By Kristianne Ovenshine
Summer proved to be a season of wandering. My husband and I were searching for a church. I was looking for a women’s Bible study. All I was doing was flipping around the Bible with no focus.
My quiet time with my Father consisted of going to the Psalms for comfort and reading Philippians to assure me to not be anxious, but to petition God in prayer with thanksgiving and I would have peace.
But I was anxious about many things. A friend suggested a visit to Christ Church at Grove Farm because it was known for being a church that preached God’s Word. That is not always easy to find. Also, I knew about the church from attending Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) there.
We were immediately welcomed. God’s spirit in the 10 a.m. service spoke to our hearts in many ways. We appreciated the solid hymns of faith. The messages were Biblical and applicable to our daily lives. We were accepted in such a way that we wanted to come back.
But, my heart was searching for Women’s Bible study. When I emailed with Carla Batch, director of Women’s Ministry at Christ Church, I learned there was a daytime study on 1 Peter starting in the fall. I told her how important a study was to me, but added that I didn’t need to tell her that. She replied, “Amen, sister!”
So, I waited expectantly to start attending the group, in a new book of the Bible with new ladies. Kind of like the first day of school, I anticipated a group that would be learning new things about God, while meeting other ladies with the same interest as me.
The room was full and bustling with welcomes and hellos. Being new and a bit shy, I sat down. Right away, Candace, a young mom, said hi and told me about the format of the group. She made me feel very welcome and that meant a lot. Snacks were shared and then Judy Wagner and Harriet Mitchell spoke to kick off the study of 1 Peter. They smiled and shared what we could expect in the group. And then Harriet prayed in a sincere, beautiful way. I could tell right away that prayer was a vital part of Women of the Word.
Harriet right away placed me in her and Judy’s group. The other ladies were return customers and warm and caring.
The format was coffee and snacks, opening remarks, prayer and then we broke up into groups for study of passages in 1 Peter, followed by a video teaching from Jen Wilken, who taught verse by verse. We concluded with prayer for the needs of the group.
The part of the study that impressed me most was the undergirding of prayer that goes into each meeting. Before the study begins, a small group of women covers the meeting in prayer, huddling in a circle.
If someone has a specific prayer need, we pray together just then.
That person was me in the fall before going to see my new grandbaby. My heart was anxious about traveling so my group prayed over me. The trip was wonderful just as we prayed. Each need is important.
I have grown spiritually in my study of 1 Peter, and the latest winter-spring study on Genesis, also with Jen Wilken.
Learning more about the attributes of God, who He is, enables me to trust in him more. I have become less anxious.
The season of searching is over, but I will continue to seek God in his word. We found a church home and I have become a part of something greater than myself -- a woman of the word.
To close, I wanted to share verses that apply to my experience with our Lord.
“The grass withers and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” (1 Peter 1:24b).
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
“I will mediate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes. I will not forget your word.” (Psalm 119:15-16).