It was 27 degrees at 9:30 AM yesterday. That is an important fact pertaining to today's post. The lovely women in the photo are my sisters in Jesus. We have learned and experienced many deep, gut wrenching, tear squeezing, soul searching, spirit invading and body crushing mornings together in the past couple of years. Originally we were a group of women who met together from several churches to study God's Word with an out of town teacher. That lasted one semester. But we had a destiny and we knew it. Part of that destiny was to show hospitality to other women and to teach. So we eventually became a prayer group, then a Bible study. We studied most of Beth Moore's available Bible studies on DVD. We covered CD's by Bill Johnson. We did a VHS series on the Father's love by Jack Frost that changed our lives completely. Three members of our group left us to live eternally with Jesus. We buried one woman's husband. We went to conferences together and bought books and shared them and had lunch together and talked and talked about what God was teaching us through those meetings and books. We cried and laughed and prayed and started all over.
Eventually we became very transparent with one another as we studied healing, sozo, deliverance, freedom for the body, soul and spirit. Our hearts' deepest hurts, dreams, confessions, and joys were laid out to one another. This semester we began another study: Belonging. We are now at the point where most of our studies are for the purpose of learning how to assist those in deep need. Belonging is a cry of the heart for most women. I know. I am one. I have four daughters who are now grown women. I have three young granddaughters. I teach violin students who are lovely young girls. It is a deep need for men as well, but I don't know as much about their feelings, having had no brothers or sons. I'm learning continuously about male minds from Muffin and from my grandson, thankfully.
Today I heard a remarkable story that touched me deeply. I hope I never forget it. We were discussing how we felt being silent in a group for 2 minutes. Most of us felt peace, because we trust one another. We began to talk about the issues that drive us away from peace--negative talking, for example. Then one woman in our group, Ms L, told us that she remembers the story of the African man who wanted to own only one pair of pants. His reasoning was that two pairs of pants would only cause him to spend unnecessary time making a decision about which to wear and thus steal prayer time from his life. Mrs. L's daughter is with YWAM, and took with her two pairs of pants and her Bible and one shirt. She called her Mom to thank her for giving her the experience of living with little, being formerly homeless, and moving often from hotel to hotel so that she would appreciate the gift of being in a mission group with time to minister and pray. Then Ms. L told us that she came to class today without a coat because she doesn't own a coat. She said with great joy that it simplifies her life because she doesn't need to think about finding her coat when she goes out. God's provision for her is that she doesn't get cold! Really! She doesn't feel the cold air on a morning when it is 27 degrees and even the room temperature seems uncomfortable. Just like the man with one pair of pants, and her daughter with very few possessions, she finds joy in Who she has.