About four years ago, we moved to Florida. I had been through a move before, leaving my whole family in Texas, about seven years prior, to move to Iowa. I’d gone through the not-knowing-a-soul and looking-for-a-church; I knew the ins and outs of such a transition. However, just before I left Iowa for Florida, I went through a very painful “break-up” with a close girlfriend. In a sense, the move seemed to come at a good time, allowing me a fresh start and a break from all things painful.

We all know that it really doesn’t work that way. Along with all your household possessions, you pack up your broken heart, too, and carry it right along with you to your new location. To be really honest, my heart was not only broken; to a degree, the whole thing made me withdraw from just about every other friendship I had. I found that I just didn’t trust my own judgment anymore and that I really didn’t want to get too close or vulnerable. For the first year in Florida, under the guise of making sure my girls were getting adjusted to their new schools (one in college out of state) and my husband was integrating into his new job, I remained without close ties to any women. Although I did attend a bible study at the church we’d chosen, and even went to lunch with a woman there, I never made attempts to go deeper than surface pleasantries. Eventually, my husband noticed.

“Why are you not making any friends?”, he asked one day.

“I am,” I replied. “I’m going to that bible study.”

“Honey, you were made for friendships with women. You need them. Right now, I appear to be your only friend, and you know that I love your friendship. But, your girlfriends give you something I can’t. You need to quit punishing yourself over all that mess in the past and allow yourself some friends again.”

Have I mentioned lately that my husband not only knows me very well, but is also very wise? That conversation struck a chord deep within me, and I began to pray about it.

I had come from a church in Iowa where I served as the Women’s Ministry director and taught a bible study. As I prayed, the Lord impressed upon me that I wasn’t to continue to attend a study, but I was to lead one, in my home. The thing about a home study verses a study that meets in a church building is the level of intimacy. The lack of space automatically dictates a smaller group, plus the warmth of a home environment encourages the feeling of safety for vulnerability. No longer could I remain comfortably detached in a large gym or Sunday School room; God was making sure that I would be drawn into the lives of other women.

One year after I’d lived there, I “hung out my shingle” and began a Wednesday morning study in my home. That first semester, we had four women, including myself. Talk about intimate! As I led the discussion and began a Prayer Partner program for us, I felt the Lord beginning to chip away at the walls I’d put up and found myself drawn more and more into their lives. Amazingly, I began to allow them into my own, and it not only felt good, but right. We continued to grow a little more each semester, to our current size of 14.

Last Friday, my “Wednesday Girls” had a brunch for me, as I passed the “baton” to my co-leader Vicki. They will be going on to the next study without me at the helm, as I step back to prepare for yet another move. It was one of the most precious times, as they gave me a wonderful recipe holder with their favorite recipes (many included in the brunch menu) and sweet sentiments from their hearts to mine. They also surprised me with the awesome gift of Walvoord and Zuck Old and New Testament Commentaries, which they all signed on the inside covers. They laid hands on me and commissioned me on to this next chapter in my life. And, of course, I bawled like a baby.

What started with four separate women on a Wednesday almost three years ago, has grown into a group of intertwined hearts – the Wednesday Girls – a family of girlfriends who through their own vulnerability, trust and love, graciously gave me the gift of allowing myself to give the same. Oh, how I love them!

Through them, God brought me back into the wonderful world of women, and, just as the girls commissioned on Friday, I know that with this move, my heart is completely prepared to embrace the next group of Wednesday Girls He has prepared for me.

Not in a small group? Just like my husband said, women are made for relationship with other women! Check with your church for groups that are available, or better yet, start your own! Blessings await!