The gift of fellowship

The past couple of months have been a really tough time for me for various reasons, it has taught me a great deal but one of the greatest lessons it has reinforced is the need for fellowship. When I have felt alone and that Jesus is not right next to me, it has been my friends who have reminded me that I am loved. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27:17). My friends have sent me messages of support, Bible verses that have come to them as they have prayed for me, hugs in the school playground, a listening ear when I have wanted it.  One dear friend prayed with me at my worst had the courage to tell me I needed to forgive those who hurt me, which I know cannot have been an easy thing to say. These friends have held me up and strengthened me in ways I didn’t know I could be and it is only through writing this have I realised just how much they have carried me through with their love and support. They showed me glimpses of Jesus’ love. They guided my thinking and gave me the Christian perspective rather than the worldy one.  they inspired me to want to be more like that kind of friend too.

Fellowship works with Christians who are on fire for God. I knew I could have found solace with some friends and would have supported me to be angry at the situation and would have sat with me in my negative emotions but I knew that wouldn’t lead me to God’s understanding of the situation. The Bible says “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind”. If we surround ourselves with those on the same mission as us, I believe we can be a powerful, unstoppable force. We are instructed to “encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thess 5:11). Do your friends do that for you? Do you do that for your friends?

Last year I did not have many Christian friends so I started a group where I invited Christian women I know to come to my house and be together every couple of months. It surprised me how many of our stories were similar, that we lacked fellowship and felt a strong desire to have more of it. Women in that group have been the same women who have held me in this time and I am not sure I could have got through it without them. If you are lacking fellowship, it only takes one of you to take a leap of faith but I bet there are people feeling the same as you. I took a leap of faith and invited everyone to my house. Sometimes only three came, sometimes thirteen (more when ice-cream was on offer as show above!) but every time I have felt blessed by the experiences we have had together and it set the scene that we can pray and support one another through anything that comes our way. I bet the Devil is shaken to his core at the friendship these women show me on an almost daily basis because with them and God I believe we could do anything!

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