I have been meaning to return to blogging for my Religiosity series on religion and spirituality but sometimes I have so much to say that it feels like I can’t organize my thoughts enough to put fingers to keys. The subject itself is so complex and dynamic that there are times I don’t even want to think about it because it’s too overwhelming. My heart is often heavy because I feel isolated from other Christian believers due to many of my religious and spiritual views.
But today I feel especially compelled to talk about a recent experience I’m having. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I love feeling connected to God’s people through various church groups and ministries. One of my first priorities upon moving to Portland was finding a church home, and a group of believers I could have bible study with and grow in my spiritual life. I don’t have a church home yet (more on that at a later date) but I got connected with two women-only “life groups”.
One of the life groups I joined because a friend E (a fellow young Black PhD who is also new to the area) asked me to join with her. E and I don’t live in the same neighborhood as the rest of the women – we live about 15 miles away but make the commute across town to our weekly meetings. E and I are the only single (never married) women and by far the youngest in the group – a few of the women have children close to our age . E and I are the only women with PhDs and we are the only women of color. I mention all these things because when I first met the group I thought, “I can’t do this – we have nothing in common but Jesus! And even then, I’m sure we picture Him differently.” How could I relate to a group of middle-aged white women?
Before the end of the first meeting, I was in love with this group. Though we had little in common on the surface, we had more similarities than I imagined. What I quickly learned was that these women LOVE with their whole hearts and I see God in them. To me they each exemplify in their own ways what Christ stood for – compassion, generosity, patience and love. Each time we meet it feels like a celebration because there’s an endless stream of compliments, hearty laughs, and gushing over people’s good news (testify!). I feel so good about myself when I’m with them and even when I don’t see eye to eye with some one over the Word, I feel welcome and safe to do so (whether or not I verbalize it). I’ve learned so much about myself and my faith in the short time I’ve known them.
Recently, one of the members of our group took a terrible fall and broke her hip. One of the ladies has taken care to keep our group informed every step of the way – from the initial report of the incident, to the surgery, to the placement and then escape of rehab (my girl was NOT about that old foggies rehab life! lol). Without a moment of hesitation, the group rallied together to pray, plan visits, and coordinate efforts to help her and her family during her recovery. There is already a schedule started to bring food for her and her family for the next few weeks.
As I read through the chain of emails in support of our sister in need, I can’t help but feel truly blessed to be part of a group that truly takes cares of each other. They don’t just talk the Word they live it. And it’s these moments where I feel inspired by God and have hope that I can find a comfortable, accepting place amongst His people.
Have you had moments where your faith in the church was restored? Are their people you know who exemplify what you think your faith is about?
Feeling faith through love,