Connection Groups registration will end soon. We have about 40 openings left and don’t want you to miss out on the opportunity to be in a more intimate community with others. You can choose from Skype, Facebook, Facebook Live Chat, and Writing groups, you can find one that is just right for you. While many are for “anyone on the field,” there are also groups for moms of children with special needs, those returning home, those in re-entry, moms of young children, those on furlough . . . and lots more! Register here and finding the connection you’ve been needing.
With the arrival of spring and fall over the last few years, my heart has excitedly anticipated the Connection Groups I’ve been blessed to facilitate. This past fall was no different. I couldn’t wait until the sign-up day; I woke eagerly to see my inbox greet me with five women’s profiles. This is a favorite part of the process for me–reading whatever my new friends want me to know before I meet them, and trying to imagine what they are like with the information I have.
But this time as the emails started coming in, I started feeling something close to panic. As I read one profile after the other, I thought, “There is no way this is ever going to work. Every woman is completely different and we will have nothing to talk about!” My nerves got to me and I prayed the whole week before our first Skype meeting. Lord, please let this be an encouragement and help us have something to talk about!
The first call, no one ever knows what to expect, even if you’ve done it many times before. You have no control over whether the women will commit or how they will talk or if they will even get along. My nerves were on edge. I pressed “video call” that first Monday morning, we introduced ourselves, and right at the beginning someone started pouring out her heart! It cracked open the floodgates of love between us. We sat with her as she shared her story and loved her the best we could. Each time we met, the women drew closer together. We wept together, prayed for one another, and remembered each other’s stories. I sat stunned after each session as I witnessed the true connection between women I thought wouldn’t even have anything to say to one another.
Although our jobs were so diverse, although the age difference spanned decades, although we were experiencing different life stages in different countries, these women had Jesus in common. Each one of them was doing her part in her corner of the world to share His love with those around her and pour into the people God has put into her life. We could support one another in those ways. The ones who were further in their walks were able to gently encourage those of us not there yet. We gave advice and pointed each other towards Christ. I couldn’t believe the outcome of what I had thought would be a “no connection” connection group!
Being the facilitator, sometimes I fooled myself into feeling like I had to single-handedly lead and encourage the women in my group. But that’s simply not the case. These women came together and developed friendships that are truly iron sharpening iron. I walked away from every session astounded at all I had learned.
Another reason I love and have been blessed by Connection Groups is simply because of their temporary nature. Most of the women involved are living cross-culturally, which comes with its own nuances. Add to that the ways we each give and sacrifice to those around us and you have some tired and sometimes very weary women. Connection Groups have been beneficial to me because it’s only a 10-week commitment and that’s something I have often felt I can say yes to. Since we are all coming from similar understanding of cross-cultural work, we don’t have to delve into the specifics of why it is hard or sad or weird— it’s understood. We are in a safe place where we get together to chat and pray, and then say goodbye at the end of the 10 weeks feeling encouraged and knowing we’ve made an eternal friend. If we don’t have the privilege of meeting in person on this earth, we will see each other in Heaven. What a fun day that will be when we are all in Heaven and go to the table marked “Velvet Ashes” to reunite with those we made a deep connection with that one spring years ago.
What unexpected connections have you made?
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