More Than Just Sisters {Accountability Groups, Part 1}

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Fire WarmthWe’ve gathered around the table again. Faye’s got coffee brewing and a fire crackling. Someone made popcorn and Mamajama brought a pan of something chocolatey. Which is good because we’ve come hungry. {wink}

Only, not just for food. We’re hungry for a morsel that will feed our souls. For something that will fill the lonely places and keep us running strong in the life race that has been marked out for us.

We are here with our funny moments from the month. Our weariest failures. Our confessions. Our grandest victories. Our hurts. Our deepest hopes.

And we lay them all down there – all our vulnerabilities spread out on the table. To be poked and prodded, encouraged and challenged.

Why do we do it?

It’s our monthly Accountability Group. We are six women from different walks of life who have one thing in common: we love Jesus. We happen to all go to the same church but our little group is not a structured program with a curriculum that the church provides. We just sort of found each other. And, we’re quite a collection - these six. Our kids range from newborn to college-age. Our opinions differ on this and that. (Right down to whether or not “crap” is a bad word or whether it’s worth it to spend the extra money on cage-free eggs.) We school differently.  Our hobbies range. Some of us work outside the home. Some not. Like I said, we’re quite a collection. But, I can tell you two things: (1) These women are legit; and (2) I’d take a bullet for any one of them.

This first Wednesday of the month is our safe place. A time where we shrug some of the burdens that come with living in a broken world and share them with sisters who will help us hold them up.

During our years together, we've swapped stories. The grace stories of how Jesus found us and, really, how He keeps finding us. Because He does keep finding us, you know. Not just for salvation but for sanctification. He holds fast to us no matter what life brings. And His grace is still amazing. We are witnesses of this in each others' lives. We can testify.

We've cried over our kids. Prayed for our marriages. Talked about the things that trip us up. Set goals. Asked each other the hard questions that no one else asks. Studied the Bible together. Been there for each other – in funerals and illness and sorrows and joy and money frustrations and personal failures and adoption journeys and bouts with depression.

But, what’s the point? Is it just a middle-aged version of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? No. Definitely no. If I’m going to sacrifice an evening with my family and invest in lasting relationships with five other women, it’s got to be more than that. And it is. Because Jesus is at the hub. Just Him. Not our common interests or a common stage of life or a common schooling philosophy. Just Jesus.

Let me share the verses that motivate us to keep at it when other commitments threaten to crowd it out. They come from the book of Hebrews, written to encourage Jewish Christians who were struggling. Maybe they'll encourage you too.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25)

Did you catch that? “All the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Jesus is coming back for us. That Day IS coming. To be honest, I can’t wait for it. But, in the meantime, I’ve got to hold fast without wavering. Easier said than done, right? So, how can I do that? Not by going it alone. That’s for sure. No, it’s by having some sisters in my life who will stir me up to love and good works. Women who will meet with me and encourage me. And I, them.

All the more as we see the day drawing near.

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Intrigued?  Tomorrow I will follow-up with a post that will have some guidelines and ideas to help you create your own Accountability Group.