Yesterday I started the goodbye process, saying goodbye to the women at Bible study. I wanted to share a few things with them about how much they have meant to me and what I have learned by studying the Bible together.
I wanted to tell them that God really does care about the little things in our lives. A few years ago a group of us were studying the essentials of the faith. Our discussion that week was about how involved is God in our day to day lives? If we find a front row parking spot at Starbucks is that God? Or is He really more involved in the big decisions, the life changing decisions of our lives. This discussion came back to me later that week when I was sitting in the ICU waiting room at the hospital, watching the husband of one of these women grieving the loss of his daughter while trying to help his wife fight for her life. In that moment, in that waiting room, I knew deep inside me that God does care about the little things. He is involved in the day to day. Because it is the little things, the day to day that changes lives. My friend was driving to the library. No big decision, just a simple trip that rocked the world around them forever.
I also wanted to share with them the lesson I am slowly learning about the importance of inquiring of God. My small group is reading through the Bible this year and we are in the story of David, a story we should know well by now since we did a Bible study on David last year. What struck me with this reading of his story is how often the Bible says, David inquired of God. And when he did, things went right. David might still be hiding in caves, but God was there and his heart was right. But as he became successful, we don't see that phrase as often. What we see instead is David inquiring of his advisors, or inquiring of no one and taking what he wants. We see him fall into sin. Inquiring of God has been a theme this year for me through these studies and also the study of prayer I did to teach last fall. It took a few different studies to really start to sink in but it is.
But mostly I wanted to tell the women in the room, how much they meant to me. How much I have learned from not only what they have shared in our small groups but from their kindness and grace towards me and the women around them. These are amazing women. Women who want to know God's word better. Women that want to love one another, even when we don't always agree. Women who want to be connected to one another in a deeper way.
I don't know if they know how much it meant to me to be able to teach the group the few times I had a chance. I loved the opportunity to study and read, to write and teach. I loved seeing them nod or smile as they connected to what I was saying. They encouraged me in my teaching. They gave me a small sense of purpose which for this young mom who spent my days with small children was life changing.
I have grown immensely over the last 8 years and this group is part of the reason. How far have I come? At the end, one woman who was in my first small group came up to me. She told me she remembers the very first words I said at Bible study so many years ago, words that I remembered when she said them but now feel so distant. I had said I have a hard time with women. Oh, how I remember the past pain of being disconnected, of having been brushed aside. These women changed that in me. These women showed me love, encouragement and grace. They challenged me to grow but always from a place of love. These women laugh together. They pray together. They find joy in one another.
I am hopeful that my tears of gratitude as I said thank you will give them a small understanding of what they mean to me. They have known me and know I am not one to cry easily. But saying goodbye to these women was so much harder than I imagined. Just writing this brings fresh tears to my eyes. God has blessed me so very, very much with this group of women. My small groups have changed over the years. I have gotten to know so many amazing women with each new small group and each new leaders. God has blessed me with these women in countless ways.
Thank you so much ladies! Wednesday mornings has been my resting place in my week.