“What exactly is this group?” my husband asked me as I excused myself to head into the next room. “A connection group! I get to connect with woman who serve all over the world.” My introverted husband didn’t seem quite as convinced, but I couldn’t wait to get to know the ladies I was about to virtually meet.
We had lived overseas for 18 months and I was still trying to find a space to feel understood. My friends from my home town were wonderful, but there was no way to put into words what we were going through in our host country. The women in our host country were sweet and fun! I was just finding that I needed to explain so much of myself on a daily basis. I was very tired, and a bit overwhelmed.
I was also nervous. What if my expectations went unmet? I know that having low expectations is always good advice, but I’m terrible at that. I wanted a place to be honest. Really truly honest. A place where I didn’t feel like an outsider and conversation could go to a deeper place.
I was not disappointed. Each woman in my group was serving in a different country. Some of us were married, some single, some moms, and some grandmothers. Some of us shared the same passport country, but others grew up in places I would consider “overseas.” The differences, though they were many, didn’t prevent connection.
What we had in common was so much deeper than what we didn’t; a love for the Father, lonely seasons, a heart for those around us, exhaustion, a love for our host countries, stress, and a passion for the work we have been called to. These meeting times became something I looked forward to with so much excitement every week.
When the next round of Connection Groups came I signed up right away! In six months a lot had changed. We did feel more connected and grounded in our host country. We had friends and plans and a life there. Even in a good season, my new Connection Group blessed me every time. There was such an ease in communicating, and I got to learn about all these places all around the world!
Finally the time came for me to be more than a consumer. I think all of us know what that feeling is like, or we wouldn’t be where we are doing what we do. Connection Groups had been exactly what I needed and I wanted to help open more space for other ladies to experience the same thing.
Leading a group may have been an even bigger source of encouragement than participating only. We rarely had a week where every person could log on, we were still serving in drastically different places, and we were all in different seasons of life, but God did wonderful things in that time. To be able to pray for, share with, and love on each other was a precious thing.
With Connection Groups coming up again, I’m getting excited. A new group of ladies, a new set of topics, a new way to experience what God is teaching me through the conversations I will get to have. I can’t wait to grab my coffee and phone, find a cozy spot, and dive in.
When have you felt most understood? Who in your life “gets you”?
Our next session of Connection Groups is coming up soon! These groups meet online through email, Skype, and Facebook to share in discussion, offer encouragement to one another and allow you to get to know 5-7 other women around the world. There are groups for anyone, and also groups with a specific focus, including for singles, those in re-entry, and this fall we will also have regional groups to allow you to connect with those serving in a similar time zone or culture
Registration will open on Tuesday, September 3rd at 6:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, and groups will run for 10 weeks from September 8th through November 10th. If you would like to get notified about the opening of registration and receive more information about the next session, sign up at the bottom of our Connection Group page!