Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Affirmation is Important

Today I hosted the final session of my Bible study at my home. We shared a Moravian love feast and put some closure to our spiritual journey (at least until the fall when we start again). One of our questions today was, how has this small group changed you or enabled you to further your spiritual journey? How have you been fed and nurtured by this group? One of my dear friends (who is also in this group) said, "being in a group that affirms me and lifts up my life and my choices is so inspiring. Being with this group of women (who range from 28 to 82) helps me to realize that I will survive this point (mother of two toddlers) in my life."

I was struck by her comments on multiple levels. Receiving perspective and support from other women who have been there is so critical. Learning that new stages fraught with their own challenges lie ahead is also critical. It is so easy to get caught up in the fray when you're living in the moment with your children. One day we will be empty nesting moms. One day we will care for our own aging mothers. One day we will find our own health failing. One day we will watch our spouses die. It's not all snotty noses and sippy cups. There is life after laundry.

Being a woman is complicated in so many ways. We are so often called to give of ourselves we forget to take care of ourselves. One of the best ways to take care of ourselves is to form a small group. A close circle. A set of women whom we can call whenever for whatever reason. I have several of these circles and each group serves a different purpose. I do however draw an amazing amount of spiritual strength and comfort from my Bible study group that I do not find elsewhere. I am challenged by these women to get out of my comfort zone. I am comforted by these women when life throws me a curve ball. I am uplifted and spiritually fed by these women who pray for me and share with me their own faith journeys. One of the greatest challenges and greatest joys of being a Christian is the call to "be in community" with each other. When you have a community to give to, joy seems to bubble up from within. When you need to rest in the arms of that community, gratefulness such as you have never felt pours out from all over. I encourage you to find a small group who affirms your worth, your will, and your place in community.

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