I've been hearing about this event that the church we're going to has on Thursday mornings. It's called Sisterhood. They have been plugging it and all the girls around me keep asking "are you coming to sisterhood?" They seem very excited. I debated all week. Should I stay home and work or should I go? I finally prayed "God if you want me to go maybe there will be a lull in my work load." There was enough of a lull.
Yesterday I met one of Brooks' professors. Her name is Judy and she teaches Old Testament. She asked me if I was coming to Sisterhood. I told her I hadn't decided and she encouraged me to come. It has been intimidating for me to walk into the room of hundreds or thousands not knowing anyone or what to do or where to go or how this works. Walking into a room like that makes me feel lost and lonely, longing for anything familiar. While I know I have to be patient and do the work of knowing and being known, it's daunting at times.
I woke up this morning still undecided but knowing I should go. I procrastinated getting ready and with 10 minutes to spare I scrambled while Brooks waited patiently. We were there early so Brooks could serve, which meant I had lots of time to wait for this thing to start, alone. As we walked in the front doors, someone was calling my name. It was Judy. She warmly welcomed me and wanted me to know she had saved me a seat just in case I decided to come. She took me under her motherly wing and we went to the pre prayer meeting. I followed her like a lost little puppy. She would glance and reach back with her arm, making sure I was coming and hadn't gotten lost in the crowd. And if I did or if she side tracked to talk to one of many people who love her, she would call my name and gather me back again. So generous.
Before the Sisterhood service starts there is pampering and mingling. Boys walk around with trays of fruit and raisin toast. Judy said I should get my nails done while I waited. So I did and they are lovely. Gail did them, she's from South Africa. I chatted with a couple of girls from the college and met a seasoned Australian nurse who gave me her number in case I ever needed anything at all. She was beautiful in all her bright colors and it was refreshing to meet someone with wrinkles.
I made my way to the seat Judy had saved for me, three rows from the front. I was thankful to have a spot beside her. We began praising and she sounded so good and strong. An alto, like me. I liked the sound of it.
It has been a welcome change to look forward to going to church even though walking in can be daunting. We've been through a rough patch with the church the past couple of years. The details of that are neither here nor there. I'm just saying that in the midst of it my heart was bruised and I became jaded. Questioning God and Christianity, the church, all of it.
As we welcomed our speaker and were about to sit down the girl behind me handed me a folded piece of paper and told me to read it. I do not know her and she does not know me.
"Hosea 2:14 'and now, here's what i am going to do: I'm going to start all over again. I'm taking her back out into the wilderness where we had our first date, and I'll court her. I'll give her bouquets of roses. I'll turn heartbreak valley into acres of hope. She'll respond like she did as a young girl.' Keep reading to verse 23. God just gave me this verse for you in worship."
God is real and He is good. He knows me better than I know myself and met me right where I was. Judy, a well known and loved professor did not have to care for me from the moment I walked in to the moment I walked out. But she is a woman of generous spirit. Sarah, behind me, could have chosen not to pass me that note. But she did and I melted into tears. I left Sisterhood today thankful, humbled, encouraged and inspired, with promise, hope and plenty of love. And I was grateful to receive.