By: Robyn Wall
A couple summers ago I was blessed to attend a conference with 5,000 other Christian women. During one praise session, I remember taking a moment to listen to the sweet, unwavering chorus of women’s voices. The sheer number made me cry with joy. Here were women of all circumstances singing to the God of the universe. I could picture their fears, their sins all overcome by the God of peace and redemption. I imagined the unified force of praise and gratitude that swept to heaven, touching God’s heart.
There is something that happens when Christians gather together. And although my small group is by very definition less than 5,000 people, I get to see God working in my community, where we do not have to imagine each other’s stories; we get to know them and enter into them.
I feel God’s smile when the dozen of us pray, asking God in faith to enter our trials. We know the sorrow when a dark storyline enters again and the inner jump-for-joy when a prayer request has been answered. Both will come with hugs. Or, as a part of the mom’s group, we are genuinely happy when one of us gets a good night’s rest.
We enter one another’s stories with gifts too. Community provides a place for us to use what the Father has so thoughtfully endowed us with. This year, I have been amazed by the range and use of gifts in our group. I have been encouraged by thank you notes and small e-mail reminders that others are praying for me. One mom took the initiative to coordinate a weekly playdate. And recently a member of our group set up an accountability medium for us to pray for our children. These are all good things.
And the best gift of all is that we get to see our stories in light of God’s magnanimous story of redemption. It is amazing to partake in the hearty, savory work of discussing the things of God. I am thankful to be able to know I will be surrounded by good, noble words each week. What could be better for a Christian? This year we were able to study Nehemiah and were led to worship the God who fights for us, whose word is life, and who sends a savior for sin. We also studied thanksgiving’s place in the Christian life, and spent time mindfully preparing our hearts for gratitude and reading what God says about it. And for our year’s finish, I am looking forward to reading through Ephesians together and continuing our group’s collective story together.