This week I had the privilege of meeting with 40 hungry women. That may sound scary but… it was an amazing night. We gathered at Elevate Church where I serve as a staff pastor overseeing the Women’s Department and had our first monthly meeting as Elevate Women.
These women brought some of the most delicious tasting food I’ve ever eaten. Most of it Mexican. (they do love their Mexican food in West Texas!)
But as hungry as we all were to fix a delicious plate of tamales, chips, salsa and brownies (among other things)… the ladies seemed especially hungry for something else.
As we had our meal together, it became clear to me that the food was really the side dish. The entree of the evening was the sense of community and belonging that we felt. There’s something special (and soothing) about getting together with a group of ladies who share your values. Whether they share your interests or not.
It’s not important that someone share my interest in running or hunting. Or that I share their interest in cooking. (oh how I wish I did!) What fosters a sense of community is that we can share our ideas, dreams, revelations, questions, concerns, joys and struggles and feel completly safe to do so. Community is important. Community is the soil in which friendships are grown. And we need friends.
We need friends with whom we can be real. We need friends who are farther down the road than we are who can give us advice from their journey. We need friends who are coming up the road behind us with whom we can share bits of wisdom from our experiences. We need friends who are walking along the road beside us who are making the same discoveries at the same time because they share our stage of life.
The ages of the women in our meeting that night ranged from 16 to 60. I love that! I love that we can cross generational lines and build relationships with women who are decades older or young than we are.
Our meeting that night gave me a real visual of how beautiful and important friendships and community are. New friendships were made that night. Other friends were able to step away from their busyness, enjoy a meal together, be encouraged in the Word and catch up with life. There was a genuine sense of togetherness that community brings.
Recently, I heard someone say, “I don’t need friends.” I turned to the person next to me and said, “I do!” I have friends I see weekly and others I don’t see nearly enough. I would definitely say, I need friends. And by the roar of talking and laughter in the room that night, I would say those forty women need friends too.
Women are hungry. We are hungry for a friend who understands us. Who is honest with us. Who encourages us. Who tolerates us. Who will stand beside us, hold our hand, wipe our tear, share a belly laugh, be real and unselfishly love us. We crave that kind of relationship. That’s true friendship.
I hope you have relationships like that. I hope those kinds of friends are a part of your life.
Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man that has friends must show himself friendly.”
A friendly person attracts friends. My daughter-in-law Janelle who was visiting from Oklahoma attended the meeting with me that night. Before the meeting was over, she had made new friends. How? She’s friendly. And she had something in common with the everyone else in the room.
She was hungry. We were all hungry. Hungry for community. Hungry for friendships.
And I’m happy to say, when the meeting was over… we were full. We had a full course of friendships and a healthy dose of community (not to mention one too many brownies).
A word to Elevate Women: Thank you for being such a great group of ladies. It is such a joy to have you in my circle of friends and serve alongside you. I love watching what God is doing in your lives. You are beautiful. You are loved. – Pastor Gwen
Photo by: rpavich