“We’ve been really busy.” “We should get together, sometime, when things slow down.” “I just don’t feel like I have really connected with anyone at church.” “I feel so alone being home with my kids all day!” “I don’t have any real life friends nearby, just friends I talk to online.” “I’d love to help you out, but things are pretty busy for us right now.”
Do you ever say any of those words?
Do you ever hear people say those words?
I know I’ve said them.
Many of us seem to be spinning our wheels and busier than ever, and sadly, we are missing out on the blessing of connecting with others.
Recently, a few of the ladies at our small brand new church were discussing starting a women’s group. At first, I’ll admit, I was worried that it might be just one more thing to do. I run myself ragged with “things to do.” Yet, I was impressed that these ladies were being proactive and willing to step out of their comfort zone to seek out real connections within the church. That is a rare and precious thing!
I immediately invited these ladies into my home for a brainstorming session. Before we even began our meeting, one woman cheerfully volunteered to help me paint my walls (after I casually shared that I wasn’t finding time to paint!). She told me I had done so much for our new church, she wanted to help me out. I nearly fainted dead away! She became my new best friend. Her heart to serve me opened up the conversation of serving others and meeting needs.
As the women gathered around my family room, we began sharing our own needs. A few women said they wished they had someone to go walking with and keep them motivated to exercise. Others said they wished they could learn how to sew. Another wanted someone to help her practice for her speech class. Some women wanted a bible study and some felt isolated at home with their kids all day. It was evident we all needed people to connect with. The needs came pouring out. The offers to help covered every need. These women didn’t know each other yet, but they were willing to reach out.
As we talked, we thought of other women in the church or our neighborhoods that we could personally encourage to come to our group or that we could serve in some way. It was clear these women didn’t want to form an exclusive clique or club, they wanted to reach out! And they didn’t want to start a group that wasn’t productive, they were ready to GET THINGS DONE! Each of us had something to offer someone else.
The direction and heart beat of our group became pretty obvious.
Several days later, bless their hearts, all of these women came over to help me paint! My furniture was pulled every which way and dust bunnies flew freely. They came ready to serve. No perfect home, makeup, fancy clothes or quiet church voices were needed to paint an illusion of who we were that day. Imperfection was welcome and expected.
As we picked up brushes, the conversations started. We talked about our lives, our families, how we spend our days. We are all so different, but that didn’t matter. We are all women with hearts and stories. We laughed. We reminisced as 80’s music blared from the speakers. The kids played around us and my dog tried to step in wet paint. It was real life. Right there, in the midst of them helping me, conversation took place and seeds of friendships began.
We planned our next meeting together to help each other sew. I don’t know how to sew, but I’ll be there to talk and laugh and listen. And maybe learn a stitch or two.
As a church planter/pastor’s wife who is often times overwhelmed trying to motivate and encourage our young church goers to connect with each other and serve God in meaningful ways, I am humbled to see the heart of Jesus being poured out from these women as they live out this verse:
“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:4 (NIV)
As we do real life together, I know God is going to use this amazing group in more ways than I can imagine.
Do you have a group of women to do life with?