Girls’ Night Out

I have a new friend, Kim. We met this summer at a wedding, but just finally connected a few weeks ago over breakfast. She invited me out with some of her friends last night – what a nice time!

We went to a wine bar, had yummy rosé and sandwiches, then walked a couple of blocks to the local live theater. It was a lovely evening. Good to meet some women my own age – finally! Up until now, I’ve known one or two women who are in my age range – most of my female friends here in VA are older or younger than me by 10+ years.

I realized, as I arrived and took off my coat, that I haven’t really been out with a small group of girl friends for almost three years. When I first moved to VA, I was invited to a woman’s house for a discussion of a particular cookbook and eating plan, but I felt out of place and self-conscious in that group – I didn’t know anyone, not even really the hostess, though we’re friends now. Before that, there was once in FL, just before I was moving, when my neighbor ladies took me out for a goodbye dinner.

Prior to that, I went out many times with women my own age, while living in Wisconsin. I was friends with women who had children my kids’ ages, so that automatically brought common companionship. I was in weekly Bible Study and prayer groups with fellow women at the same stage of life as me. I suppose that’s expected – we had life in common.

Besides those groups, and the wonderful team of women with whom I worked daily, I’d get together for breakfast or coffee with a few friends on a pretty regular basis. Then there’s my dear friend with whom I shared many dinners over the years. And let’s not forget my weekly call with my best friend!

I remember many years ago, when my dad was leaving for almost two weeks on a mission trip to Africa. My mom and I had multiple conversations about what she was going to do while he was gone, and she had made plans with several female friends for activities while he traveled, to help offset the potential loneliness of him being away. And we talked then about how important it is to have female friendships!

I think I’ve complained here on this blog about being lonely, longing for nearby relationships with women my own age. So I was excited when my schedule opened up last night – I usually have a Tuesday evening commitment. It worked out beautifully that I was free last night to join this “new” group of ladies. I had just recently bought a new dress, and thought how cute it would look with boots; I’d get dressed up for Girls’ Night – a nice change from my regular sweater and jeans.

But yesterday afternoon, I almost backed out. I had returned home after running errands, and I thought how nice it would be to stay home and make dinner with my husband, share a bottle of wine, and watch Netflix together. But he told me to go, and said that I needed some female companionship. He knows me so well!

I’m glad he pushed, and I’m very glad I went. And the dress looked great with the boots!

Bible study

Yay! I found a daytime Women’s Bible study!

I’ve been looking since we moved to Virginia seven months ago. I expect it to be a place to meet with like-minded women, hopefully make new friends, maybe even find a church home.

It was important to me that it meet during the day. My evenings with my husband are already short; by the time we eat dinner, it’s almost bedtime! And so I like to be home with him in the evenings. Besides, I have lots of free time during my weekdays, so I’d prefer to spend a couple of hours for a group study during the daytime.

Yesterday was our second week, and the women were just as friendly as at our first meeting. There was coffee (whew!) and several round tables with comfy chairs. The study is a video format by a popular Bible study leader – Believing God by Beth Moore. The table discussion was good and the video thought-provoking.

In fact, the Holy Spirit has already pricked my conscience, and I’m finding God’s Word quite convicting, as it should be. I realized through last week’s study that I’ve been “resting on my spiritual laurels,” and then wondering why my faith didn’t feel strong. I’ve looked back at my life before our relocations, and compared my present-day faith to what it looked like then. I’ve been longing for a vibrant faith like I had before, but see now that my faith needs to be active to grow.

While I’m not currently in any kind of church leadership, that’s no excuse for a lazy faith. God has given me time to spend with Him, time to grow in His Word, and I’ve wasted it. My lack of spiritual friendships is also no excuse for my “stuck” faith. I can grow in my faith by studying God’s Word, spending time in prayer, and cultivating our relationship. It shouldn’t be dependent on others.

At the same time that these things are true, I do need other believers in my life. I need a regular weekly dose of God’s people, which means regular church going. It’s been easy to not go to church since we haven’t found one yet where we’re comfortable worshiping and serving. But that lack of attendance has been to my detriment, and I’ve missed out on hearing God’s Word on a consistent basis.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.  Romans 10:17, NIV
So back to church. Regularly attending Bible Study and doing the daily homework. Continuing my bi-monthly prayer group (even though it meets in the evenings, Moms In Prayer is important to me). Time in God’s Word, getting to know Him more. Watch out as my faith grows!

Dear Reader,

I know you’re hurting right now. You might be asking yourself if it’s alright to feel the way you do: sad, depressed, lonely, isolated, helpless, hopeless, maybe anxious, all with no end in sight.

  • I’m a Christian!
  • What right do I have to be depressed, when I know that I am a Christ follower, and I understand all that Christ did for me on the cross?
  • Does this mean that I’m not praying hard enough?
  • I’m not reading my Bible everyday – is that it?
  • Have I committed some sin that I forgot to confess?
  • I must be a bad Christian.
  • I am sure that God can’t love me when I don’t love me. I don’t even like me.

I understand these thoughts – they go through my head every time I find myself struggling against depression, every time it wants to push it’s way back into my life.

Here’s the thing. We live in a “fallen world.” That means that this is not the perfect world that God originally created – it has sin in it now. And all of creation, not just us as humans, suffer from the consequences of sin, which is all things that lead to death. All bad things. All sad things. All pain and suffering and anguish and heartache. All things inequitable, unfair, not true. All things not of God.

For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. (Romans 8:19-22, NLT)

But when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was nailed to the cross for our sins, it wasn’t for just our sins. It’s all the sin of the world. That means that when Jesus was crucified, sin was nailed to the cross. Christ died for my sins, yes – past, present and future, and for the sins of all mankind. But He also died for what sin brought into the world. So Christ died for depression, for anxiety, for any mental illness, for those who are starving, for those who are hurting, for those who are persecuted, for those who are sick, for those who are dying, for those who’ve been neglected. All of the things that are not from God.

For now, the journey through life, including through depression, is hard. But it won’t always be that way. Christ overcame the cross for us. He overcame sin. And one day, we will live in a world without sin, and all that sin brought with it. Depression included.