When you are a part of a small church, there are only so many planned meetings that are possible throughout the week, but we have always been encouraged to use our own initiative for the "unplanned" meetings. If there is something on our hearts that we wish to pursue, then we will get all the support we need to do it, but it is up to us to do it!
A few weeks ago I spoke, quite passionately apparently, about the need to be transformed. The whole process of the Christian life should be to make me more like Jesus. Through every encounter that I have with God - through worship, through His word, through prayer - every encounter - I should be changing. I shouldn't be struggling year in and year out with the same problems. The rest of the church should be involved in my transformation. It says somewhere in scripture about iron sharpening iron. If I am not being transformed then something is wrong somewhere. I had been reading about one of the kings in the Old Testament. He had made an attempt to repair the temple, the external visible part of worship, but without there being an invisible change on the inside - he did nothing about the shrines on the hills and under the trees - it was not effective. As a church we have been so pleased about the move into the town centre. It has given us a fresh vision - but that is just the externals. Moving the church from one place to another physically needs to accompany a move spiritually to a deeper relationship with God. I am not saying that is not happening because it is!
Afterwards one of my friends came up to me and asked if we might study the Bible together. I brought the study books and we met on Thursday for the first time.
I am sure that you have those times when you never realised you had lost something until you found it again! I didn't realise just how much I needed to come to the Bible with other people and simply talk about what I had learned. I read the Bible daily and I study to apply what I learn - this Thursday was just another planet altogether! There is one thing talking through what you learn with God during a quiet time and another thing talking it over with people.
The study book was about women in the Old Testament. "Women" orientated books are normally avoided by me, not because I am not a woman, but sometimes they focus on things that to some extent are irrelevant to me. I don't consider myself a home builder - that is probably why my home looks like a pigsty! I don't have children to bring up. I chose the study because my friend, who is a young woman, needs that kind of teaching. She is on the cusp of all these things!
I seriously didn't know just how much I needed this study. I have a tendency towards self sufficiency. I don't always expect people to help, I don't ask often enough, I just get on with the business, and I don't always realise just how much I am struggling. Being self sufficient is not what Jesus intends - that is not "body" thinking.
I learned so much on Thursday - about the life of Eve, who I thought I knew anyway but didn't really! The ways that other people look at things really threw a light on areas that I had never thought about! This was not just head stuff - but life stuff! I leaned so much about the lives of my friends. Quite often the questions in the study were just jumping off points to share heart. I know what to pray about for these women because of what they shared - not more guessing! I learned a lot about myself too.
It could have been a very cerebral meeting. We are intelligent women. It was not a meeting of heads and brains dissecting the word - but three friends wanting to get to know God better. I have much to put into practice!