Join author Mary Geisen in the latest "Ignite the Journey" blog post series. Get ready to reflect on your own growth journey and gain insight on how to navigate obstacles and seize opportunities.
It looked like any other Tuesday. I sat in my favorite spot on the couch with my Bible, the first cup of coffee for the day, and my journal, inviting God into my day. An hour later I went to my favorite coffee shop to do some writing before I gathered with a new group of ladies.
It was at the coffee shop where everything changed. On that day last Fall was when the four of us embarked on a heart connection with each other. What it sparked was an even deeper heart connection with God.
Since the pandemic, I have prayed for a community of women to sit with, learn from, and grow in my faith journey. Never in my deepest heart-to-heart moments with God did I fully believe He would provide that, and so much more. I could hear God whispering, “O, ye of little faith.”
Three years of waiting, praying, and hoping resulted in answered prayer. My faith was stretched wide from the wanting, and I had difficulty bouncing back.
But God …
God knew what was next. God wrote the chapter that was ready to unfold. He planned every detail even before I was born. My mustard seed faith showed up as God guided me on a journey toward finding a new community last Fall.
On this particular day, coffee in hand, the four of us met to begin a book study. None of us, especially me, knew the extent to which God would show up and fill each of us in His unique way.
The book became secondary to what we learned as we sat together for twelve weeks. The study was a rehearsal for becoming better stewards of our hearts, minds, and souls.
Wondering why it took three years to find this community of women weighed on me. Was God trying to teach me how to become more vulnerable? Was there a key component missing in the other groups I had spent time with before this one?
I realized that connection with God and others begins with looking beyond myself. It means I must attend to the people with whom I share my life. It is an act of humility to not look at my own interests, but instead to prioritize the interests of others (Phil. 2:4, NIV).
A deep connection does not happen without God at the center. God is the beginning and the end. He holds my joy and sorrow. He hears my heart and knows what I need even before I cry out to Him (Psalms 139:1-2). God guides my mind, opens my heart, and provides what I need while sitting in a community with other people.
Finally, I needed to ask myself if I felt safe sharing hidden parts that I had buried deep inside. As I was reading Psalm 91, God’s protection washed over me. I could rest in the shadow of the Almighty (v.1) when I put my trust in Him, sharing some of the deeper parts of who I was.
God opened doors to this new community when I allowed myself to embrace a connection with Him. There was a sense of safety in His arms as I looked outside myself for deeper interactions with others.
My heart overflowed when I came home following the new book group. As the first meeting came to a close, I knew I had met with ladies that God was already building into. Expectancy and hope over the that followed paved the way for a path that deepened friendships with these ladies and God.
Because of God, our conversations led to earnest heart and soul connections. It was not due simply to prayer or a desire, but because God was invited into the very center. God was welcomed into the midst of a book study with four ladies at a coffee shop, and it changed my life.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
Are you in a place of desiring connections with others and God? Are you praying for a faith community mirroring what is written in Ecclesiastes 4 ? (see vs. 9-12)
9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their hard work. 10 If either should fall, one can pick up the other. But how miserable are those who fall and don’t have a companion to help them up! 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can stay warm. But how can anyone stay warm alone? 12 Also, one can be overpowered, but two together can put up resistance. A three-ply cord doesn’t easily snap.
God is all about relationships. He invites us daily to do a better job of leaning in close so we may know Him better. When we struggle to spend time with God, we can rest assured that He is still near to us. When God is the farthest thing from our thoughts and actions, He will pursue us all the days of our lives.
You are invited to spend some time praying to God for a community of faith friends. For time in His presence. Let God’s Word become the prayer and the promise He has for you.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
God will make a way for you. He will take your deepest desires and make them into a reality. Your perseverance and faith will lead you to the place you want to be, but didn’t know you needed.
For me, I had been praying for a focused, honest, and faith-filled group of women, and it was three years in the making. I still had community along the way, but nothing came close to the intimacy found with these four women who gathered that day at the coffee shop.
Remember, God desires what you long for as much as you do. In Psalm 37, He says, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” v.4
Spend time inviting God to become your focus, and as you do, remember that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt. 6:21).
The waiting and refining of who you are will grow you into the person God has created you to be. His presence is with you along the journey.
You know me and my desires better than I know myself. You take my mustard seed faith and grow and refine it for Your glory. Your love and peace fill the gaps when the waiting for answered prayer feels overwhelming. You walk by my side as You unfold the gift of a “yes” in Your perfect timing. Thank You, Lord, for Your hope in the waiting, Your presence in the day-to-day, and Your love that never ends. I love and praise You, Lord. Amen.
ABOUT MARY GEISEN
Mary Geisen is the author of Brave Faith: A 31 Day Devotional Journey and The Advent Narrative: The Life You Didn’t Know You Were Already Living. She is a blogger, a speaker, a lover of coffee and deep, soul-filled conversations. Her greatest joys are her roles as a mom, mother-in-love, and Mimi. Mary wants to live in a way that others are empowered to walk with God through the second half of their lives. You can find Mary at her website: marygeisen.com, or on Instagram
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