Friday, November 19, 2010

Being seen

For seventh through 12th grade, every week during the school year I met with a group of girls for a Bible study. We were all in the same grade but went to a variety of schools. There was a pretty consistent group of 12, and we had a leader that stayed with us over those six years with another joining in the last couple of years.

We studied various books of the Bible, I distinctly remember studying James and John. But Bible study often came second to life in that group. Those were the girls I shared everything with and they did the same. We celebrated our joys and triumphs and cried over each other's struggles.

When we graduated from high school, we went on a six-day backpacking trip in Colorado, where our relationships went even deeper. Of the people I keep up with from high school, most of them come from this group.

I had such a great experience with youth group and those girls, I assumed it would always be that easy to find that. I went off to college naively thinking such a group would just materialize for me. Though I went to various Bible studies and even led a few, I never found a consistent group like that. It felt like people were always coming and going, and even I was hardly consistent due to study abroad and the demands of my major.

When I moved to Georgia for my first job, I struggled to find a church and that meant it was also a struggle to find a Bible study. I worked second shift and an evening study where I would have likely met my peers was not possible. For a few months I traveled 40 minutes to participate in a study, but it barely lasted a semester, which just wasn't long enough for me to feel comfortable sharing too much. Toward the end of my time in Georgia I did have a group of women that I met with weekly that I really enjoyed, but then I moved a few months after it started.

When I moved, I made a decision to go to a very large church knowing there would be more Bible studies and other ministries. It was a struggle for the first few months, especially after two years at a very small church. But last fall I found and joined a weekly women's Bible study. It took some time for me to settle in, but I finally crossed the threshold of really being able to share what's on my heart and be vulnerable with these women. 

It's a diverse group with single women, married women and some married with kids all with various careers and experiences. Most have been where I've been or are there and get me. They all provide wisdom and encouragement for me. And I get to witness them living out and setting an example for the Christian woman, wife and mother I hope to be. I've found some of my closest friends in this group, and after eight years of looking for it, I feel blessed to have found such a group.

The theme for the talks at the retreat last weekend was "To Be Known." And the first talk was about being seen. There are some days that I feel invisible. I can make it through a whole day without anyone seeing me. Sure, people see me as an editor at work or a neighbor in my house, but they aren't really seeing me. But on Thursday nights, when I gather with these women, I'm not invisible.
I've been writing this post for days and couldn't tie it with a bow at the end. I'm not sure what the point of the post is, maybe it's just a reminder to me of the way God has blessed me and provided for me. So that's all I've got today.


  1. One of the things about blogging life is that it rarely wraps up with a bow. Life is a process, but I'm glad the Lord is settling you in covenant community. Maybe that's the start of a bow in one part of your life.

  2. I love this. I had the same experience in high school and it took me a LONG time to find anything that could come close to replicating it. Once I did, it was like I finally settled into my life.

  3. I'm still processing the retreat and thinking about how I want to blog about it, but you captured a big part of what I feel, too: We have something special in our group and I am so, so thankful that God has blessed me with you all. I cannot imagine the past two years without all of you with me. God knows just what we need and provides it! I hope I never take it for granted.

  4. Love this. A lot of it is how I feel about the group too. Or just finding a place. It took a long time for me to do that, even in Charlottesville which I love. But in the place I am now, I have no idea why I would move (groups, towns, etc). So glad to be sharing this place with you.