Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Tie that Binds

For about 13 years, I've been blessed to be a part of a women’s Bible study group.  We may look like an unlikely grouping of real glaring similarities between us.  Different ages, different backgrounds, different jobs, different interests.........except there's this one thing- we all love Jesus....and each other to pieces. 
Sometime between 2002 - 2005-ish
We started out as just a random mix of women assigned to meet together as part of a church wide small group emphasis.  We've had women come and women go since then..... moving away or just overwhelmed with other responsibilities in their lives, but, for the most part, our group has remained basically the same with a few additions along the way. 

One of the books we studied years ago was The Bad Girls of the Bible, which was a look at the not-so-nice girls mentioned in the know, the ones after whom no one names their daughters.  You don't see many little girls with "Herodias Jael" embroidered on their backpack and with good reason.  Anyway, it wasn't long before our group became known to outsiders as "The Bad Girls".  I'm sure the elderly people in the church would fret when they'd see the announcement "the Bad Girls will meet Monday night at 6:00 p.m." printed up in the bulletin each week.  At first glance, we don’t really look like we're all that bad, but our innocent, Baptist, Bible carrying, Philippians reading, casserole making façade helps mask the mischievousness that bubbles just below our surface.  Never, ever let it be said that Christian women don't know how to have fun because that couldn't be further from the truth.  We are Exhibit A. 

Up until last fall, we met every Monday night in each other’s homes.  (We're currently on a small vacation but hoping to reunite soon.)  Anyway, for all those years, we'd take turns being the hostess with the mostest, flaunting our culinary skills, setting beautiful tables with seasonal themes, sharing the recipes we served, studying the Bible together, brewing coffee to go with the pie, laughing until breathless, and praying for one another. The bond that is created among women, who meet regularly over food and the Good Book, should never be underestimated or taken lightly.  It is a force that is to be reckoned with.   

We’ve celebrated together through weddings, showers, engagements, new grandbabies (there are 52 grandchildren between the Bad Girls now), graduations, new jobs, and birthdays.  I am currently the “baby” of the group, so I have received a lot of helpful and valuable advice from these wonderful women who are just a few steps ahead of me in the journey of life. I’ve been well informed on what to expect when my nest empties, when planning a rehearsal dinner, when becoming a mother-in-law, and when grandchildren start to arrive.  And I've heard enough stories about hot flashes, mammograms, colonoscopies, arthritis, insomnia, and such that I have been well prepared to face the “changes” of life as they come. 
As expected, though, when a group of 13 are together for well over a decade, there will be difficult times ….surgeries, tests, disappointments, cancer, sick children, adjustments of being widowed, moves, aging parents, loss of jobs, and deaths of people who we loved very much.  Whether you'd found yourself at a grave, in the hospital, at a bedside, or just in a pinch, you could always count on looking up and seeing the sweet, loyal faces of our group coming when difficult times had paid you a visit.

This week we met to say goodbye to one of our Bad Girls, Jan, who's moving to Georgia to be closer to her children and grandchildren.  Another piece of us is moving away.  We've had our share of send off parties through the years, but this one seems especially hard.  Some people are just like that, you know?  Jan is a most genteel, southern lady and we will miss her warm spirit being at our table.  Every woman who has ever been a Bad Girl has left a piece of herself with us when she goes.  I suppose that's just how life is.  Everyone leaves behind a little bit of themselves wherever they have been loved.      

We all made a tie blanket for Jan which was a symbolic token of the tie that binds us all together no matter where we go or how long we're away.
Life can throw us curves.  Sometimes, it goes as planned.  It can make us feel like we're living a fairytale.  It can turn dark in a hurry.  It can move us around like chess pieces.  It can be dull and monotonous.  Sometimes, it seems random.  Many times, it's not.  It can cause paths to cross.  It can put distance between us.  It can weave lives together like fabric.  It can change who we are.    

I am a better person for being a part of this group of ladies.  I am better for knowing Jan.

We'll miss you, our friend.





  1. My sister would love this post. She's the baby in her group and the fellowship amongst the ladies is truly special. I'm very happy for her. She lost her husband over a year ago from cancer. Her saving grace is her church and the women's Bible study group. Have to tell her your groups name. She'll get it. Have a wonderful weekend Joni, Kathleen in Az

  2. Bless her heart, Kathleen. I'm glad she has that support system! We recently heard of a group of Methodist knitters, who call themselves the "Hookers". Now, that would be interesting in the church bulletin. I suppose we can take comfort in the fact that our name is not that naughty. :)