A snippet of joy

I’ve felt quite negative this week.

It’s just one of those things for me.  With a background of depression in my early twenties, I have something of a predisposition towards it, I guess.  In fact, the last six months have been more of a fight than usual on that front and yet, in a way, it’s been a satisfying fight because I’m taking charge of my negative thought patterns in a whole different way than I used to.  And the results I’m getting are different.  Sad days but not endless months and years of it.

Anyway, the point of saying that this week has been difficult is to celebrate something.  The power of community.  You see, I went out tonight.  To meet a great group of girls from church and to start a teaching-cum-discussion group, which is how I like to do all my teaching where I can.

I was expecting not very much, to be honest.  Not because of the girls, who are lovely and passionate about Christ.  Mostly because I was just in one of those moods where believing and expecting the best seemed beyond my reach.  And so I thought the session would not be well-attended and that I would have to work quite hard in teaching.

And God, as he so graciously does, surprised me.  The girls in charge had decided to make the first session  a time of recounting their shared story as a community, with the teaching stuff postponed for a later session.  And as I listened to the shared history of a church lifegroup which formed five years ago and formally dissolved after two or three years, my heart was filled with hope.

You see, these are women who mostly began their faith journey in this church, some of them even coming to faith in this lifegroup four or five years ago.  These are the women whose lives have changed in some dramatic ways in the intervening time.  And yet, even three years after the last time that they met formally as a lifegroup, they are still family in a deep way.  Though in some ways everything has changed, in other ways nothing has.

And it was a privilege for me to be part of that.  It reminded me that this local expression of the people of God where I have been investing all my strength has the most amazing potential for being used in God’s kingdom.  These ladies are loving one another like family and they are loving those around them in their workplaces, families and friendship networks.  They are ready now in a way they never seemed ready before…to share the gospel, to love their neighbour and to disciple the next generation of believers.

That is what I have been waiting for, working towards and dreaming of since we planted this little family in 2005.  God has been working even when I could not see it.  And that gives me joy for what might be to come tomorrow!

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