Spiritual Growth

Women like Fern

Last night at my Bible study, I sat next to Fern.  She’s 85 years old.  Let that sink in for a minute…85.  I’m half her age, and I wonder where I will be spending my Monday nights when I’m 85?

This year the dozen or so ladies I am blessed to spend this time with are mostly grandmas, or nanas, or at least 10 years my senior.  And while occasionally, I thirst to be with a younger crowd, last night reminded me of the blessing of being surrounded by these sweet souls.

One lady arrived late.  She does this fairly regularly.  She’s also confessed that she struggles with procrastination.  I will refrain.  But she redeemed herself beautifully with a gift for us all.  Chocolate.  Dark chocolate.

As we thanked her and quickly began passing the bag of individually wrapped Godiva truffles around the circle it kindled a memory for me.

It was my first call to ministry.  And the place where I learned what spiritual leadership looks like.  I sat in a circle of chairs, much like the one I sit at on Monday nights, surrounded by older, wiser, and really gritty women.  We would spend 15-20 minutes in prayer.  One would open, another would close, and sandwiched in the middle we’d cover a list of regular petitions for the needs of the ministry, its leadership, personal requests, and occasionally a very personal offering of thanksgiving for God’s goodness during the week.  We’d call this segment, adoration.

It was our most senior leader who uttered those words.  And I had to hold back my giggles.  “Thank you LORD for chocolate.” This one was piggybacked by more than a few Amens.

I’ve learned that God and chocolate are the best combination.

As the bag had been passed and found its way to me, I smiled.  I peaked over its edge to make sure there were enough for the other ladies in the circle before I took mine.  Fern was next, she reached in and snatched her blessing as well.  This sparked a whole rabbit trail of a conversation that we didn’t have time for, but that’s the benefit of being with the older crowd, they lose track of these things.

They discussed whether to eat the treat now, or save it.  Our discussion leader embarked on a whole dialogue about the other treats she carried in her bag, that usually she would sneak during the lecture later on in the night.  Which reminded me of another nugget I learned from one of these wise old birds.

Just like any other ‘event’ you need to have all the right accessories for, so to should you have for your Bible study.  She actually presented this in her video teaching.  We had enjoyed three of her Bible studies and I was delighted when she was real enough to map out what we would need.

The bag should include : A Bible, Notebook or Notepad, Pens & Highlighters, Gum and/or Breath Mints, Water, Snack (chocolate), and Tissues.

My current bag includes all this… plus the mandatory name tag!

When she presented this in the video, my first instinct was ‘really?’  And then I thought back to a younger me… just beginning this journey with God and that ‘really’ turned into, ‘I wish I would have learned this at the altar.’  But no such luck.  Instead by spending time with these silver crowned eagles, I observed and learned it along the way.  And somehow became just a little bit like them.

And that’s the beauty of spiritual community.  God uses each facet to complement and increase the sparkle of the individual.  I’m grateful today for last night’s chocolate, and memories, and the company of women like Fern.

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