Almost every single morning beginning around 5:00 am, my phone wakes me up with a quiet little ping-ping-ping-ping.  I don’t pick it up because I know exactly who it is.  It’s my early in the morning friends texting back and forth as they are beginning their days.

You might have heard people talk about their middle of the night friends.  These are the kind of friends who if you had an emergency you know you could call them even if it was in the middle of the night.

But I kid you not – my little group of friends actually does this. They start early in the morning and connect through out the day.  They are the women in my small group from church and the 7 of us have developed the kind of bonds that run deep, and wide, and long.

The group began about 1 1/2 years ago and we are a very unlikely crew.  We come from all different walks of life – different ages and different stages.  And every person in the group is an early riser except me – the grandma.

And there is nothing that makes me happier than listening to the ping-ping-ping in the wee hours of the morning, knowing the group is girding each other up with scripture or a song.

We have been through a divorce, dating, singleness, pregnancies, marriage struggles and toddler troubles, the births of babies, and are presently dealing with two cancer diagnoses.

We meet every other week at a quaint little coffee shop with a lake view in Wayzata, MN.  In about 1 1/2 hours time we somehow manage to catch up on each other’s life and work through a study of the Bible. I don’t think that there is a night that each of us doesn’t leave feeling – refreshed.

Let us not neglect meeting together, as is the habit of some, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  – Hebrews 10:25 

And then the next morning we are back at it again – ping-ping-ping.

What matters to one of us  – matters to all of us. If one of us has mice in the house – it matters.   If someone is sick – it matters.  When someone needs to have a conversation – we are praying for the right words. When someone’s baby is due soon – we are praying them into this world. When someone is struggling in their marriage – we are praying for a miracle.  When someone has a job interview – we’re all over it. When someone’s child is acting up, we  offer thoughts and encouragement and of course – we pray.

”Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn.” – Romans 12:15

But there is something about our group that I think might just be my favorite part. It’s the openness and transparency we have with one another.  If you were to observe our group from the outside you would never think that we were all “Christiany” with each other.  Oh, no.  Not at all.

You will hear us saying things like, “I have a different take on that” or “I am going to have to agree to disagree.” And there is no offense taken.  In a world where people no longer seem able to carry on a friendly debate – I find this incredibly refreshing.  Our differences make us wiser.  Our differences make us more compassionate.  Our differences make us better people

”Iron sharpens iron, just as one person sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17

We share our fears, doubts, and our weaknesses.  Nobody pretends to be perfect or have it all figured out.  Sometimes the conversation even takes a bit of an X-rated turn – in a good way, of course!  We feel free to be ourselves and to express our thoughts with no fear of being judged.  And in the process – we are all getting to know Jesus better.

I love these women.  We have an unbreakable bond because we have a shared love of the Bible and of Jesus. Our unlikely crew is more than family – we are friends knit together by Christ.

I cannot tell you  how many prayers have been answered starting with those early morning and all throughout the day – ping-ping-pings on our phones.  It’s an incredible privilege to be brought into prayer and to see the miraculous ways they are answered.

I have never been a part of a group quite like this one.  I believe this is what the community of Christ should be to one another.  All in – anytime of day – a strong commitment to the group and to one another – and a strong commitment to Christ.

If you have never been a part of a group like this – I highly recommend you stop in at the reception desk at your church and find out where to sign up.  It might feel a little risky – but it is definitely a risk worth taking.

And to my lovely, beloved, early-in-the-morning friends…could we maybe just think about a 6 am start time?????

”We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another, and gain instruction that we may all sit down in heaven together.  – Lucy Mack Smith

Thanks, ladies!  You bless me. 

Until next time,