I truly do believe that God is watching out for us and knows, even better than we do, what we need in our lives at any given time. And whatever those things are, He makes sure to provide them for us in ways that we probably could never have imagined for ourselves. That's how I feel anyway, about a particular part of my life these days.
When we first started attending Rayne Methodist Church (we came across it in August after visiting several other churches in New Orleans) I met a really sweet girl who introduced herself and seemed genuinely happy to see us there. Deborah. Come to find out, she also works at the hospital where I work and helps lead a women's Bible study for 20-30 year olds. She invited me to come to the Bible study group, but at first I kinda brushed her off. Ok brush off is too harsh; I just didn't really take her invitation seriously and I completely forgot about it to be honest, because Bible studies have never really been my thing.
I've done my fair share of Bible studies (or at least tried to) mostly during college. I hated them. God help me but they were absolutely some of the most tedious, uncomfortable things I've ever done. When it reached the point where I was dreading the evenings I was supposed to go, I knew I wasn't probably getting out of those things what I should, so yes, I usually just sort of slowly stopped going. Call it an unfair generalization if you want, but I found the girls who lead those things to be sooooooooo fake! And I hate fake. They were always so insincere and fake and believe it or not, downright catty sometimes. Oh and, did I mention they were fake? They acted like they were so perfect and holy and as though doing this Bible study somehow made them better than others. They were super "cliquey" and exclusive and just...not super pleasant people a lot of the time.
Needless to say, the second time Deborah invited me to her Bible study here, it was with great hesitation that I agreed to come. Truthfully the only reason I went is because I've found that once you're out of school and in a brand new city where you know no one, its really hard to meet new friends sometimes! Especially when the majority of the people you work with are men over the age of 50.
I've been going to this study every Tuesday for the past month or so now and oh my goodness, I can not tell you how much I enjoy it. These girls (young women) are amazing! (And that's coming from someone who has never had very many girl friends because I find females as a group downright impossible to be around most of the time). I've never been around a group of women who are so real. These girls are sincere and open-minded and for the most part, brutally honest about themselves and with each other. There seems to be an unspoken rule that no one will in any way judge anyone else so in turn, everyone feels comfortable opening up and being truthful. We don't all sit around for an hour and pretend that we've got things all figured out or that we're perfect and holy and that God loves us better because we're doing this. These girls recognize that in fact they're not at all perfect and never will be. We all readily admit we don't fully understand everything in the Bible; we sometimes question God, or what we feel God is leading us to do. Sometimes we feel lost; sometimes we do things even when we know we shouldn't, and sometimes even when we try our best to do what we think is right, we still come up short. And what I'm starting to see the more I talk with these girls, is that that's ok.
By Christianity's, and even secular society's standards, this group of girls is far from perfect. But they're super, super real and in my opinion, downright amazing women. There are teachers and lawyers and a physical therapist. There are single women, married women, girls who are dating and living with their boyfriends and one divorcee. Some of them drink, some of them have very "checkered"pasts, and some are in marriages that are struggling.
Through them I'm seeing that I don't always have to be perfect. I don't always have to be right. I don't always have to know the best thing to do for every single situation. God knows I'm not and never will be able to do all those things and He doesn't even expect me to. People are, by definition, imperfect creatures. I'm learning that I'm going to mess up and I'm going to come up short sometimes and I'm going to be confused and angry and often times completely lost. But the beauty of it is, God already knows that and loves me anyway. I get to wake up every single morning and have a brand new chance to do the best that I can, and if at the end of the day I've made some mistakes; so what?