Today’s post was written by my dear friend, Ellen. Ellen blogs at Sweetwater and her words and heart flow so beautifully and effortlessly together in her writing. When Ellen speaks (yes, she’s now a speaker, too!) and writes and prays with you, I see the Lord in her. I hear the Lord in her words. He has done a beautiful work in Ellen’s heart and she shares it. I had the incredible privilege of coming together every Tuesday night this summer with a group of women at Ellen’s house to study the Word. Ellen tells that story beautifully in today’s post.
(And if you were considering going to Influence, but you’re on the fence about it, please go. Ellen will be there as a community leader with many other fabulous community leaders who will be there to encourage you. And hug you!)
On a Tuesday night in early June I welcomed twelve women into my home to read, study the Word and fellowship. It was a beautiful night. We laughed and cried and my heart felt like it might explode right there. It was a far cry from the defeat I’d been feeling just a few months earlier as I sat in the pew on a Sunday morning.
I’m the introverted type. My list of friends is short but deep and, even though I’m 30something now, I still struggle with insecurity about that. I have the most lovely and wonderful friends. Sometimes I forget to remember that. I have a little hamster wheel in my brain just for friendship insecurities: I don’t have enough; I’m not good at them; I try too hard; I don’t have a group.
Instead of having a group that I do absolutely everything with, I have friendships scattered throughout my little life. It’s a bit of story woven through, how I have remnants of college and being newly married and a new mama and a school mama and serving and writing all wrapped up in my friendships. And I forget to remember how great that is.
So. On a Sunday morning in a wooden pew with my eyes pinched tight so tears wouldn’t overflow, I decided to lean into how friendship looks for me right now. It wasn’t my idea. It was His.
I sent emails, facebook messages and texts. I wanted to know? Would all of these women like to meet for just two months at my house? We would study something together and we would get down to the rough and raw of real fellowship (at least, I hoped).
I was afraid. Afraid that everyone would say no. Afraid that I would pick a dumb book. Afraid that it would be too awkward.
And then that first night in June happened and I sat there in my den as fat tears of laughter and joy rolled down my cheeks. And then another night when I heard a “Me, too” from woman to woman. And then another night as I listened to how God was taking deep hurt and turning it into hope.
Over and over again, I’ve been so thankful for this group of women. If I have a tribe, surely they are it. They may be gathered from all different corners but they are God’s faithfulness to me.
I had been wading through discontent and insecurity. With a gentle nudge, God asked me to just do something about it. It hasn’t changed much about my life, this group. But it’s changed the way I see it. That’s what He’s in the business of doing: revealing beauty where we see none. I’m so thankful for it.