20 years later… #mycommunity
It was this summer, 20 years ago in 1999, that my life was going to change but I had no idea it would. It was then that I was invited by a friend to a women’s Bible Study while my daughters were attending Vacation Bible School, (VBS). At this point in my life I was hungry to know God and this was a great opportunity to do so. I walked into the Pastor’s wife’s living room by myself, I didn’t know anyone. I sat down amongst a room full of women who were obviously familiar with each other and the Word of God. For the first time in my life, I kept my mouth shut!
I’m not kidding. I felt out of my league. While listening to these sage women of faith talk about God in their stories, I thought to myself, “Where have I been all my life?”. They all seemed to know this secret, this way of loving God like a friend, knowing God personally, having felt God and seen him in their lives. I knew God. But not like this. I knew him traditionally, seasonally; at holidays and funerals, I knew he was “up there” and I was “down here”, I knew I could recite scripture prayers to him like the Lord’s prayer and 23rd Psalm, I knew he created the world and everything in it, I knew he died on the cross and rose again.
But these women knew something else, something more. They knew Jesus like a family member and friend. They shared authentic stories of their families, marriages, and children and who God was in their lives. I saw a dependency and faith in God that I had never experienced before. God used these Titus 2 women, (mature women in faith who teach about God), to grab my attention, help me to see who God is in a personal way, and recognize that I have my own story to share.
“Walk with the wise and become wise” Proverbs 15:22a
This is when my spiritual journey began. From there, God led me into various communities of women to grow in faith, do life together, and to experience all of the One Anothers that we encounter in the Body of Christ.
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed”
Doing life together, starting at any stage is crucial. It’s a declaration by Jesus. He knows we need one another to love, pray and support our decisions, struggles, loss, etc. Numerous times in the scriptures Jesus displays community by sharing, teaching, loving and eating around a table. I think Jesus enjoyed a good meal too!
Twenty years later, I still need my community of friends and they need me. I can tell you wholeheartedly that I would not be the same person today if it not for the intimacy, authenticity, non-judgmental and confidentiality we share. It’s been a sacred and very special journey and we depend on one another still as we are going into the next season of our lives; parenting adult children, weddings, caring for our aging parents, illness, grandchildren, empty nesting, downsizing, moving, death, and leading ministry.
“Where there is no guidance, a people fall, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety” Proverbs 11:14
I didn’t know then how God would use my community of friends to mold my life and fill a need that I didn’t know I would have. They’ve made an impression in my heart that is forever imprinted which reveals itself in every area of my life to this day. I didn’t know… But God did.
Thoughts to ponder:
It can be really hard to go somewhere by yourself. A friend encouraged me to go to a Bible Study and I went by myself and it changed my life forever. My invitation to you: Would you join us at a Her Life Speaks Small Group in September?
Imagine what your life would have looked like if you had a community of women to do life with 5 years ago… 10 years ago…. Last year… If you had community of Titus women pouring into you with love, support, wisdom and prayer. What would your life will look today?
Imagine what your life will look like with a community of women you can do life with now and what it will look like one year from today!
“But wisdom is shown to be right by its results” Matthew 11:19
The number one-way women attend a small group community is by invitation from a friend. Who can you invite to the Her Life Speaks community this Fall?
By April Sliwak
8/20/2019 01:11:56 pm
Great thought, Terryl! It's the number 1 way women go to small groups is by invitation... who will it be?! #praying
8/21/2019 08:59:52 am
Recently, have been thinking a lot about the verse in Proverbs 15:22, “Walk with the wise and become wise”. It is something that I am personally challenged by and this post confirmed that this is important to take a look at who I am "walking with" and who I can invite to be a part of my journey. Thank you!
8/21/2019 09:51:56 am
Thank you April for your leap of faith 20 years ago. You have become such a mentor and leading example of His grace. A community of Gods love, which we discover within each other has such an amazing impact. Let's get busy! Xo June
8/22/2019 12:25:52 pm
Thanks, June for your encouragement! "A community of God's love" is the key for sure. Sharing our lives together and doing life together through the Word, prayer and friendship is so important. I don't know what I would have done without it! xx
8/22/2019 12:23:50 pm
Hey Noelle, So glad you're listening to the promptings of your heart. The Lord will guide, Psalm 32:8, you and looking back you'll see his hand in your journey... each detail, footstep of the way. xx
8/25/2019 04:42:13 pm
I’ll be praying for discernment for you Noelle. May he make it clear for your journey as a ministry leader! xx
April, I love how our experience seems so similar in the ways we started out coming closer to Jesus. But the best part is the how God’s word encourages and is specific in the areas we need to grow and why it is so important. For me seeing the connecting ideas and what fruit they produce makes me feel hopeful and helps with all the pieces coming together in what God has planned for each of us. Thank you💕🙏
8/22/2019 12:27:52 pm
Yes, Mary, our stories are similar! Don't you just love when God shows up in our lives and is spot-on to what we need and when we need it?! He's the best. So timely, yet patient and always loving. xx
Joanne M. Slawenski
8/25/2019 12:30:37 pm
April, What a beautiful story that you shared and you are an inspiration to me and how you started HLS and love for Jesus.
11/11/2019 09:42:24 am
Thank you, Joanne, and praise God for his faithfulness to the passions he puts on our hearts!
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Her Life Speaks is all about Her testimony, Her life, and who God is in Her story. Here we write our stories in hopes of helping other women find their relationship with Jesus Christ.