She sat across from me, shredding soaked tissues with her trembling hands, sinking deeper into my purple overstuffed sectional. Tears trickled down her face. It was obvious that she was about to reach the point of “all cried out”.
The panicked text I discovered earlier only relayed marriage issues, not the depth of her husband’s betrayal. Not knowing where to turn, her friend had suggested talking to me. As she opened her heart, she struggled to untangle the emotional mess in her soul.
Oh, how I wish this was an uncommon scene. A young wife barraged with the images of her husband breaking marriage vows, through porn, or an affair, or some form of abuse. Unfortunately, It just isn’t.
When marital bliss becomes an unimaginable nightmare they’re left sitting in the rubble, lost and completely alone.
In this world where connections are more common over cell phones than coffee, we’ve separated ourselves into a false sense of community. We know each other through social media posts, passing in the children’s hallway or a quick squeeze during greeting time.
Facebook has replaced face to face. Pinterest boards are exchanged for sharing real space with each other. The popular speaker with name recognition has been exchanged for the woman Paul speaks of in Titus. You know, the woman who lives out her life surrounded by other families and other women’s children, embracing them with open arms during trial and triumph.
We no longer sit in a small group discussing the complexities of Scripture. We watch videos of well known bible teachers as they wow audiences with their fascinating stories and polished deliveries. We are so busy planning big events that we’ve put aside the women who are starving right next to us. They long for substance while we offer another tutorial on crafts, gardening and wowing them with our mad organizational skills.
While viewing the pictures from Russ’ trip to India I have been stricken by their hunger for the Word and for community. The people of Tamil Nadu work hard making meals to share with each other as they meet together in small brick buildings in oppressive heat with floors for pews. Packing in as many as will fit, until the outer porch becomes their overflow to hear of this Jesus who wants to fill their lives with hope in a land of 330 million Hindu gods.
When I look at the faces of the women there, I see a desire for connection that is no different from the hunger here in the States. Learning to keep a home isn’t done in a church meeting, it’s done in the everyday of doing life together. Side by side living gives them what they need to raise children in the remote villages of the world.
Jesus draws them there. Fancy programs or sculpted food aren’t necessary, just the raw gospel of Christ and the beauty of a life lived for Him and each other. The only sense of “what’s in it for me” is the life changing depth Christ brings to the story of their lives.
I crave the simplicity of that life. My life of home, church and community should be so intertwined that you can’t tell where one starts and the other ends.
The way I love other women can’t be reserved for Sunday morning or the quarterly women’s ministry. We need to find a way to fill our purple couches with women who are seeking to heal from the assault against their homes and spirit. Women don’t need us to give them what the world has to offer. They crave something different.
Their souls ache for an intimacy with Christ that doesn’t come in a craft lesson or folded into lace tablecloths at the annual tea. It comes in what I call “the dailies”. It comes while we wipe down counters, change dirty diapers and redirect an inquisitive 4 year old diva with bed head and eye crispies.
It’s found in the time to take a call, read between the lines of voice inflections and put down our phones to meet eye to eye. The living room is where life’s sacred moments take place. It’s where we can hear what isn’t being said.
We can hear each other’s hearts.
I’m working hard to keep my passion from becoming frustration. Not every woman needs the same thing. There are those who crave the games nights and special events. They love Jesus too and they can meet him over a craft or a project.
There are also women like me. Women who crave the passion and simplicity of our sisters who live half a world away. We want to peel back the layers of life to find friends sitting next to us on purple couches with our hands wrapped around hot cups of coffee. Sharing kitchens with the rhythm of knives slicing though food to be shared as natural laughter rings across tables.
Whether you admire a long farm table stacked with chunky plates or lacy cloths lined with china or cross legged on a floor with heaps of food on a leaf, let’s make room for all of us.