When I first stepped into a women’s Bible study room, I was fresh out of college and new to the area. I had grown up in the church but after graduating and moving to a new town, a loving couple led my fiancé and me through the doors of their church. It was an experience beyond what either my fiancé or I had grown up in. Not better, just different. The joy-filled music added to the warmth of the people, beckoning us in to worship. Although the music was the first to grab our attention, another aspect would soon keep me engaged, Bible study. This church was passionate about it.
I looked around the room of about 25-30 women. I knew no one, but I did pick up on one characteristic of those in attendance, all of them were at least 10 to 50 years older than I was. In college, I was accustomed to plenty of peers my age in my student ministry group. At this point in my life, God placed me in a Bible study of women who would encourage and teach me what it meant to be a Christian wife, mother, and lover of God’s Word.
Each time one Bible Study ended, I signed up for the next. I was coming to learn about God’s word, but there was something about being in the midst of these faithful women who continued to study day after day. They had no idea the seeds they were sowing into my life by sharing their journeys and struggles.
Eventually, I began leading some of the studies for the women’s ministry of my church. I remember how nervous I was when I watched the signup list and waited for the ladies to arrive. Through the doors of the room walked the same loving faces I had studied with for so many years. These women who knew far more than I loved me enough and God’s Word enough to come to this study group.
I remember one study in particular that led to me breaking down into tears before we even began. My heart was in pieces over a marriage of someone close to me that had ended. One of my friends suggested we stop, and pray over the situation. Peace washed over me and I was able to continue leading the study. During a later study, I was walking a very difficult journey in my own life and those Bible study ladies threw a surprise birthday party for me, again lifting me up in my brokenness and caring for my soul.
One of the last studies I led at that church of 15 years brought two different ladies, both much older than I, into a relationship with Jesus. I still think of these ladies often, thanking God for bringing them into the church and that I had the privilege of getting to know them through our weeks together.
Women in the church have sown some deep seeds in my life. In John 4, Jesus sends the Samaritan Woman into Samaria to testify of Him. Jesus said to His disciples, “The Harvester isn’t waiting. He’s taking his pay, gathering in this grain that’s ripe for eternal life.” John 4:36 In other words, “Get busy working the harvest guys. Share about Me with others. Plenty of people need to hear.” I love how the woman was already way ahead, doing that very thing.
The ladies I had the pleasure of attending Bible study with never had to say a word in order to sow God’s truth into my spirit. They taught me that opening the Bible every day was vital to their lives. They worked the harvest and lived it. Their example has remained with me for twenty years.
Now I am no longer physically a part of their church, I see them in a new set of faces every other Friday morning in a different city. My current church has several ladies’ Bible studies, plenty within my age range to choose from. Last year I happened upon a study with ladies all 15-40 years older than me. My soul was grieving two moves, too much change, and desperately needed sowing into. Again, God surrounded me with warriors of the faith. We worship, we pray, and we study God’s word. The women send me home with an abundant amount of hugs to last until we meet again. Their love for God is evident and their lives reflect their continued thankfulness for the sacrifice of the Savior.
I am so grateful for all of the women of faith who have sown into me over my lifetime. God placed them in my life in seasons when I desperately needed to walk in the shadows of their footsteps when my own way was clouded with doubt, fear, and pain. There are some who believe that women have no role in the church except to keep their mouths closed, but in John 4, all of Samaria came to Jesus because one woman opened her mouth and shared.
We can not stay quiet. We can not stay home. The harvest is plentiful and we are all called to work, female or male, young or old. Everyone needs to know the love of God and even those who know need to be reminded again and again. I will not stop teaching, speaking, and sharing about the love of God and the beauty of His Word. The harvest is ripe. The time is now.