So, a friend and I listened. I sifted through all the comments and private messages and we prayed and thought and decided how we wanted to proceed.
We presented a CRAZY idea.
We wanted women to get together and...have dinner.
That's it. Just dinner. Ok, maybe drinks and something chocolate too if you insist. But mostly? Dinner.
No forced discussions, no book studies, no bible verses to read and memorize. It wasn't going to be a group for young women or old women. Not a group for moms or singles. Wouldn't matter if you believed in God or not. The only way we intended to organize groups was by location.
It was risky, so we were told. No common denominator? No big goal? No mission? How could that possibly work? Why would women jump into a group with strangers and open up?
And to be honest with you, we didn't have all the answers. At all. We stammered and stuttered and confessed we weren't exactly sure but we DID know this is what we were being led to do. God was in control of this.
June is our 5th month meeting together as a community and growth has been amazing.
Obviously, we are where God wants us to be because it's kind of as baffling to us as it is to you that this concept is working. But in addition to the whole God thing, here's what I've discovered as I sit around the dinner table with other women.
We are all fragile in our own ways. There isn't a woman I've come across in this process who isn't insecure in some way, broken in some way, afraid in some way and dying inside to share her true self without fear of rejection. This is buried so deep in who we are as women, and it is screaming to come out.
When we presented this idea publicly, we tried to make it pretty clear exactly what it was about. And because of that, women have come to this group ready and willing to be open about who they are. They know they don't have to hide behind discussions or books because there isn't any of that. We are all here because we all want to be real. Shaunna and I worried that because we were planning monthly dinners, it might take months and months for bonds and friendships to form. But that fear has melted away as these things have happened in many cases by the FIRST meeting.
Because so many women have come ready to share of themselves and be vulnerable, a quick bond is formed. I don't even know how to explain it other than - when one person starts and shares, another person feels like they can share, and then a domino effect occurs and suddenly everyone has been very open and vulnerable and no one dares mess with that. Somehow, so far, everyone seems to understand that this is a little golden pocket of community - a really special and sacred place and please, please do not destroy it.
As women, we've all been victim to someone backstabbing, lying, gossiping or competing with us. We've done it, and we've had it done to us.
I'm so BEYOND proud of this community because we strive to break free of those stereotypes and live in a way that is brave and free.
And when I say brave, I mean it. I have listened to women cry and discuss pain. Broken marriages, body image issues, blended family struggles, depression, suicidal thoughts, abuse...I am amazed at how brave you all are. And don't worry, it's not all hard stuff. At our last dinner, I laughed so hard my face actually hurt from smiling so much. And yeah, there were bras hanging from light fixtures (no, no one was drunk). We have FUN together but we do hard stuff.
Are we perfect at this? Of course not. Will there be hurt feelings at some point? Most definitely. We are women and we are emotional beings. It's how we were created. But 5 months in, this community is growing in leaps and bounds and in the words of my co-founder Shaunna, "I don't know how I haven't known these women my whole life"
To all of you Nourish women: you make me laugh, you make me cry, my heart is bursting at the seams
wanting each and every one of you to experience true sisterhood. We can't say it enough - thank you for trusting us. For jumping into an idea that a lot of people thought was crazy and going along for the ride. Thank you for being willing to set aside the temptation to be competitive, to gossip, to backbite, to judge. Thank you for looking at each woman in your group as an equal and taking a leap of faith in trusting each other.
WE LOVE YOU FOR IT! Big things in store for you, Nourish. Big things. You can get involved by emailing us at NourishCLT@gmail.com