This week brought to a close two 9-month spiritual formation Leadership Communities of women. Two groups….on-line….14 remarkable women leaders…36 weeks….authentic community….real transformation…kingdom impact…..continued friendships. These groups are part of the Keeping Company With Jesus Leadership Community.
Every year from September to May I lead women leaders, from around the globe, on a journey of experiencing a with-God life. For many, they joined the group with nothing more than a quiet stirring for “More,” yet not knowing what that might look like or where it would lead. One participant expressed this desire well: “When I began this journey, I was very hungry and very thirsty and very tired (though I had some trouble knowing and articulating it). I had heard rumors of the abundant life, and intimacy with God, and rest, and such — but I wondered what that looked like.”
Over the 9 months we explored and practiced a variety of spiritual disciplines which keep our hearts attentive, open, and surrendered to the already, on-going work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We read and dialogue through a variety of weekly resources. We sought God together and intentionally cultivated friendship with Jesus in our lives through real-life practices, self-awareness and living vulnerably and authentically with one another; for it was above all a shared journey. Little did we realize one of own would take a separate journey of her own and finish the race before us. Diane, you inspired and blessed us simply by your being with us. We are richer for having journeyed with you.
“Being with” one another will, hopefully, become a rich, highlight of our journey and the relationships forged would remain long after our group ends.
These are just a few of the concluding thoughts the participants expressed:
I realized how works oriented I had become in my approach to God. I practiced prayer and reading my Bible faithfully, yet I was feeling empty. Being given permission to stop striving and position myself to receive was one of the greatest gifts of our time together.
My time with the Lord feels less rushed and I don’t feel the constant pressure and guilt I once did. This has allowed me to experience the love and presence of God in ways I hadn’t imagined possible. So incredibly freeing!
Learning and practicing some new ways of entering the presence of God has been so freeing to my soul.
Having a group of women to whom I can be honest before; who I know will listen without judgment or condemnation has been a true gift to me.
You ladies have been my kindred spirit, my sisters in Christ, my iron sharpening iron, my cool refreshing water, and my caring and loving friends. To be able to pray for each of you has blessed me –to be a part of your thought process and to walk with the Lord alongside of you has been encouraging and a source of strength to me daily.
As leaders, the best thing we offer those we serve is our own transformation shaped by God. The Leadership Community offers a way of living in such a way. The next Leadership Community starts Sept. 15, 2014. If you’d like more information, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.