It's only 3:00 today, and since the baby girls aren't here today, I'm already starting to look forward to 6:30, when I'll be able to hang out with my other girls. My Bible Study girls, that is.
I've been meeting with this patchwork group of women since O. was four months old and I was desperate to find some way to keep my mind from turning into a quivering mass of breastmilk, Zantac and diaper cream. A good friend that I had once taught with, goaded me into going, calling me out on my preconceived notions of (and snobbery toward, if I'm being truthful) ladies who got together to study the bible.
We met in the church basement to study Hebrews, and it rocked my world. Who knew you could spend three weeks on one chapter of a single book of the Bible? Who knew you could spend an entire YEAR studying the book of Isaiah, as we did a year ago, and still feel like you skimmed over a lot of those darn oracles?
We now meet in each other's homes, and are a little more relaxed about the format we follow to study the word, but it's always an indepth, personal, as well as intellectual discussion; we often grapple with honest and difficult questions.
Some of the members of the group have come and gone, and we're a collection of diverse church backgrounds and experiences. We've been through births (lots of them!) and illnesses, weddings and funerals. We've prayed over adoptions, job prospects, and difficult pregnancies, as well as encouraged each other through bad haircuts and parenting disasters.
These are the women I'm glad to turn to when I'm feeling most vulnerable, when I need to not be judged for the ways I struggle in my everyday life, and with whom I rejoice in the small joys of my days.
They have helped me move so much further along in my spiritual journey, taught me about the real power of prayer, and helped me become much closer to God.
If you want to know what the body of Christ looks like, I believe you will see it on Monday evenings in a house in suburban Cincinnati. You'll see it in hugs, laughter, and tears. You'll see it in cups of decaf coffee, glasses of red wine, bowls of guacamole, burned pots of soup, in swaddled babies and in a woman bouncing someone else's child on her hip. It's in binders loaded down with colored pencils, notebooks with lists of handwritten observations, and a big yellow list of prayer requests.
I feel so grateful to be included in such a group, so blessed to have them as my friends, and honored to be able to learn more about Jesus along with them.