Sitting directly across from me in the circle of twelve women was Ann*. As an opening exercise, our group facilitator asked us to share what our hearts needed to receive this day. Ann was one of the last to speak. This petite grandmother didn’t hesitate as she opened up about hosting her austistic grandchild the past weekend and how it had caused her much frustration and taxed her patience. At the same time her admiration for her daughter’s tolerant and gentle parenting skills had deepened. “Today I need to receive the love and grace of Jesus in order to be a more compassionate and supportive grandmother” Ann confidently confessed. Tears welled up and cascaded down my cheeks as I desperately searched for a tissue in my bag. I was witnessing the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.
It is a paradox, being convicted that we’ve fallen short while also finding simultaneous relief from shame as we trust the Saviour’s forgiveness and shared power to rise up. The humility and honesty from this life long Christian broke through my guarded heart and granted permission for me to be a work in progress too.
This experience reminded me why we need to find safe circles for vulnerable sharing in our faith journey. An ancient counsel given to the early church states “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so you may be healed” (James 5:16). Have you found a small group you can do this with? God knows we need trusted, healthy and nurturing relationships. Please consider how you can make time for these vital connections.
*Name has been changed to keep their identity anonymous.