I wasn’t going to go to the home group tonight—I really wasn’t. It was too cold out, and I was depressed, and Susan, the gal who’d been inviting me, wasn’t even going to be there. So why should I bother to go out into the miserable, rainy night when I could stay curled up in my nice, warm bed counting my sorrows?
The phone rang at 5:15 PM. I didn’t pick it up. Susan’s voice sounded through the answering machine. “Jean, I know you can hear me. Get yourself up and over to the Home Group. Nancy’ll be there even though I can’t, and you need the fellowship and encouragement. I’ll call you later to see how it went.”
I punched the pillow and rolled over. My heart rate picked up. “What good would it do?” I argued with her in my mind. “No group of people in some stranger’s house could bring my Jack back or make Tyler start being responsible or make Ashley snap out of her premature crusade for independence.” I curled up more tightly in my protective ball.
Once again the phone rang. “Give up already!” I groaned. But the answering machine told me it wasn’t Susan being pushy after all. “Come out and party with us,” Kelly from work was inviting.
“A widow at my age with children with my children’s problems should just party the night away?” I thought in disgust. “No way.” I belonged in a group of fellow Christians lifting up my concerns in prayer, whether Susan was going to be there or not. Not at a party, not curled up in my bed felling sorry for myself, wasting the evening like I had wasted the day.
So I emerged from my cave, and the next thing I knew, I was seated in Larissa Matthews’ living room meeting a small group of other single mothers. And walla! It was open forum night!! Perfect opportunity to spill my guts, right?
So I told them all about Jack and how he’d been the best husband and father anyone could hope for, but three years ago I’d lost him to cancer, and now I was raising two teenagers on my own. And the company I had worked for was on the verge of a big lay off, and I might soon lose my job. And my daughter, who used to be a perfect child, now had a twenty-two-year-old boyfriend and was failing classes and getting into trouble at school—and this was her senior year, mind you!! And my son never called home to tell me when he was going to be late. And no one ever told me they loved me any more.
If felt so good to vent with these ladies who understood and who were walking in the same shoes as I was. And don’t get me wrong—the others shared their concerns, too. Hope Singleton had something going on with her son, and Karen Anderson’s daughter was having trouble with anxiety, and Nancy Edwards had several people she had been sharing Christ with—“divine appointments” she called them.
So we prayed about all these matters, and I thought we’d had a pretty good meeting. I mean, I was glad I’d come. But as we were winding down, I noticed Karen Anderson enveloping Hope Singleton in a supportive embrace, and Nancy Edwards was saying, “Oh, do we need to lay hands and pray?”
And then, without a word, the group moved as one, and laid hands on Hope and prayed for her and her family.
“Father, strengthen her.”
“Give her wisdom and discernment.”
“Protect her and her children.”
“Encourage her, Father, and remind her of the promises from Your Word.”
“Bless her and her children with the blessings that come from belonging to You.”
“Hide them in the shadow of Your wings.”
I watched peace replace anguish as love filled the room. And I wept.
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