Last night marked the ending of another semester of Grace Groups. This time though, I sat in the participant's chair rather than that of a leader. And it was good for me - I was thrilled to be able to participate in the second book.
The last night of group is known for a time for celebration.
Over the twelve weeks of the study we've had our stories up on the walls - quite literally actually. Our body outline is drawn and our stories are written out in visible, tangible words that leave you unable to forget what you bring into that room week to week. This was hard for me initially, and as the weeks went on, I began to soften and find more kindness for the outline of my body that I had to look at week to week.
To celebrate, I not only gave myself a face, but I wrote over my story in huge, all capital letters words of my true identity in Christ - like blameless, holy, washed, cleansed, pure, adopted by God, chosen, LOVED, and royalty as heir to the Kingdom of God. You could still see the other words - they are there. They are part of me and my story, but the words of truth of who I really am were large and clear and visible.
It was good.
One of the things I love most about the very last night of group is where we all clothe each other with words. Everyone has selected a word (or two or three) about each person in group - how we have experienced them, what we have seen, or maybe even a vision for them. Last night I was given words that felt new. And it filled me with hope to be given some "new" words that I hadn't received before in group.
Lighthouse, courageous beauty, passionate wrestler, venturesome, passion and alive. They all made me tear up and smile.
I head off to Michigan the week after next to participate in the second book again. Though we will go through it in a week's time. I am full of anticipation and excitement and some anxiety as well for what awaits me there.
A few weeks ago we sat in our group, and instead of listening to one of the leaders teach, we listened to a lesson taught up at SALTS in Michigan from last fall on a CD. The voice of the woman was familiar and hearing her tender tone as she began to speak about Kindness made me cry. My life has been changed because of this woman's impact on my heart, her invitation to Grace Group, and this ministry. My heart remembers her well as I reflect back on how I got here.
This ministry and these groups have been life-changing and life-giving for me. Below are just a few of the women from our group who have made a forever mark on my heart.
Thank you Lord for giving me life and bringing me back to it when I thought it was lost....