January 20, 2014

Seeing You Again for the First Time

This weekend, I had the privilege of joining with the women of another church at their annual retreat. I ate with them, prayed with them, sang with them, played games with them, and even painted beside them. As we exchanged names and details about our lives, I was blessed by these sisters.

I’m quite sure, were I their pastor’s wife or a regular part of their church, I’d soon discover that they have their own set of struggles and challenges. (And don’t we all.) But as a near-stranger, and a visitor, my first thought was how well they adorned the gospel of Christ.

An older woman stood at one of the meals to give public thanks for the younger women who had energetically and selflessly picked up ministering to one another when the older women were unable to continue leading.

A group of several women gathered for prayer—focused not on their own needs, but on the needs of their pastor and his wife whose responsibilities had recently increased. They brought these two before the Throne, not as symbolic church leaders, but as real friends and true companions in the Lord.

Older women, Naomi-like, held babies on their knees so that the infants’ mothers could spend a moment in rest and fellowship. And when those babies began to wail, the older women quickly carried them out of earshot, prolonging the quiet moments for the exhausted mothers.

Younger women ran to the parking lot to drive their soccer-mom vans around to the door in order to whisk older women warmly and comfortably through the cold to the other building.

Two women quickly wrote the names of their children on pieces of paper and slipped them into each other’s purses with the whispered words, “Please pray.”

I don’t know what these women think when they reflect on their church. Maybe they are sometimes overwhelmed by the challenges within the body. But I hope that they also can see themselves with my visiting eyes: a beautiful group of women, selected by a loving God who “arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.” (1 Corinthians 12:18)

This Sunday, returning to my pew, fresh from two days as a visitor, I had new eyes for my own church. The light streaming through the pristine windows washed over their faces at a different angle, I was newly reminded of their gifts and graces, and I fell in love with them all over again.

1 comment:

  1. Our three churches are on a circuit in three neighboring communities. As a result, we are close to many of the other pastors and their families who minister on the circuit with us. One of these pastors, some of our dearest friends here, have been called to another church and will leave soon. I think I had a similar experience to you . . . thinking of them leaving didn't make me think of us leaving. Instead, it made me look around and love our people and being here MORE.


Join the conversation!
All comments become the property of Sunday Women.

COMMENTING HINTS: If you are baffled by the "Comment As_____" choices, you can simply select "Anonymous" and include your name in the comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...