Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Real Life Connections (in)RL

We came together. Last minute. When I heard about in(RL)Meet up through Lisa Jo Baker at Jumping Tandem The Retreat. I knew ladies at my church wanted something like this. Needed this. Even though I wasn't sure myself what it was all about. I scoped (in)courage website, got permission from my pastor and before I could come to my senses, emailed the ladies bible study group. Thursday morning. Did I mention the event started Friday? By that afternoon, I had several responses.

Oh my,  I'd better get something planned. I got super excited, watching previews Friday night. Saturday I crashed wondering what I had gotten myself into. I had no idea how to do this. So I baked. And prayed and ideas came and ladies to help and God put it together.

Eighteen women cam of all ages. Each a single rope strand. Questions shadowed eyes and silenced lips. We bound together and wound our hearts as we tied to Him, unbreakable. We tore long strips of colored fabric and watched fun, challenging, insightful women share.

Small groups clustered, questioned and related. With every segment, groups rearranged so no two were ever alike. Talk flowed easier, conversation lingered longer and schedules slipped. I didn't care. Connecting was God's plan.

After each discussion we wrote something to give over to God on the fabric. Then tied our heart expression to the rope. I worried people would think it silly, but God gave the idea. 

When you have been hurt? Who do you know who hurts now?
What sickness, loss or sadness do you or someone you know have?
What excuse do we use for not staying in community?
Who has God put on your heart to show that staying is the right thing to do?

We discovered the unique beauty of God bringing his most creative creatures, women, together in community to learn and love.

We found common ground. Look out for others hurting. Staying is better, even though leaving is easy. It is an honor to be challenged to behave more like Jesus. Reach out to women in stages of life, beyond our own. There is much to learn. Sometimes the smallest thing means the most so do one thing more. Endure in love because friends don't give up.

Throughout the afternoon the binding of Christ, the rope of community filled. One torn fabric piece, one lady, one prayer at a time.

Everyone loved the benches concept and chattered over each other with ideas. Our first "bench" is this Saturday at the restaurant of one of the ladies in the group. I can't go, but that is good. The women jumped in and became part building community. As it should be. We will even have an activity together this summer.

This wasn't a big thing one little woman can do. It is a little thing a BIG God and do and turn it into something HUGE. Because when it comes to staying, He's got us beat hands down. In blood, and stripes, and last breaths and risen first gasps and staying. Forever.