In Every Season: An Introduction
But I also see great wealth of wisdom found in befriending women who are in vastly different seasons as myself. I desire to have community with newlyweds, singles, dating and engaged women, and older married women with grandchildren they'd love to gush over. The variety of seasons we all live in, they all add depth and wisdom that would be hard to attain if we only hang around women who are in similar situations as us.
The idea of community became pivotal to me when I was living on my own in Seattle, while in graduate school four years ago. It was only a three-hour drive from home, but I soon felt isolated and lonely trying to figure out my studies as well as struggling with emotions I could not battle on my own. I wanted to appear like everything was fine, so I would try to sound happy and independent, but inside, I was hurting. After a year of living in Seattle and making a few friends, I remember praying Psalm 68:6 ("God sets the lonely in families…"). I prayed for a spiritual family while I was away from my friends and family. God faithfully answered that prayer immeasurably more that I could even dream. I soon got plugged into a community group with around ten guys and gals from various life stages who all went to the same church. We met weekly, discussed the sermon from the previous Sunday, studied Scripture together, prayed for one another. We became like a family. I remember realizing, months later, how God answered that tear-filled prayer in a way that deeply impacted my life and showed me the beauty of community. I had grown up attending and leading Bible studies that were geared towards girls, but we typically were in the same age group and all single. Now, I was realizing how important it was to see newlywed as well as older married couples, engaged couples, and singles, all praising God together and supporting one another.
|My awesome Seattle community group at our wedding.|
|My best friend, Monica|
A few months ago, our pastor talked about the fellowship of the early Christians as described in Acts 2:42-47. The new Jesus-followers learned God's teachings together, ate together, praised God together in their homes and temple together, and lived generously. They took care of each other's needs and bore on another's burdens, just as Paul would later write in Galatians 6:2. They were living and breathing koinonia.
Koinonia is a Greek word for fellowship and having things in common with others. It is the word that described these early Christians and it is a word that I want to characterize the ways that I encourage, support, serve, and love women no matter what life season they are currently in. I want to be humble and learn from women in whatever life season they are in, and I invite you to pray about desiring the same thing.
|Redwood National and State Park during a road trip with my sibs in 2014.|
We are not meant to be independent souls, trying to make it on our own. If we look at the Trinity, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are in community as a Tri-Une (three in one) God. It's hard for our finite minds to comprehend this, but God is in community within Himself. And when He created humanity, it is repeated that God made us "in His image", Imago Deo. This brings worth and identity to us, but it also gives us a framework to live our lives within community. We are meant to live interdependent, shared lives within godly community. As women, I believe it is essential that this includes having community with Christian women of various seasons of life. This allows us to put down the facade of having-it-all-together and instead, living this messy life together as sisters of a loving Father God, hand-in-hand because of the grace given to us from Him.
In Paul's letter to Titus, he encourages the Christian women to teach and encourage the younger women (Titus 2:3-5). This interconnectedness between women of different seasons helps draw us closer to God as we learn from one another about His faithfulness, encourage each other during new transitions and difficult circumstances, and praise Him together as sisters. I believe this teaches us to be better daughters, mothers, wives, co-workers, and neighbors.
There are countless women who have already started Bible studies and communities that include women of different seasons. She Reads Truth, for example, is a great tool for connecting with women to study the Word. If:Gathering is also a beautiful picture of women of all seasons joining together to have fellowship, learn, and praise God together. Women of Faith brings thousands of women together to learn His words and worship Him together. And there are many more women who do this one-on-one with gals from their church or Bible study groups.
As a way to encourage women in this interconnectedness, I have prayerfully been preparing a series called "In Every Season" that I hope will be a tool used to help women of different seasons learn from one another. In the next weeks and months, there will be weekly posts composed from survey findings geared towards singles and young married women, Q & A of older women answering questions from younger married women, and guest posts from women in various life seasons. I am so incredibly excited to see what God has in plan for this season. I have been so humbled with the responses from the surveys and conversations I have had with women I want to involve in this series, and am so pumped to learn from women I admire and regard as wise.
Please join me in praying about this series and that it would be an encouragement to anyone that reads it. I do not want it to be about me or my writing, but about inspiring women to grow in community with one another as we grow in our love for Christ. And together, for us all to make God bigger in our lives. Bigger than our fears, bigger than our worries, bigger than our inadequacies, bigger than our circumstances, bigger than our life seasons.