Wednesday nights have a special place in my heart. That’s when I get to head to church for mid-week connect where I’m a part of an incredible community of women called The Fortress.
I can’t even begin to tell you how aptly this group was named. It truly is a safe haven where grace is liberally exchanged by one of the most eclectic and diverse groups of women. It doesn’t matter where you come from, what you’ve done, what you like, what you own– you are welcomed and you are loved and you are seen in The Fortress.
We’ve been meeting for nearly two years and I can proudly say that I am not the same person that I was when we began. I showed up that first night, timid and silent. So sure that I didn’t belong. So sure that I had nothing of value to contribute. And SO ANXIOUS. My goodness, was I a mess that first Wednesday night. I skipped my turn to share and made little to no eye contact with the women at my table. I felt awkward and out of place, but I showed up. And thank God for that.
I listened and slowly, but surely I began to open up. It was in The Fortress where I first verbalized the sexual assault that I had experienced as a child. At that point, the only person that knew was Tim. But that night, for the first time ever, I was able to tell my secret without feeling guilty or ashamed. Those women spoke life into the 6-year-old inside of me who still felt like it was her fault. They prayed for me that night and for weeks afterward. I was finally able to tell my parents and my best friend. After 21 years, I finally went from seeing myself as a weak victim, to seeing myself for what I am– a badass survivor. And I owe it all to this community of women. Their prayers and support were exactly what I needed.
Tonight was an extra special night at The Fortress. We just wrapped up our last study and are gearing up for the next, so tonight we all got together for paint night! Two of the ladies in our group are art teachers and they led us in a guided painting project.
I am so blessed to be a part of this community of women. Local friends, please let me know if you want more info or want to join us! (We’re about to start a new study all about prayer and it’s going to be GOOD!)