i had a whole bunch of 'i need to do' things this weekend that somehow slipped past me. like blogging on time. oh well.
i went on the women's retreat with my church on friday and saturday, and i think my biggest takeaway from it was this:
i am extremely blessed to have a community of single women in my life stage in my immediate and physical presence. there have been many seasons of life where this wasn't true, and i am beyond thankful for it now.
but having our small group surrounded by many other women who are no longer in our life stage was useful, too. because we have much to learn from one another.
i think many churches today struggle to serve single people--and single women in particular. mj shared a really great blog the other day that discussed this very idea. (here's the link, if you missed it: http://lindseysthoughts.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/6-ways-to-love-single-women-in-your-church/)
so it is easy for me to sit in a group of women who are married and have kids and feel grossly misunderstood and forgotten. it is easy for me to let waves of sadness drown me instead of listening to their hearts. it is easy for me to close off and not want to be vulnerable with women whose lives look nothing like mine.
BUT--and this is a big old giant but--i know i do a huge disservice to my church (and the Church) when i allow bitterness and sadness and jealousy to cause me to miss the many ways they are really loving, connecting with, and serving me. it is a delicate balance, and there will probably always be a tension surrounding it. that's usually the case when people who are so different are in the same space. that doesn't, however, mean that the tension cannot be couched with love and grace.
my favorite grownup has been loving on me, listening to me, encouraging me, challenging me, and speaking life into me for the past twelve years. she and i have been in completely different life stages for that entire time. i can't even begin to imagine all the wisdom, laughter, joy, and community i would have missed out on had heather dawn not come into my life...or if i had chosen to shut my heart off from her because our lives look so different.
my heart is free and vulnerable with heather dawn because she has modeled abundant life to me. she has genuinely cared for me. she has laughed and cried with me. so i trust her. i choose to be authentic with her because i believe she loves me. if i am going to love the church well, i must consistently choose to believe that they love me. even if their lives are different. even if i feel misunderstood.
because i believe that's what the church is supposed to be--intentional, authentic community moving toward one another in a spirit of love and grace.