A week or so before Christmas, I had a very random run-in (or was it?!?) with a neighbor/friend at the Dollar Store. We’ve known each other for many years with our kids being the same age, soccer, school and for a while, church. But I wouldn’t necessarily call us close. Friendly? Yes. But close? No.
So anyway, I’m minding my own business trying to buy some ribbon at the Dollar Store, when we see each other down the aisle. “Mary!” (Her name is Mary too! Good name.) She rolled her cart over to me and we started catching up. Unbeknownst to me, I was meant to be there! Huh? And to think I only wanted ribbon. Mary had gotten to a place in her spiritual walk that she wanted more. She wanted a sister in Christ who she could share scripture, pray and do life with. She had prayed about it that morning.
Can I be honest? I was a little thrown by the idea of the two of us getting together once a week. It didn’t feel as organic as most friendships I have. Was I being forced into this? Or am I being obedient to God? Am I being a fake? Or am I trusting that this is something I need to do? Well, guess what!
We’ve been meeting once a week studying scripture, praying for each other and doing life together. Our meetings last a couple of hours over hot tea and coffee. Our time together is so special.
My “word” for this year is Listen. It’s getting much easier to stop and listen. Listening to my family. Listening to sweet music. And listening to Gods voice. But the second part of listening to God, which I didn’t realize fit into my workings, is to trust.
Has God ever nudged you to do something? Was it something hard or something you had no idea what it meant? Or you had your own idea of how it would turn out so you brushed it aside? I had doubts about jumping into a close relationship, being transparent and real with a woman I knew superficially. But boy oh boy, am I glad I did!
A few weeks into this, Mary and I felt the nudge from God to host a bible study in the evening. I had no idea who would come. The last time I did this, 5 women signed up, but only about half would show up, thus I had to cancel a few weeks. It didn’t work out. We ended it before we got to the end of the study.
Mary attends a different church than I do now, so she asked a few of her friends and I asked a few of mine, just to get an idea if this interested anyone. Well, BANG! Immediately, women responded positively. We had about 4 or 5 yeses. From past experience, I knew we needed at least 8 to make it work.
After the first week of having a sign up at my church only 2 women put their name down. The voices in my head were telling me to just stop it before we begin. “Mar, you failed the last time. It’s never going to work.” I had lots of doubts.
I was describing the study to a lady at church. A friend was beside me, who is familiar with it, so I asked her to describe it. Well, she didn’t have such a glowing review. Oh brother! The voices were screaming in my head to end this new study NOW! “Mar, you have women you don’t even know coming to your house. There’s no way this study is going to be what they are looking for. You are going to fail again.” Oh those stupid voices! I had to make a decision here…do I listen to the negative voices in my head or listen to the truth? The truth is not every study is the right one for everyone at the same time. I value my friend’s opinion and I’m so glad she felt close enough to tell me the truth. It’s ok. In fact it’s more than ok. It is not my job to make everyone happy with every bible study I lead! That is between the Holy Spirit and that person. My job is to follow the direction God is pointing me in and trust.
As we neared the first night of the bible study I wanted to make bookmarks, as a little sersie for the women.
The two on the left were made by a very talented lady in town, Studio Bee Creations. She inspired me to create a few of my own. (Not as cute as hers, but I think with a little more practice…) Anyhoo…I was thinking this would be plenty for the women attending… all 6 of us. Well, me of little faith, didn’t realize that God had bigger plans! Instead of 6 or 8 women, we had 13 saying they wanted to join us! Well then I needed to make more bookmarks! Heavens to Betsy! If I didn’t make more, than the whole evening would be ruined. Really?!?
What is my problem? My problem is that I focus too much on what I can do, instead of trusting that God has it all figured out. Again my job is to do what God has asked me to do, like open my home for a group of women to study His word. He didn’t add that I must make a full meal for them, bake a dessert and send the women home with a homemade gift. Nope. Just open my home and let Him do the rest.
Last night was our first meeting. Eleven women talked, laughed and cried. People! This is only the first night…introduction night! They are from different churches, of different ages and in different stages of life. And none of that mattered. For all of the wasted time I spent worrying about this, that and the other…God had it all worked out.
Why do I listen to those voices that want me to fail? Why do I battle? I don’t know. I guess that’s why I have the word Listen to focus on. God knows it is something that I need to overcome in order to become closer to Him.
Goodness. It was quite the battle to get to last night, but I am so glad I endured. It was such a blessing, not only for me, but I think for the others too.
I’m sorry this was a rambling mess of words. I just really wanted to share with you how even with all of my insecurities, doubts, ADD, and crazy ideas God still used me. Friends, we do not have to be perfect. God knows we aren’t. But you know what? He wants to use us anyway. Cool.
Thanks for dropping by,