Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
We meet once a week on Tuesdays, the seven of us. It isn’t always easy, encouraging and loving another person, being support for each other as sisters and friends. We have loved each other and fought with each other; we’ve hurt each other’s feelings and we’ve tried to keep coming together, even when we don’t feel like it.
Sharing with another person the mess of your imperfect self takes courage and risk. It is one of the hardest and best things–being known.
It can feel easier, safer, to hide, I know. But I think the risk of being known is worth it.
I have known most of these women for more than decade, since our children, 19 between us now, did not yet know how to crawl. We sat in the small, carpeted church library and talked about the Bible and parenting. It was pretty simple at first, sharing our fears and questions about being a mom for the first time. Our new little ones, the first baby for each of us, lay on blankets, on the floor with toys, or slept tucked into infant carriers while we attempted to hold a cup of tea.
Most of us, as young moms, poured out questions begging for reassurance: Is it okay I am here, even though I couldn’t get a shower in and I’m a mess and my baby who has digestive issues just threw up on my last white t-shirt?
Is it okay I don’t know what I’m doing; I crave sleep and time alone and miss adult conversations but am also so scared about what it means to be a good mom?
Is it okay I don’t feel like being intimate with my husband yet and I am exhausted and I didn’t know having a child would stretch our marriage beyond what I thought it could ever handle?
Twelve years later we still meet. But we talk about more than parenting (even though, with teenagers in our home now, there are many days we are convinced we have completely lost our minds).
We pray for one another. We confess our sins to God in the presence of one another. We share aloud our praises and our greatest fears, all when talking, together, to God. With life filled with things to do and places to go and problems to try to lay down, we spend our Tuesday mornings now trying to spend less time talking about the concerns of the day-to-day stuff (although we love to do that too . . . and are probably too good at it, actually). We try to commit to using community the way we need it most: coming to God together, gathering at Jesus’ feet.
This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com