and humility that’s led me home and to your heart. Thank you God for trusting me and using this broken vessel to bring forth water – water that never runs dry – to be poured out among your children. May your will be done on earth through this life and this group, as it is in Heaven.