Anyone else feel like they are in an extreme-sport edition of motherhood/life right now? Every day is a new adventure of emotions, behaviours, and... snacking. We live in Canada so even the weather is an adventure - Winter joined the rest of us, put on its stretchy pants, turned on Netflix and got too comfy to leave. On top of all that, if I hear, “these are unprecedented times” once more, I might just lose it. But alas, it is true – these are days like we have never seen. Some have been a gift – and some have been really, really hard.
Like many of us, when quarantine started and regular routine ended, the weight of it all sat increasingly heavy. I lead the women’s ministry at my church and so I knew many of us would start missing our weekly bible studies and other church groups. There was a pressure (only from myself) to provide something so the gaping absence of our regular programs didn’t feel so big.
While zoom meetings and online bible studies were starting to pop up all around, I waited. Quarantine is hard, let’s just be clear about that. I mean, I am sheltered-in-place with four little boys with dart guns – it’s starting to get a little Lord of the Flies up in here! (Prayers would be appreciated!) BUT, we have an incredible opportunity to change some habits that could use some changing. The more I sought God about this, the clearer I understood the necessity for us to get into our Bibles; because, a crisis can become a crisis of faith when we don’t know God well enough to trust Him.
“The person who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed. He will be like a tree planted by water it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes, and it’s foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
My fear is that this pandemic has led us to press “pause” on our lives. That we would sit back and wait for things to re-open so we can continue attending church, bible study or whatever programming we felt brought us closer to God. I love all those things - I am totally a bible study girl - so, I understand these feelings...but we have to understand that sitting back to wait is a big mistake. And here's why: If we read this scripture in Jeremiah, it promises that we will CONTINUE to produce fruit even in the time of drought. I don’t know about you, but I would consider this “unprecedented” (gag) time to be pretty drought-like. So how is it possible that all of us, while stuck at home, social-distancing or quarantined – can still experience peace and the production of something NEW in our lives?
A number of times in the Bible, we see God referenced as “living water”. We know that HE is the source of life, HE is the source of peace, HE is the source of all things new! Those things may be a bi-product of churches, bible studies and other programs at church but the source of it is God - who despite locked buildings, we still have access to! Planting ourselves by the water is spending time in His Word and spending time in prayer. It’s letting God into the gritty parts of your heart and letting Him gently work out those rough spots. Yes, there are still parts of our hearts that need help even when no one sees us. When we do this, we open the taps and experience His peace, hope, and love as they flow like a rushing river into our hearts and outpour into the lives of others.
So what does this look like? How do we go about this if we have never done it before? What if we have always depended on the church to show us how it’s done?
In Acts 2 we learn about how the Christian church began. Jesus had already gone to the cross, died, raised again and had ascended to heaven. Now it was go-time for the church. Scripture says, the believers “devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer”(Acts 2:42).
This was also during a time of persecution. Christians were still being arrested and charged because of their decision to follow Jesus. We would say they were in a crisis but the scripture describes this as a time of incredible growth and flourishing. We would say they were under oppression but God was creating new-life! They were seeing miracles, experiencing incredible unity, joy and generosity. God grew the numbers in their community every day.
They didn’t fear the crisis because they had hitched their wagons to the Source of Life and watched as God led them through an incredible season of growth despite the circumstances around them.
So, after waiting and praying and consulting with some friends, we decided to start a Facebook group called “Devoted” after the Acts 2 church. If they could thrive in crisis, maybe we can, too.
Our mission is the same - to be devoted to studying scripture, to each other through intentional conversations, to be in regular confession with God and in prayer with and for each other. We believe so strongly that this model will bring unity and growth to the church and the way we experience Jesus personally will bring new-life no matter our circumstances.
Our devoted group can be found on Facebook (under DEVOTED Peterborough) and is open to ALL! Some of you are already there (Whoop! Whoop!) But if you aren’t and you would like to join us, please do! Invite your friends, too. It’s not your typical bible study, but a group of women who are studying the bible together. Instead of answering fill-in-the-blank questions, we’re asking them and working through it together.
If you’d like more info, click here for the heart behind the group and then JOIN IN with us! Since we tackle a new scripture every week, there is no getting behind. Every week is new. Every week more women have been joining, and I would love for you to be next!
Hang in there, Sisters. Our circumstances may be hard, but God IS doing a new thing!