One of the most difficult aspects of moving was leaving the women of Orangewood. In various ways over ten years of my early marriage, early parenting, and general growing-up, women of diverse backgrounds, ages, and stages ministered to me--from the wives of my coworkers who fed me and introduced me to french press coffee to my co-laborers at school who knew the trials and blessings of teaching high schoolers to the women of WIC who spoke truth, encouraged me, shared their hearts, and demonstrated the beauty of Christ.
So I was heartened and a bit saddened yesterday when I chatted on Facebook with a wonderful older woman who exemplified the kind of relationships the church is supposed to foster when women instruct, encourage, and bless each other. Our relationship might not have been deep or long, but she is a woman who gives to those around her and I was blessed to have received.
That same evening, I went to dinner with a group of women from our church here. The age range was wide as were the situations and struggles. And while I was a quiet observer much of the evening, I saw again the beauty of women being together, building each other up, laughing, and sharing. On the drive home, I teared at both the memory of the deep, irreplaceable bonds I've had and the prospect of new friendships.
This morning, with kids playing and babies not sleeping, a time out and a potty accident, a friend and I had a few hours to have an extended, though often interrupted, conversation of Bible, babies, bread, and some phonics! As we hustled tired children out the door, the morning's emotions got to us, and we both welled up a bit. We'd had the kind of morning where you laugh and commiserate, spur each other on and edifiy each other.
I so love, love, love the body of Christ!