For the past three years now, I've met each week to pray with a small group of ladies. Jenn, whom I had met only briefly, invited me in at the peak of a season of intense loneliness. I truly believe the invitation was in response to a lot of tearful prayers I prayed in that season for God to bring me deeper community. It was an absolute turning point for me in our life overseas.
The ladies have changed faces a few times, in fact, only one of the original members even lives in the city anymore. That is ex-pat life. But the heart and fellowship has remained steady. Today was my final Friday Prayer Morning. And my heart is full of gratitude. It was a gift from my Father, a place for me to confess, repent, seek wisdom, roll burdens, and laugh - a lot. We were, at every stage, outnumbered by children and entrenched in chaos. There were usually crackers being distributed during the actual prayer time and babies crying. It took plenty of schedule wrangling, rush hour traffic jams, and saying no to other good things to keep it a priority. I am so glad we did.
On my short list of things that helped me thrive through this season - those sisters would be pretty close to the top. Christ meant us to live in community together. That can be so hard as a young mom, with a lot of responsibilities. It was rarely convenient to get there. But there is something about being face to face with a friend, and spilling your troubles, joys and hopes, that breathes fresh life into the rest of the mundane.
The work of those short hours each week has been seen in innumerable answered prayers. I have lost count of all the ways. I will long think of Friday as our day together to roll burdens to Jesus and leave with a lifted heart.
Parting is, truly, such sweet sorrow.