By: Wendy De Jesus
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Proverbs 17:17
Have you ever been asked the question, “What are you thankful for”? If you are anything like me, then the answer is probably yes. I have been asked this question way more than I can remember. When I was young, the answer was never consistent, but I always had something to say. One day, it could have been all of the toys I had, and the next, it could have been that the sky was blue. But as I got older, feeling thankful for things just seemed like such a difficult task. Now, don’t get me wrong, it's not that I didn't have many things to be thankful for, but all of the situations that surrounded me made it very difficult to see all of the great things that I should have been thankful for.
As an adult, I quickly began to realize that sometimes things don’t go your way (bummer). Days become more task oriented, heartbreaks are devastating, and hope … well, I saw very little hope. I slowly started excluding myself from family and friends, and slowly started becoming a bit bitter. But then, I found Grace Family Church. I found community. I found sisterhood. I still remember one of the first times that I sat down at a Beautiful table. I remember feeling so heartbroken because my relationship was a disaster, I felt like I had no one, and on top of it all, I had no hope for a better future. But let me tell you that God blessed me with a table filled with angels that reminded me of Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” And I was reminded of what it felt like to have hope again.
These women and all of the women who have sat at my table throughout the years have blessed me in ways that I can’t even begin to describe. They have walked with me hand in hand through the toughest and darkest parts of my life. They prayed for me when I couldn't find the words to pray, held me in silence when the outside world just seemed too loud, encouraged me when I felt weak, and lent me their shoulders to cry countless tears on. These women are now part of my testimony, and have been by my side through the miracles that God has made of my life. They are not just “friends”. These women are my sisters, and it's not just one or two of them…it's the hundreds of women that I have been able to do life with through small groups and community.
So today, if you ask me, “Wendy, what are you thankful for”? My answer would be very simple. “I am thankful for community!” I am thankful for the women who have come before me and have shared their wisdom with me. I am thankful for the women who will come after me that I can do life with. I am thankful for Jesus-hearted women who always pointed me back to Christ when everything just seemed hopeless. My community of sisters gave me hope, and today, I encourage you to also find that community for yourself.