By: Cindy Beall
During the spring of 2008, I became profoundly aware that I needed friends. I knew plenty of people but didn’t have those friends that you could call in the middle of the night. Everyone needs 2:00am friends.
I could have reached out to my campus LifeGroups/LifeMissions pastor to ask about existing groups. I could have moseyed my way into any group of women and hoped they liked me enough to let me join their group. But, I knew what I was supposed to do.
I was supposed to begin my own women’s LifeGroup. So I did.
When school started back up in the fall of 2008, I invited some women to my home on a Wednesday morning. To my surprise and excitement, 12 of them came! I told the women that to join they would need to find sitters for their small children. Not because I don’t adore their little darlings but because this time was for us moms to connect, engage, and unwind a bit. It became my most treasured time each week. I cherished these women.
We laugh and cry, exhort and defend, and on any given day you’ll find us praying and storming God’s doors on behalf of one another.
Fast forward 11 years, and there are still 11 of us in our group. To say we’ve done life together is a massive understatement. These women have my heart, and I have theirs. We laugh and cry, exhort and defend, and on any given day you’ll find us praying and storming God’s doors on behalf of one another. Did I mention that together we have 43 children and 19 grandchildren? Not. Kidding.
But it hasn’t always been easygoing and enjoyable. We have annoyed one another, hurt one another’s feelings, and wondered if we should keep going. There have been seasons where meeting together was not easy due to schedules and husbands and all of the children and grandchildren. But, through it all, we chose to keep meeting in hopes that we’ll push one another toward our Savior.
So, when times get challenging and you feel like throwing in the towel, here are some things to consider before you call it quits.
- Roll with it. The very first week my LifeGroup met, we sat in chairs in a circle around my living room and did a Bible study. Other seasons, we read books together and discussed what God was teaching us. Eleven years later, we have a scheduled dinner once a month called Supper Club, and we each take turns hosting. Throughout these years, we have worked with the seasons we were in and made adjustments as we went. Sometimes we could meet weekly or twice a month. Don’t be so tight clenched with your plans—allow your group to represent the seasons you are all in.
- Push through the pain. We are all humans who will fail each other miserably from time to time. We have to expect that. Some seasons in our group will be easier and more enjoyable than others. Then, there will be times where it feels like you just can’t connect, or won’t. If these people are pushing you to be your best Christ-following self, don’t just walk away when it gets challenging.
- You can’t make old friends. Ben Rector wrote a song about not being able to make old friends. Making new relationships with people as we grow is exciting and fun. But, there is something special about old friends. Those friends who know you and love you anyway. The friends who excuse your behavior on the days when it’s just a struggle to put one foot in front of the other. The friends who’ve seen you through many stages of life. Keep your old friends as long as you can. They are truly an irreplaceable gift.
Today, my women’s LifeGroup isn’t just mine. It’s ours. To even think about not having these women by my side brings aches and pains to places I don’t even know existed. Because they know me, and I know them. They celebrate my joys and comfort me in my distress. They are my people.
Find your people, your group, and your tribe and love them deeply.