If it were possible to have a crush on a group of women, I'd have one on my small group. Each week we gather around my little table, most of us with a cup of Earl Grey and we read books by Rachel Held Evans, or Shauna Niequist.
The group is out of its infancy now. We're real. We're meaningful. We're getting to that time and space where if we have to shift the group around, or can't meet for whatever reason it feels unnatural.
We're getting to that space where it's hard to remember what life was like before we started. And my friendship with them over the past few months have made me realize that we need all types of women in our lives to make our community thriving and whole.
The Woman Who Keeps it Real
This is the woman who you can trust to tell you like it is. She's the one who'll tell you if you have a lipstick smudge on your teeth or if your boyfriend doesn't look as cute in person as he does on his eHarmony profile.
She's also the woman you can count on to be honest with you and to tell you the hard truths. The fact is, she'd rather hurt your feelings in the short-term than to see you get treated unfairly or let your relationship endure a long-term struggle.
This woman doesn't necessarily have to shell out the big bucks for you. She's giving of her resources and knowledge.Of her space.
She's the one who's open to invitations and selflessly gives in plenty what so many of us view as a precious commodity: her time. But, there are those days where she'll see something in the store and buy it because it made her think of you.
The Faithful One
This is the woman who will listen with an understanding heart. She's the woman who's there for nearly every meeting and activity. She's a focused, loving and tender presence and you learn to count on her in a land of the over-committed.
She's the member of the group who is all about acts of service. She's goal-oriented and will push you group to extend invitations to others. She always has the best interest of others at heart and she's always looking for opportunities to lend a hand wherever she goes.
The Empathetic One
She's patient. She's understanding. She's a great listener. This is the woman who will carry through group discussions. She's affirming in her ability to see eye-to-eye with every problem and prayer request your group has. She's also awesome at relating these back to scripture because she's good at making connections.
She's the woman who will compliment your hair when you feel as though it's a frizzy mess on your head. She's the glass half-full sort. She's also into celebrating the victories, large and small. She's also probably really good at remember important dates (birthdays, anniversaries, weddings).
This woman will say what you need her to say exactly when you need her to say it. Not because she's a people pleaser, but because she has a genuine gift for sharing words that will uplift. Even when she doesn't know it.
The One Who Needs Encouragement
Not that they're always hurting. Not that they're always on the verge of a mental breakdown. Not necessarily. However, they're the woman who let's your group practice what it means to love like Christ loves.
Most of us, in one way or another, in different seasons and life-stages have fulfilled each of these personality types in some fashion. We've all been the ones who've needed encouragement. We've all been the ones who've undergone a specific hurt that makes us more malleable to listen, more perched to be empathetic.
Of course you don't have to check all of these boxes to have a fulfilling study. You don't even have to have seven people, but when these traits are fluid throughout the group, they're the portrait of the embodiment of Christ.
And that makes all the difference.
Photo credit: © Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez