I need this time, so I go. My shirt is wrinkled after a rushed morning, my hair is frizzy from this blasted humidity and my jeans are cutting into my waist as I bend to get into the car, reminding me that I haven’t been to the gym in weeks. No time to change, though. Maybe I can discreetly undo the top button underneath my wrinkled shirt when I get there so I can breathe.
Whoever decided high rise jeans were back? Please.
I need this time, so I go. My lesson workbook, that I did not find time to open this week because…well…life, lies open on the car seat beside me where I threw it in with my purse. All the unanswered, blank questions stare at me inducing a familiar guilt, so I place my Bible directly on top of it to cut the glare of empty white pages. With envy, I think of Leslee’s color-coded answers in her workbook from last week—green, blue and pink marking up all the white of her pages, even the margins. I love her, but she makes me look bad in Bible Study. I’ll sit beside someone else in small group today so my blank pages won’t be so obvious.
Forgive me Lord for coveting Leslee’s beautiful workbook.
I need this time, so I go. I’ve been beat up by life this week and my attitude needs adjusting (or maybe it’s the jeans that need adjusting…) I need my community of sisters who walk this path of life with me. I need Anne’s calm nature and Martha’s sweet smile. I need Amber’s sound teaching and Leslie’s keen insight. I need Shannon’s realness. I need to hear Elena laugh out loud and see baby Esther snuggle into her mother. I need Vanessa’s sound advice and listening ear. I need to be with women who are not perfect and do not claim to be. This morning, I need to bow my head in collective prayer with these sisters, take my focus off of self and seek the important, the eternal. I need this because I see Jesus in this body of believers.
And I need to see Jesus.
I need this time to pour over the words of God, discuss and digest them, put myself under the authority of them, trust the Spirit to apply them to my life and change me through them. My sisters show me more of who God is in each of their unique voices and talents as we pour ourselves into the holy scriptures. These sisters speak into my life, echoing the voices of the church of the ages, to whom
“…Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph 14:11-13)
These sisters were given to me to help me see the fullness of Christ. I need this, so I go.
These sisters help me grow as we focus on Jesus, together attaining to the whole measure of his fullness. I do not need just part of Christ, I need the full measure and I’ve lived long enough to know I will reach his fullness with greater joy if I travel there with other believers. So, I go. Yes, I can stay home alone with my Bible and God will meet me there. Every time. I can stay home and struggle alone with the mysteries of scripture and the Spirit will always point me to Christ. But we were not made to go it alone. We were made to know Christ in community. Just as the Trinity lives in relationship as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are made to live, work and worship in relationship with others. “You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) My sisters are the steel who sharpen me, challenge me, and push me toward the fullness of Christ.
Like Leslee, with her colored-up pages, who encourages me to prioritize my time in the Word.
I need this, so I go. And I’m always glad I did. When I close my Bible and say goodbye to my sisters, I leave with my load a little lighter. Even my jeans don’t feel quite so tight.
Did I button them back before I walked out?
But I really do not care. I’m not even thinking about my frizzy hair or wrinkled shirt and no one else is either. I’m thinking about how good my God is to meet me here this morning to show me more of himself in his Word through my sisters. I am thinking about God’s perfect provision of the Son, Jesus Christ, who loves me for no other reason than because I am his.
This love is what I need and this is why I go.