I love my small group. There are seven of us--grandmothers, stepmothers and mothers of babies--separated by a span of almost 30 years. Our life experiences are varied, our faiths have come about via strikingly different stories--and yet, when we sit in a circle we are just women pursuing a deeper walk with our mutual Lord.
Unlike other groups I have been in before, we were not all friends before we started. I still marvel when I look around the room at the unexpectedly beautiful symphony of these lives in one circle. It has a been a glorious testimony of God's handiwork to watch Him take these various threads from random parts of my life and weave them into a beautiful tapestry of community.
This morning as we shared about some of our challenges with motherhood, I was struck by the progression of the conversation. There were moments of vigorous head nods as we could identify with a common struggle. There were misty eyes of remembering the feelings of overwhelm or frustration. But perhaps the most beautiful part of the conversation was when a brave Mama stepped out for a moment and challenged us to not accept the status quo.
We were speaking of a specific temptation that 6/7 of the group confessed to sharing. As we patted each other on the back with reassurances of "It's OK," "That's normal," and "I blow it in that area too," I could sense the stress on one of our group members' faces.
In her mild and graceful way she asked, "Is it really Ok? Isn't there a better way?"
And we all sighed with an appropriate conviction that she was challenging us to not just accept the status quo. Instead of simply surrendering to this particular struggle as an accepted part of the territory of parenthood, this woman's pure hearted questioning was refreshingly challenging. There was not judgment, just honest conversation among women who had earned the right to speak truth into one another's lives.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 NIV
I am a big fan of authenticity. But in a world filled with confessions of how 'untogether' we all are I was reminded that perhaps the pendulum swings too far sometimes. I am not supporting hiding behind masks and falsehoods, nor am I suggesting that we judge one another's every move and motive. I am simply saying there is a place in all of our lives for confession among people who love us enough to push us to strive for God's best for our lives.
This is not about BEING the best or DOING the most. It is about SEEKING Him and His best for our lives.
I was reminded today why women's small groups are so much more than a 'social outlet.' They are the very realization of God's encouragement to us in Hebrews: "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV
True community is a beautiful thing.