I remember the day well that a miracle happened. My weekly women’s Bible study had broken into our small group of eight and finished up going over the guide’s questions when a woman’s heart showed up. She didn’t have a question about the passage we were studying. Her question was about how to believe in the God of love when her pastor husband was anything but loving.
That was the miracle. That she risked bringing her life, her story, her truth, and her pain to us. The study went immediately from the natural to the supernatural, from the rubber to the road.
The next miracle that occurred was that she kept coming back to our little Bible study after we so badly mishandled her that day. None of us asked her a further question, but many of us were ready with a spiritual bandage of advice to cover her hemorrhaging heart. The young woman risked telling us a little more of her story and in our shock, we did not simply enter her grief and be silent. We did not gently probe with sensitive queries. We ran in fear to the nearest platitude and offered it as quickly as we could. “It will be all right.”
We had no idea if it would be all right or not. In fact, it was never going to be all right.
I was grieved by her pain but more grieved by our refusal to share it with her.
Grace is amazing, and I experienced it again and again both as this woman continued to return and as the women around me began to move toward her in fierce gentleness, advocating for her heart, her marriage, her family, and her God. One thing we all did right that day in the face of a tragedy presented was move toward her physically. Every woman close to her scooted in like she was a magnet. Hands reached out. Arms surrounded. Faces softened.
Perhaps it was that movement which enabled her to keep coming back and find a refuge and strength in this little straggling company. Our physical embrace represented what our minds and mouths were not yet capable of doing. She felt that.
The miracles continued as we slowly grew as women. We grew to become women who were slower to speak, quicker to question, and less afraid to enter into the sorrow without any band-aids in hand. We discovered the balm of love, the presence of the Holy Spirit in hearts willing to risk silence, and the strength of hope born and carried in others.
Oh, to continue to grow. Oh, to risk silence. Oh, to love.