The Lord Has Done Great Things
by Dale Reeves
Becky Taylor loves leading women’s Bible studies. She says that seven years ago when she was asked to lead a study for women at Christ’s Church, she hadn’t led a group since they were called “Circles” and “McAlpin’s and Van Leunens were in business.” She says she was concerned when only six ladies signed up for that first study. She thought she might not be the right person to do this. But executive pastor Alan Baumlein told her it was the perfect number because their community would be small and intimate, consisting of women in a similar age range with similar life experiences. Becky says, “He was right, and it couldn’t have gone better.”
Why is Becky still teaching women’s Bible studies at Christ’s Church? In her words, “The best way to learn a subject is to teach it. I enjoy doing the research and the preparation that goes into leading a weekly session. The chance to study Old and New Testament books in depth brings God’s Word to life. It challenges me to be creative, curious, and committed to a topic. I love gathering with women for several hours having meaningful conversation, discussing insights into how the Bible has impacted our week, and sharing how we’ve seen God work in the lives of those we have been praying for.”
Blessed to Be a Blessing
Becky reflects on the makeup of the groups she has facilitated: “I have been blessed to have had women from varied backgrounds, ages, and stages of spiritual development involved in the Bible studies. We’ve had women with kids, with no kids, married, divorced, single again, and widowed. I have also been blessed with very capable co-leaders who were able to fill in my areas of deficiency, smooth out the rough edges, and provide weekly support.”
Becky continues, “When we did Priscilla Shirer’s ‘Armor of God’ study, there were fifty women gathering together each week to understand that ‘all day, every day, an invisible war rages around us, yet is felt throughout every aspect of our lives.’ The challenge of a group this size is to unify the community and engage different women with others whom they may have never met. We achieved that by having ladies sit at tables, but shuffled the tables each week like a good cookie recipe. Additionally, sharing over lunches and brunches, as well as a concluding service project helped bring us all together. In all our study groups during the week we have always kept in touch through cards, talking on the phone, meeting in a restaurant, or in someone’s backyard.”
Becky beams when she talks about some of the unique activities her women’s studies have done together: “We have donated school supplies, flip-flops with Bible verses written on the soles, and collected personal care items for some incarcerated women. One of our most moving activities was a week devoted to prayer. The room was warmed by candlelight and soft music playing in the background, as we shared Bible verse cards, spoken and unspoken requests of the women. We had silent prayer, focused prayer, written prayers, prayers that were sung, and prayers of Thanksgiving.”
Prayer, Prayer, and More Prayer
Prayer has been a key component of the Bible studies that Becky has facilitated. Becky explains, “We begin our sessions with prayer and praise. It is the heart of our gathering. The Holy Spirit moves in and sets the pace for the rest of our time together. We each have a journal that we write in, tracking the progress or setbacks of those on the list. We have had many positive answers to prayers for things such as health improvement, wayward kids to find a way to a good group of friends, direction in success in our jobs, housing decisions, relationships with others, and making more time for God.”
Becky reflects, “The women in our group know their prayers will be heard, recorded, and prayed for weekly. And we keep on praying until an answer is given—‘Yes, No, or wait awhile.’ We accept that we may not always get the answer we desire but we know we are surrounded by women who care and may even have walked a similar path and can be an encourager in the valley. Along with so many positives there have been times when God had a different timeline, goal, or choice for us to make. We know praying for others is never a burden, it is the best medicine. And sometimes it takes much longer than expected to change the heart of someone who is far away from Jesus.”
He Cares and Provides
God’s Word assures us, “I have written your name on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:16, NLT).
Jesus tells is, “And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows” (Luke 12:7, NLT).
Becky emphasizes, “God knows us inside and out. He sees us daily. He cares for us. The enemy does not. Some of our women have shared what is it like to wake up mad or sad every day when their child is not connecting with their family. Others have talked about what it is like to be a single parent or how family troubles have arisen after a parent has died. Some have shared the sadness and loneliness of losing a spouse, child, or close friend. These times of sharing trials and sorrow have brought us closer to God and to one another—and have helped us form strategic action plans for putting on the armor of God and securing victory against an unseen enemy. We must turn away from the lies in our heads to the truths the Lord wants to speak to us.”
Becky is currently leading a study of the book of Hebrews. She says, “Not too long ago, I prayed in my morning devotion time for someone who would step forward to help me with the upcoming study. Within hours, I received an email from a group member who said that she would be willing to help with some of the behind-the-scenes needs of our study. Exactly what I had prayed for! Praise the Lord!”
Becky concludes, “This verse is the theme for our study, and it accurately describes our six weeks together of fellowship, fun, and learning . . .”
“Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them’” (Psalm 126:2, ESV).