How very Refreshing!
When my son Asela was 2 years old, I began a support group for Mums of little children. We called it Mum and Me. It was a wonderful experience – filled with Mums and their little ‘Me’s! We Mums bonded very well. The kids got on like a house on fire. We learnt a lot. We thrived. Twenty years later, the many beautiful friendships we made through Mum and Me still stand. And so, ….. about 14 years after I started Mum and Me, when I began a different kind of support group in Australia, I had a definite idea in my mind what REFRESH should be like.
I expected a carbon copy of ‘Mum and Me’. I expected the Mums to flock in through our doors, thick and fast. I expected to soon have 4 ladies in our Planning and Prayer team. I decided we’d have questions ready for discussion each week. I was sure that a different lady would take over the Food Roster each week. I expected the group meetings to last 1 1/2 hours. I expected it to be easy to share spiritual things.
Right? Wrong. Completely wrong.
Nothing went the way I expected it to. Firstly, we had only 2 ladies in our Planning and Prayer team for the first 4 years. Since then, we’ve had 3—never 4! (Do you think God is laughing at me and my bright ideas? I suspect He is!) I discovered early on, that unlike at Mum and Me where we had had planned discussions on a definite topic each time we met (topics like Discipline, Feeding our kids, Teaching Manners and so on) - it was not needed at REFRESH.
Every Thursday, ladies would turn up with their own issues and their own needs. So our role was not to force a discussion down their throats. It was to listen to them and encourage them where they were at, at that particular point in time.
What of my perfect time duration of a 1 1/2 hour long meeting. I was wrong there too. REFRESH turned into a kind of café—where Mums came when they were free, some at 10, some at 10.30, some at 11, some turned up even at 11.30, the time we were supposed to be dispersing. So our meetings went on not just for 1 ½ hours but for twice that amount of time – 3 whole hours, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. And that was all right. I liked the fact that Mums wanted to stay on and chat. I liked it that there were different dynamics at play with us being a group of 5 or 6 Mums at times or just 2 and 3 Mums, while at other times it was just a one on one interaction which was also needed.
No—REFRESH was very different to what I envisaged. How naïve I had been! But you know what? I am so glad! For one thing – God has shown me He’s the boss of REFRESH. Apart from that….. I am never sure what God is up to! And of course, He is always up to something! Just this past week I was very busy advertising REFRESH in 5 different schools, distributing many flyers; praying daily that we would see at least one new face into REFRESH this week. We haven’t seen any new faces for awhile. I was determined, that by my hard work it would happen. Did it?
No, it didn’t! No, it didn’t.
(There’s God’s laughing at me again! I can almost hear it!)
But you know what? The meeting was even better than I expected so it didn’t matter that my hard work had not paid off in the way I expected. Last Thursday, 6 of us ‘oldies’ turned up. We came in one at a time which was great, since we could listen to each one in turn. At the end, the conversation even turned onto spiritual matters. A big ‘Wow’ on that one. That was definitely orchestrated by God. It was a wonderful surprise. We had our 3 hour meeting from 10—1 and I loved it. It was a very blessed time.
Yes, God was up to something. And it was all GOOD!
What about you today? Are you wondering what God is doing? Has He done something different to what you expected in your life? Are you wondering why He is leading you through that unexpected alley or pushing you up that rugged mountain slope? Do you think He’s made a mistake? Do you think you’d like to knock on heaven’s door and make a few suggestions to God as to how he should handle His Universe?
Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for the good of those who love Him. All things work together! On their own they may not seem to do so. Brought together by a loving Father – they do. An intricate, beautiful pattern that only God can see with clarity. So you and I can relax. We can go with the flow—allowing ourselves to go where God leads us, certain that despite the difficult moments (and difficult days, weeks months and years) we might trudge through, it is finally going to be all right.
I laugh at myself now as I look back at REFRESH and remember all my grand plans. None of them worked out. But of course God’s plans always outshone mine. Every time. He knows what He is doing. And it is all good! And so I shall follow my God and let Him lead.
How refreshing it is, that His thoughts are not my thoughts and my thoughts not His. How very refreshing that His ways are not our ways; that His ways are always glorious.
“As for God His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him. It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” Psalm 18:30,32