This means this afternoon I’ll pack up my children and a dish I’ve made, and then after soccer practice, drive half an hour to my husband’s office to drop the boys off, then drive another half hour to the house of my friend who is hosting.
I realized this morning that the recipe I was going to make called for cashews that had been soaked overnight (which I didn’t do), and so now I’m going to need to find another recipe and fit in an extra trip to the grocery store to buy the ingredients. Then this afternoon I’ll quickly put it together after school pickup and make sure to have it all packed up and ready to go, along with the soccer gear for my younger son and homework for my older son, before we head out to practice.
Some days I think, “Getting to cooking club is a lot of work!”
And maybe it is. But it’s worth it.
Life with young children always necessitates a lot of juggling to get to any kind of evening activity, whether I drag the kids (and a bagful of distracting snacks and games) along or make other arrangements for them. And I’ve realized that I’m often far too quick to pass up opportunities for fellowship with other Christian women because sometimes they seem to take a lot of work and planning. I need this fellowship, and sometimes I have to plan ahead to make sure it happens. All the more so because passing up fellowship for time at home is such a temptation for someone like me, who’s on the introverted side.
This tendency first became clear when I began working at home many years ago. I loved it. I could work at my own pace all day, in my own space, yet…by the time evening rolled around, I was getting a little stir crazy. My husband suggested that I try some evening ballet classes, and getting out of the house to do ballet with other women my age (as laughable as our attempts were) really helped. I realized that getting out of the house was something I had to make a regular effort to do. Once I had kids, it became even easier to remain housebound. It was no longer a matter of getting myself ready and out the door—I had to get them ready, too. And I felt so guilty about doing anything without them.
Yet it was even more important at that point in my life to seek out the fellowship of other women, particularly other moms.
It would be impossible to count how many times other moms have reassured me, calmed me down, brought empathy and permission to laugh into the days that seemed like one crisis after another. Like nothing else, motherhood has taught me that we are not meant to be Christians alone in our rooms (or houses) with God.
Christianity is life lived together. Now that my children are a little bit older and I’m not panicking several times daily about whether I’ve harmed them for life (perhaps only twice weekly now), I still need fellowship with other Christians. I need to share with them about my life and hear about theirs, support them when they’re struggling and encourage them when things are going well, and allow them to do the same for me. I need to be Christ for them and allow them to be Christ for me, like we read in Romans 15:7: “So welcome each other, in the same way that Christ also welcomed you, for God’s glory” (CEB).
I may arrive a little late tonight, having run into traffic or a snag with dropping off the boys. My dish may be a disaster or may have melted during the soccer practice or the long drive and I will likely arrive feeling stressed about some or all of those things. But as soon as I walk in and join the group, as I get to help them finish their dishes or enlist their help with mine and hear about all that’s been going on since the last time we met, as we join hands together to say grace before sharing our meal, all that other stuff will completely fade away, and I’ll just be so appreciative of the gift of living our lives in Christ together. And I’ll remember, I need this. God created me this way. To seek out and to participate in fellowship with others in God’s blessed creation, for their sake and for my own.
So welcome each other,
in the same way that Christ also welcomed you,
for God’s glory.
Romans 15:7 CEB
Where do you find the fellowship you need to sustain you?