Who could have imagined what beauty God would eventually create out of a simple step of obedience? I started a women’s neighborhood Bible study in the middle of the pandemic in 2020. Two questions swirled in my head: Who would come to an in-person Bible study? Am I qualified to be a leader?
I had recently left a full-time all consuming management job of almost seven years and had very few women friends to speak of. I really needed Christian fellowship with other women, so I looked for a Bible study to join, but I didn’t really fit into the options that were available to me. Either they were moms of littles, empty nesters, or too far from home to be practical. I kept feeling the Lord nudging me for months to start a women’s Bible study. I barely knew any other women at our church. Also, it didn’t help that our “neighborhood” consisted of five-acre parcels, and I had never met any of our neighbors. Despite the fact I felt unqualified to “lead” a study, I knew, at least, that I could host or facilitate.
Sheepishly, I reached out to leadership at our church to ask about leading a small group and posting the Bible study info on their website. Green light! September 1, 2020, was the start date – only a few weeks away. Now it was time to invite others!
I thought about a small group I was a part of in Florida when I was a young mom twenty years earlier. I remembered it included women of all ages, in all stages of life. I remembered how naturally the different ages blended together, loved, and cared for each other. Would God do that here? That was my dream, but for now I needed to invite a handful of women that I somewhat knew at church. I invited seven women, and two said yes! We were a solid party of three for a few months, enjoying deep conversations about God’s Word, how it applies to our lives, and prayerfully supporting each other. Each week our friendships grew deeper, and new women joined us!
Over the last two and a half years the Lord has woven a beautiful tapestry of 20 women’s lives between the ages of mid-20s to 70. I also have a few of my actual neighbors who now attend. I’ve learned now the Lord is the One who brings those He wishes to the group. For example, one weekday afternoon our dog, Penny, got out and ran around the neighborhood. As I was running down the street to catch Penny, a neighbor whom I had never met was driving down the street. She pulled over and together we caught Penny. We started a friendship, and I invited her to join our Bible study. She is the sweetest woman, a widow living alone, with more wisdom and life experience than many of us combined. We laugh about it now realizing that Penny had a purpose that day in running away.
I see our group as more than a Bible study. We do life together by supporting each other in the highs and lows of life. We have celebrated new jobs, marriages, restored health, new love interests for our single ladies, as well as spiritual healing and teaching the Lord has given us individually. We have carried each others’ burdens in sickness, death, prodigal children, unsaved family members, anxiety, depression, loneliness, miscarriages, and disappointments that have happened to us individually.
I see our group as a tapestry. A definition I found for tapestry is, “a woven piece of art with a group of individual panels related by subject, style, and workmanship and intended to be hung together.” We are all created by God for His glory. Our Bible study ladies have become “a piece of art hung together” with different backgrounds, cultures, generational experiences, wounds, and wisdom. There are two views to a tapestry, the back and front, that I reflect on and value. The Lord’s artistry on the front side of our tapestry reflects what our group has become as He has woven us together. Flipped over, the back of the tapestry appears messy, but I now have a new appreciation of the fact that He wastes nothing. He uses all of our fragmented lives and creates a masterpiece!
Thank you, Kelley, for sharing your story about all that God is doing in and through you and your neighbors.
Wouldn’t you enjoy a thriving Bible study in your neighborhood like this one? Learn more about how to begin here. Discover a simple to use Bible study by NBS2GO called LIGHT. Let us know how we can help you!