by Judy Wang
On the evening of Wednesday, September 21, 2016, I attended the first meeting of my WELL group and joined five other women on what would become an amazing 28-week faith journey of self-discovery, healing, and transformation. There, in Virginia’s dining room, we passed around a sheet of paper, our covenant affirmation, and each signed our names at the bottom. We committed to each other that we would faithfully reserve this time to meet weekly, that we would earnestly seek Him with all our hearts, that we would accept the Father’s invitation and pray with great expectation, and that we would journey with each other in love, grace, trust, openness, and truth.
The original vision for the WELL Discipleship was inspired by the account of the woman at the well with Jesus in John 4:4-42. And like that woman, I found myself living in a world where I am constantly bombarded with the messages and expectations of who I should be, what I am worth, how I should live, who I should love, and what I should dream. Yet, in my heart and soul, I desperately longed for a quiet place away from the daily distractions and pressures of life; a place where I could reflect deeply on God’s truths and promises, surrender to His love and perfect will for me, and be refreshed and renewed in the company of women I could trust. My experience at the WELL was like that of a distant traveler leaving the desert and entering into an oasis of comfort, sanctuary, and rest for a weary and thirsty soul.
God has a wonderful and mysterious way of bringing people together and crossing paths that otherwise would never have crossed. And while each person was different in her own unique way, God pulled together an incredible group of women from whom I have gleaned much wisdom and insight into His faithfulness, love, and favor. First, there was Virginia, our gracious host, who taught me that prayer, tears and laughter are the best medicine. And Lauren, our resident baker extraordinaire, who reminded me of God’s faithfulness in times of transition and uncertainty. As well as Michelle, who was often the first to share vulnerably about her weekly challenges and bring us all to tears and laughter within minutes. Then Mona, who challenged me by her humility and desperation for God and leaning into Him through the hard times. Kelly, a young wife, and mother of three, who inspired me to find grace, joy and peace in my intimacy with God. And finally me, the chicken lady, as I absolutely loved sharing silly stories about the latest backyard antics from my pet chickens. (Yes, I am the proud momma of three feathered kids. Cue laughter.)
In John 4:18, it says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” In trusting God and His plan and opening up my heart to these women, I allowed them to come alongside me and take this journey with me. From day one, they witnessed the growth of my relationship with my current boyfriend and brought my focus back to God when I experienced the ups and downs. I shared about my daily struggles with ADHD and depression and found the encouragement, support, and healing I needed to mature in my identity in Christ. When I discovered I had a food allergy to gluten, they began incorporating gluten-free options in the refreshments we served at our meetings, and I experienced God’s love in the little things. And last, when I was laid off from my job, they rallied around me and prayed for me. While I don’t know where our future paths will take us, I know that the friendships I have developed at the WELL will always stay with me and that we will continue finding ways to stay connected in each others’ lives.
In Psalm 46:10, it says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Before the WELL, I found that if I slowed down just a bit, my insecurities, my need to prove myself, my habits of striving and performing, and my feelings of disconnect would often catch up to me. And through the WELL, I discovered that I had been transformed into a woman that is much more surrendered, connected to Him and community, and satisfied in my soul. What a Perfect Love we have in our Father God through Jesus Christ, who longs dearly to draw us into greater intimacy with Him!
My hope, dear reader, is that you may be blessed in knowing that you are in relationship with a Father God that pursues you, a God that desires to be your rock, your refuge, and your healer. He calls for you, and His invitation to you, to lean in closer, to know Him more, to let Him love you extravagantly, and to satisfy the deepest longings of your soul, is given freely to you.
Will you answer and join Him at the WELL?
(Note: Our next WELL Season enrollment is May 2018.)