It started with six women. Six of us sitting around a table, right after the lockdowns had ended. We were all starved for connection, and the needs around us were great. So many churches were still not meeting. Small groups had dissolved over night, and many women had no community of faith around them. It was a divisive, isolating, and unsettling time. It was clear to us that now more than even we needed to offer a good Bible study, in person, with committed leaders.
And I remember as we talked, we had a lot of questions. What’s the biggest need? What would we study? Where would we meet? Would anyone even show up during a time like this? We sat around a table, asking God to guide us and keep our hearts aligned with His.
In the end, women showed up. They piled into a home with their Bibles and got to know each other. Some of them were lonely. Others were going through the process of losing husbands, losing children. Some were scared, tired, broken, and needed a community around them. And others were happy, excited, and ready to give. It was a perfectly orchestrated group. God brought just the right people.
Over several months and a few bumps along the way, our group grew, then shrank, and then grew again. In less than two years, two of our leaders were hospitalized at some point. We said goodbye to one leader as she moved across the country and welcomed a new leader who recently moved to our area. We had our share of naysayers and roadblocks, but we kept at it, quietly nurturing what God gave us to work with.
Today, we had 27 women show up to study the Bible. More importantly, we had 27 women leave knowing God a little better, understanding a little better how they fit into His story. 27 women in fellowship with each other. In some small way, 27 women were equipped to go and do the work of being a Jesus follower. And friends, I’m here to tell you that’s life changing.
It’s hard to see the progress when you’re in it. You don’t notice the slow, week-by-week journey of two steps forward, one step back. The wrestling we do with God and man. But after months and years (and eventually what I hope becomes decades and generations) you get some traction. It’s the lifetime of discipleship we’re interested in.
I’m so grateful for the testimony this group has become. We have women from all different backgrounds, ages, and church traditions (at least 4 local churches are represented) coming together in unity around the Word. They bring their own unique perspectives, questions, and gifts, and it makes us all better. And they are devoted to prayer, to the Scriptures, to each other, and to carrying His love out of the church building and blessing the people in their lives. If that isn’t Church, I don’t know what is.
I don’t know why God burdened me with a heart for this kind of thing, but He did. God put in me a heart that is wrecked for my brothers and sisters who desperately want to know Him, but have not been equipped or trained in how to know Him. For those who long for more than the surfacey, feel good, fleeting interactions with their Bible but always come up short, with nothing to lead them to lasting change. He’s given me a heart for teaching my brothers and sisters who are broken, disenfranchised, bored, and confused in their walks with God. I’ve shed a lot of tears and spent hours upon hours in prayer during many a sleepless night carrying this burden to Yahweh and asking Him to give me the wisdom to lead others. Because who am I do to this? What do I know?
I often wish it was a different burden. Something easier, something simpler. Because it gets heavy when you’re a young female burdened with heart and mind for teaching others. You don’t look the part and you don’t fit the mold, so people tend not to take you seriously. But God gave me this, and He knows me, and I can’t not care about the men and women who show up in my life wishing they knew God better.
So yes, this thing is small. It’s just a little group in a small town that isn’t doing anything spectacular or extraordinary. But today my heart is full because Psalm 1 is happening here in ordinary people, in faithful women who show up and desire Yahweh.
This is their testimony. You don’t have to be a pastor to understand God’s word. You don’t have to be a “churchy person” to be made new. You don’t have to memorize every verse in the Bible to lead a Bible study. You don’t have to be a man to teach. You don’t have to be someone you’re not to be the person God longs for you to be.
These women have humbled me with their strength, their knowledge, and their wisdom. They are women of valor, full of grace, and brimming with love. They bring their brains to their Bibles so that their minds can be transformed and their hearts can be made new. I am so proud to be an ordinary woman coming alongside a group of ordinary women, seeking wisdom together. Because friends, I’ll say this, if there’s one thing the enemy knows it’s this: the most dangerous thing in this world is a human full of God’s wisdom.