“The Lord bless and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
The women’s Bible study group I’m helping facilitate started back up this week. The two nights before it began, I was so nervous. I doubted my abilities to be able to lead a group of women. I’m used to leading teens (primarily preteens), not adults.
Wednesday, starting day came.
One of my responsibilities is to greet the women attending as they walk through the halls. Nervously, I embraced the challenge. As an introvert who struggles with social anxiety, I felt elated when the study’s video began. We are studying, Seamless by Angie Smith this semester. After the video it was time for our small groups to meet.
My helper is an amazing woman. She’s gentle and wise. Thankful not to go it alone, I jumped to my task first welcoming each of the ladies before engaging them into an icebreaker. Most of this group appeared to know each other. They are in the next phase of life from me with married children and grandchildren arriving day by day. They are a fun group, energetic, eager to learn and eager to share. I couldn’t have been given a better group. When they shared, they spoke from their hearts.
When it was my turn to share, one of the ladies from my group, (one of the only ones I knew in the group) took time to tell a story about how we met and why she admired me. It was totally impromptu and totally received not only by the women in the group, but also by me. It was as if God, himself were sitting at the table giving me reassurance.
I left the study with a full heart on Wednesday. As I was leaving a women I had just met came and touched my arm. She said, “Kysia, you are gifted at teaching. I’m so glad you are our leader this year.” Climbing into my car, I realized I could have floated home on that compliment alone. It meant so much to me. Gratitude poured from my heart. After weeks of prayer over where I needed to serve with doors closed in my face, God not only opened a door, He poured love and grace all over me.
Now all filled up with God’s goodness, I get to pour into others.
This morning, I was talking to a young woman about a darker time in my life. A time when my body was sick and my heart had grown very bitter. I shared with her on some of the awful comments I had made on Facebook during that time and how my pride was broken in a few places because I had to apologize so often. Then I shared with her how sometimes I wished I didn’t have those moments; but as much as I wished they weren’t part of my life was as much as I appreciate them because they taught me so much, plus helped me uncover sin I had hidden so deep. It was in the dark moments where God asked me if I was really following him. Where he challenged my thought life and brought to the forefront places of my heart that needed attention. It was in that darkness that he showed me how strong His love for me really was. Through depression, frustration and even pain we journeyed together fighting our way through till joy cracked the darkness and God’s light began to shine through me.
It was such an amazing moment leaving Bible study on Wednesday, knowing that because of the struggle and work, God was allowing me to shine for him. A sweet moment of enjoying the fruit of victory, I will treasure always.