The Misadventures of Cheri

Mortifying my kids one swimsuit at a time

My First Christmas Party of the Season

on December 3, 2008

Is tonight! Awwww yeah! Me and my ladies from Bible study are going to par-tay! And partake in the much anticipated, dare I say highly coveted, ornament exchange. I bought my ornament last January when it was 75% off (we have a $5 limit). THAT’S how much we look forward to the exchange. It’s been sitting dutifully on top of my cookbooks waiting it’s grand entrance into the Christmas world.

And the food . . . . . oh the food. It’s potluck style and these women can cook. I just had lunch and I’m going to stop eating for the rest of the day. We all show up ravenous. We may be on the verge of fainting, but undaunted we press on. Let the good times roll.

Tonight while I’m stuffing my face and sweating bullets hoping no one will be “fake happy” when they open my ornament, I’m also going to take some time and just bask in the fellowship. I love my bible study ladies. We’re all so different. There’s only a 3 or 4 of us that are in the same life stage as I am. Most of the ladies have kids in college, kids getting married, grandbabies and one dear soul is 85 years old.

I know in the past, I’ve sought out women who are “just like me” thinking those relationships would give me what I needed as far as friendships go. And many of them have. But I will say also in the past, I’ve sort of steered clear of women on a different part of the timeline. I don’t know if I did this subconsciously or not, but the pattern kept repeating itself.

Then in September 2007 I found this group on Beth Moore’s bulletin board announcing different Bible studies around the country. The last 14 months have just been wonderful and have filled a loneliness I didn’t even know I had. They, like most of you reading this, have no clue what I went through last fall. Again, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to talk about it, but I can happily say God has healed my heart, due in large part to The Patriarchs Bible study I started with this group last September.

And when I got the second biggest shock of my life last spring with Mom’s cancer, they were there for me as well. Mostly what they provided for me both times around was what I’ve heard called the ministry of presence. Just being there and being themselves. Every little story about their life. Every time they shared a funny joke. Every little thing worked together to help heal my heart. I don’t have accurate words for it, but I know it’s part of the relationships Jesus prayed for believers in John 17:21, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. “

And of course, where would I be in this crazy journey without you, my dear, dear online friends. Like I said above, you have no idea how much you ministered to me in ways you probably thought weren’t ministry. Sharing your life on your computer . . . your pictures . . . your funny stories . . . . your humorous (and at times, jaded) take on life. Thank you. Thank you more than you’ll ever know.

While I’m basking in the joy of fellowship tonight, you will be in my thoughts.


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