Wow, is it a gorgeous day in the Queen City – the sun is brilliantly shining and is offering a soothing kind of warmth for me today. I’ve lived in Charlotte for over 7 years now, but 65 degree days in the month of January still make me giddy. For this Vermont raised girl, it’s the equivalent of a snow day for a Southerner! The fact that I am sitting on my back porch, in my wicker rocker, wearing short sleeves and basking in warmth ON JANUARY 30TH is pretty darn awesome and I am not going to take this day for granted. Full of hope, I glanced at the forecast for the rest of the week but it turns chilly and rainy pretty quickly so I’m grateful for this unusual gift of warmth today.
If you attend Next Level Church you know that Life Group sign ups are in full swing! I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about the Life Group I’m leading this semester – because, well, it’s my blog and I can!
If someone had told me a year ago where my life would be today I wouldn’t have believed a word of it. But here I am, and I can sense God in every single step. He has plans for me that continue to blow my mind, and although they are surprising and sometimes even shocking plans, I am beyond excited. Over the last year or so, I have felt this driving passion to reach out to women. That may not seem that strange, but I can tell you honestly it is not a passion or interest I had before. I know God’s hand is all over this and He has placed this desire and passion in my heart.
I have met so many of you that have amazing stories. Stories of heartbreak, tragedy, missteps and big life altering mistakes. I have met women who have been broken and women who have done the breaking and have seen them come back stronger in their faith and relationship with Jesus Christ than ever before. I AM one of those women, so I suppose it makes sense God would use that in some way. This semester I’ll be leading a Life Group based on the book, “Confessions of a Good Christian Girl” by Tammy Maltby. I have had a few women approach me warily about the group, wondering what it entails and what it’s all about.
It will NOT be: a confessional. It will NOT be a place you have to spill your deepest, darkest secrets. What I hope it WILL be is a group of women encouraging one another and lifting each other up. My prayer for this group is that it will encourage us as women to step out from behind the facade, from the judgment, from the insecurities that sometimes grab hold in our lives and cause us to make decisions we never thought we would make. My hope is that we begin to see ourselves and each other as valuable and cherished daughters of God. At times you may feel like there is no hope. Or maybe you feel like you have taken too many wrong steps or made mistakes that are unforgivable. My prayer is that you will begin to realize you ARE forgiven. You are loved, you are cherished and you are held in high esteem.
I love breaking down stereotypes – especially when it comes to church. If you know me, that probably doesn’t surprise you. I’m sure most people who meet me, and even those who KNOW me deeply, are shocked that I married a pastor. I am not the stereotype. And I embrace it. It reminds me that God is a God of grace, of love, of forgiveness and compassion. That He does not condemn but can heal us and take us from dark and broken places to a place of growth and beauty and light. I want all women to know that no matter what you do, you cannot make God fall out love with you. You can try to push Him away, but He will never leave you. He is pursuing you, and He is pursuing your heart and I hope this group encourages you to embrace that realization and begin relentlessly pursuing Him back.
Plus – I’m bribing you all with promises of freshly brewed coffee and delicious baked treats. So if you’re looking for a Life Group that will challenge you, your thoughts on all things church related and will change your view of what a church going Christian woman should be – I think you might be a great fit for this group. I am praying for you already – those of you who have already signed up and those of you who are going to. I cannot WAIT to get to know each and every one of you!!