The pillows are tucked around me in the appropriate places. Under my large protruding belly and between my swollen legs. Every movement is excruciatingly painful. My crutches are standing not so far away. Tears well up and fear fills my body each and every time I make the short trip, waddling slowly to the toilet, the baby pressing on my bladder. The pain radiates from my coccyx and makes it up my spinal chord and it feels like contractions each and every time I stand up. Too soon, too scary and so I am on bed rest till my baby girl arrives.
It is just only 3 weeks to go till I reach full term and can undergo my caesarean. As I get back to bed and try to find the most comfortable position I am not alone on the bed. The book Limitless life by Derwin Gray is with me as well as my iPad and a new adventure. My first small group experience via Online Bible Studies with P31. I happened upon one of their email communications as I had done a previous study with them. I followed the instructions, clicked on the link and there I was now, sitting at the start of June 2014, with 20 other ladies.
Rewind the tape 4 months ago and the scene is different. I received THE CALL from my husband. You know that one call that resets course of your life and takes all the perfectionist ideals you have conjured up of how life is going to be and flushes it down the toilet? Mine came with these words from my husband, “We know where my tummy pain is coming from, it is a huge tumor hanging off the liver and it is cancerous.” Before I could process what I had heard and to ask more questions the call ended. They were wheeling him off for a new test.
Fast forward through the 4 months. Alex accepts Christ as his Savior. He under goes major surgery. He makes a fast recovery and now we are at my pregnancy dilemma.
Here’s the thing, I’m not a Bible scholar. My concepts of Grace, Love and Mercy have been warped by a Seventh Day Adventist upbringing and a fear of God, is always there. The mentality of break the rules, and His wrath will follow with fire and brimstone. My perspective of that had changed with a shift in churches in my teen years. I accepted Jesus and underwent baptism but my attempts of rule following was hard to throw away. I drifted after the death of my dad and was so tired of breaking the rules so I unleashed an all out, full rebellion. Later I returned but my relationship with Him remained distant. I got to church on Sunday but old habits are hard to die so Rule Following encroachment happened little by little till I kept falling short time and time again.
When the cancer headlines featured on the front page of our lives, I was more determined and desperate to get it right. To correct what I was doing wrong so He could make everything right again. Prayer and study, that was what I needed to perfect at the moment. I was highly motivated so that I could learn the means to unlocking the mysteries. That God would honor my efforts and this whole thing will be over.
I knew I was a slacker. I was not daily in His Word and I often said my prayer at the end of my too exhausted day. Ninety percent of the time I fell asleep before the Amen got out. But now, He definitely got my attention alright so I had to learn fast. I wanted others to fight with me through my fears. Because I knew me and I was to chicken shit with a history like mine to go at it alone.
It was then that I fired up the Google search engine and filled in my requirements for women’s ministry and Bible Study. It was my last ditch attempt to make things right with God so that He could sort out my life. To make things right, including this cancer bombshell that landed on our lives. I was expecting to do the Bible Studies and say the right prayers to experience the Bible miracles in my life. I eagerly anticipated ‘Lazarus come out’ or ‘One touch and the lady was instantly healed’ miracles in my current situation. I was on an all out rally to recruit people alongside me for my cause so that the ‘perfect life’ would follow. Instead, God answered with Proverbs 31 Ministries.
So here we are back in my bedroom where I am totally feeling 2 Cor 4:8 but I am not alone. I have invited into my home and messy places 20 other ladies. They too, are sharing their stories of struggle. This place is like no place I have encountered before. In this secret hiding place on Facebook away from the critics and the vulnerability bashers we get to be bold enough to open up and share our stories of hurt and failure. We sign up for a study and we come in perplexed and pressed. Scarily enough we leave carrying those same feelings of being perplexed and pressed BUT what is crucial, is that we no longer fight feelings of despair.
These ladies together with me have finally unleashed the full potential of social media in the most powerful way of connection. They need not care in what state of brokenness I log into FB. Whilst still in pjs, no make up, messy hair and far too much emotional baggage, we courage up, we cry, we struggle and we pray for one another with no judgement and condemnation.
I believe so much in this intimate setting of the small group Ministry to heal and push ladies past the point of no return that I now volunteer as a leader to one of the many groups.
My group is full for the next study but I do encourage you to join our next study and the small group Ministry. Wendy Blight is the author to our next study book called ‘I am Loved’. What a perfect way to start 2018.
To sign up for the study: https://proverbs31.org/study/online-bible-studies
To sign up for small groups: https://proverbs31.org/study/online-bible-studies/small-group-registration