The Joy of Renewal
“Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” — Galatians 6:2, NLT
I find joy in community. A space where I spend time with people who I trust, connect with, and who I can talk with about my faith walk–our shared and individual struggles, joys, sorrows, and hopes.
As I visit with this group of women–who I only met in January–I find community and renewal. We are a “book group.” But, when we come together, collectively, it is not about the book. The book gives us a starting place. But, it is more about a place–a community–in which we find renewal.
Our time is a short retreat–a small space in our busy weeks. We arrive mid-week, tired from our busy lives. I feel tired from the routine of the ordinary–from living on auto-pilot.
I leave–I think we all leave–with a sense of peace and renewal. Feeling like Christ was there, sitting among us, binding us all together. We pray, talk, cry, laugh. We agree, disagree, affirm, question. We sit silently. We laugh loudly. We eat. We drink. We hug.
We all are women, but we are diverse. A wide range of ages, educations, family backgrounds, interests. Single. Married. Separated. Divorced. Remarried. Twenty something. Thirty something. Forty something. Fifty something. And, none of that matters.
Christ binds us together. Christ lifts us up. Gives us this space to breathe Him in. And, despite the individual struggles or joys going on in our lives, we find renewal and hope.
I am renewed.
“Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.” — James 3:18, The Message