Over the past several months, my passion has become helping people see who they truly are, according to God’s word. He says you are beloved, chosen, precious, able, favored, protected, created in His image, created for a purpose, friend, redeemed, free, righteous, accepted, His child. This is just the highlight reel, friends. You are everything to Him.
The first Bible study I “led” (me “leading” a Bible study was a miracle in it’s own right) caused a shift in my mind and heart. Everything the author said could have been written about me. Everything. From the assumptions that I was being judged (by people who likely never even noticed me) to the worthless feelings of self loathing. Boy, did she cover it ALL. There were a lot of tears and discoveries in that group. Not just by me, but by everyone in it. God was working in each of us.
When I said I would lead a women’s group, I honestly expected no one to sign up. Why not? Um. Because it was unqualfied me running a group. I had no experience, and I had an immature faith. But I was obedient, and God was faithful.
All of the women who signed up for my group were mature Christians. They knew the Bible, they walked with Him – and they honestly intimidated me. What could I ever dream of teaching them that they didn’t already know? Wouldn’t they see right through me and my kindergartner knowledge of His will?
One would think, right? That’s what made this group special: right in line with the message from the book, they loved and accepted me for who I was at that moment. They looked at my heart. They didn’t judge me. They. Accepted. Me. ME. All because they knew Him.
A large group of women met weekly to share their struggles and triumphs because I was obedient. Lasting friendships were formed. Battles were fought through prayer. I was blessed to learn that one especially heartfelt prayer from that first group come to fruition just yesterday as an adoption was finalized.
As the group progressed, God showed me that I wasn’t supposed to teach them anything. I was to merely be obedient, start the video, make sure the conversation got going, and listen. Wow, did I ever listen. I learned so much more from them than they could ever learn from me.
From these women, I learned about so many things. I learned we all struggle with the same feelings of not belonging, being left out, feeling worthless, and not being “enough”. If these beautiful women felt that way, why did I expect to feel any differently?
This is not to say that remembering who God created me to be and how much He loves me are now a given. I still struggle. I still feel useless. I still feel stupid. Unattractive. Unwanted. Unloved. Uninvited. But (and here’s the kicker)! I no longer wallow in it because I know I am not the only one who feels this way.
When I am struggling on a particularly hard day, I now have friends that will speak truth to me, even when it’s hard. People that have my back. People who pray for me.
Somewhere along the path, I became vulnerable. I opened my heart. A heart that had become so hardened against anything good by lies spoken over me that I allowed myself to believe. By letting these women in, I have learned that I just need to reach out. I’m safe in His love and these women point me back to Him.
I now “lead” (but not really) women’s groups without hesitation most times they are offered, and, as was the case over the summer, even when they are not planned to be offered. We created a group and made it happen, and, as a result, I have a larger pack of prayer warriors armed with God’s truths to set me straight when I stumble.
I want others to experience the same freedom I have found (at least on most days) and to encounter the love of God in new and profound ways whenever possible.
I may be listed as the “leader” of a group, but I can honestly say that I don’t lead. Ever. I may start a conversation and push play on a video. That is it. Humor is such an important part of study, and I am always amazed at the humorous women He places in my path.
I end up blessed. Encouraged. Reminded of who I am according to His truth. My faith grows exponentially. I yearn for His wisdom and voice. More often than not, I find Him in the voices of the women He places in community with me.
As you head to sleep tonight, take a moment to reflect on who HE says you are, rather than who YOU (or others) think you are. Surrender the lies that others have spoken over you to your Lord and Savior and seek His presence for a peace that surpasses all understanding.
“It may feel like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You.” – Elyssa Smith
“I am chosen, not forsaken, I am who You say I am.” – Ben Fielding & Reuben Morgan
“You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours” – Lauren Daigle
“I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5, HCSB