I am so grateful for the very fruitful summer and fall that we have had at WDC. My heart is full as I reflect on hearts that have been and are being changed by the immeasurable grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
This July, three young women went with me to Florida for our first retreat as a ministry. It was a wonderful time to get to know each other, encourage each other in our walks with Christ through conversation and service, and laugh a lot.
This fall, 5 young women participated in a retreat at the lake along with me. We focused on building a God-entranced worldview by focusing on meditating on Psalm 24 and 25. We also shared our life stories with one another. The sharing of life and faith stories with one another encouraged growth individually and corporately. Good food, conversation, rest and fellowship helped to refuel us.
This fall, we worked to build community amongst the 8 young women I am meeting with this year. The first Thursday of each month, the majority of us got together for dinner and sharing at my home. It is no coincidence that there are similar ties and struggles in a group this big whether it be tackling the transition between college and career, dealing with the divorce of one’s parents, or hungering for deep real friendships as they try to grow into the women God is maturing them to be. As a disciple-maker, I can encourage growth and challenge, but without the community of Christ around each woman, that growth is hindered. I pray that these relationships grow as these young women learn to reach out, encourage and serve one another. It brings me joy, as a facilitator to see these young women reach out to each other outside of planned meetings to recognize one another’s birthdays, to listen to and encourage one another through struggles, and to serve one another.
Another highlight of the fall was the Equipping for Discipleship class with women ranging in age from the 20s to the 60s each Tuesday morning at Fellowship Church. It was a rich time of learning, looking in His word, and encouraging one another to pour our lives into others. What a blessing it was to see how hearts and families have changed and rearranged priorities to be in line with the grace of the Gospel and the pursuit of holiness in response to the truth of what they learned. We studied Jerry Bridges book The Discipline of Grace and additional materials from Jennifer and Amy Denning, co-leader. There were many discussions about disciple-making with children, younger women, neighbors, etc. I sat with tears in my eyes and worship in my heart as I heard women explain with joy how the Gospel has come alive even more in their hearts and they are learning how to look at everything from marriage to parenting to career “in light of the Gospel.” Wow! I wish I had a video. God is amazingly faithful and good when we come before His truth to mold our hearts.
A few weeks ago, I ran into a woman in her 30s who took the class. She has four young children, and she definitely has her hands full! Imagine my joy and surprise when she told me that she was beginning to use the material from class with two groups. One, a group of college girls she had built relationships with years ago as a Young Life leader. They came to her asking to know more about God–not dating or happiness–but a real relationship with God! Then, she is using the material and book to lead a group of women unfamiliar with disciple-making relationships to equip them to disciple other women. She also told me how another woman from the class who is a disciple-maker is using the book and material with a college-aged girl for discipleship. Thank you God for multiplying and making your gospel known.
Throughout the summer and the beginning of the school year, I have had several young women come to me looking for me or another woman to pour into their lives. It has been a joy and privilege to connect several women in my class or prior classes with young women to disciple as well as women I know and trust in the faith community. Five young women in their twenties are now in disciple-making relationships with women who have a connection to WDC. Fruit happens when hearts are obedient to God’s call.
This spring, I did not teach the Equipping for Discipleship class at Fellowship Church. Amy Denning has been teaching the class, and the Lord is doing a great work. He provided through her and is teaching mightily through her. I am thankful for women who are gospel-centered and following Christ with their whole heart to pour in and teach other women. This is the fruit of discipleship!
The remainder of my time this fall and spring has been spent pouring in God’s word to 8 young women one on one. It is hard work and an immense privilege to see God graciously refine and grow others as He grows me, as well, in the Truth of His glorious Gospel. This ministry is not about simply listening to help people “feel better” or giving advice as to how to “live better.” Through learning to engage God’s word and live in His truth, we are all learning what it is to trust Him even when we may not feel that things are going our way—when it is hard, when others forsake and disappoint us, when we seem to be so aware of our sin or apathy. We are learning what it is to “think God’s thoughts after Him” being transformed by the renewal of our minds in His truth. What a privilege. Thank you so much for giving to help encourage the growth of disciple-making!