As Thanksgiving approaches, I keep thinking about all of the things I am thankful for. This morning, one specific thing came to mind: girlfriends who speak truth in my life.
I have been blessed to be a part of a group of girlfriends who have been meeting for over 9 years. 9 years! I can't believe it's been that long! Originally, the group began as a Bible study. We covered a few different books of the Bible, but then, when we started a study of Revelations...oh goodness. We were in over our heads. I remember staying up late one night, all of us quite content with our large glasses of wine, sprawled out across the overstuffed couches, with confused faces asking, "Now, what do the 7 lamps represent again?" It was quite humorous. I'm sure the wine didn't help! At that point we realized, perhaps instead of having a Bible study every week (we were all already involved in other Bible studies at the time), we could make it an accountability group. A safe place where we could come and share our struggles, ask for prayer and receive godly advice.
Our husbands later joked that it should be called "friendship circle" because we no longer brought Bibles, but always had wine. ha! But in all seriousness, it was a place where we knew we would receive truth.
And when I say truth, I don't mean worldly advice. I don't mean the kind of advice that makes you feel right and justified, but deep down, you know something is not quite right. No, I mean Bible-centered advice. Advice that points me back to Jesus. Advice that reminds me I am a sinner in need of a Savior, someone who has to live by grace everyday of my life. And that kind of advice isn't always easy to hear.
For example, when I go to "friendship circle" each week, I know that if I am in a foul mood, if I'm frustrated with my husband, if I'm having a hard time loving a friend or family member, I know that when I share that frustration, the girls aren't just going to take my side and tell me how I'm totally normal and okay to feel those things and justified in the way that I reacted. Quite the contrary. They are going to point me back to the truth of God's word. They are going to confront me if I have sinned. They are going to remind me that I am called to love, even when someone has wronged me. That I am called to submit to my husband, even when I don't agree with him. That I am called to be kind, patient, and joyful, even when I don't feel like it. Why? Because Jesus is Lord of my life and he calls us to do so. And thankfully, it's not something I have to work up the energy to do on my own, but by submitting to Christ and allowing him to work through me, by admitting my weakness and need for Him, He gives me the ability to love, forgive, and submit, even when I don't want to.
So each week, when Wednesday night rolls around, I look forward to spending time with these girls. And because it's been years, we know each other quite well. We know our weaknesses and sinful tendencies, but we also know each other's strengths and giftedness and how to encourage each other to use them for the glory of God.
So today, I want to give thanks for these wonderful women who are truth speakers in my life. My prayer for you today is that you find truth speakers to share your life with and that you become a truth speaker yourself. Instead of "tickling each other's ears" with worldly feel-good advice that you can find almost anywhere these days, I want to challenge us to be people who point one another back to Jesus, back to the fact that we are sinners in need of a Savior who are living out a higher calling, a calling that calls us to love, forgive, and submit even when we don't feel like it. And as we do so, God receives all the glory!