I had heard several people mention they planned to come, but I had no idea how many.
I decided to try a different approach to a Bible study. We just started a few weeks ago. It’s a busy time of the year, a time when many are hesitant to add something to their schedules. Yet it is also a time when I hear many women say they are overwhelmed and set aside some of their habits of quiet time, Bible study/reading, and prayer. It’s not their intention, but the hassles and hurries of the holidays push aside what can be delayed.
But can/should those core practices be delayed?
So, we’d try a different approach this year. We’d get together in early December, enjoy a light meal together, and kick off the study. Then we’d go our own ways, questing on our own, yet connecting in a private Facebook group and through weekly emails for encouragement, discussion, and accountability. I also encouraged people who do better with face-to-face conversations to connect with one or two people for a couple gatherings. Then we’ll meet up again for supper and a wrap-up in late January.
We usually have around a dozen women in a study during any given time of the year. Here we are in the middle of perhaps the busiest season, and we have 54 women involved. And most of these women are not the “jump into any study any time” women I would see in just about any ongoing study. In many cases, they’re “I don’t have a lot of time for extras so I have to choose wisely” women. And they’re choosing to make their relationship with God a priority.
Don’t get me wrong. These are very normal women. Women who will struggle to follow through with their studies. Women who will feel guilty when everyday life crowds out some of their spiritual practices. Women who will struggle with how little effort they put into the study. But they are trying.
They are questing.
I had no idea how great the response would be, but I am encouraged. Encouraged to see the excitement of women as they start out on a new quest. Encouraged to see women of many ages from many churches who come together with their friends and strangers. Encouraged to be able to share this season with women with a variety of schedules, goals, and challenges.
Encouraged to continue to seek doing life in the sweetness (and the mess) of community.
Community is challenging at times. It refines us. Iron sharpens iron.
What a sweet blessing.