This past Restore Gathering brought a few more women into our mix. I am going to call them them, affectionately, our “little women”. I have been thinking about this since Restore began- what ages does Restore include? As the family of Soma, we believe that we have been called to be disciples that make disciples. In and through this belief, I believe we can find some direction, as well as some help, with discerning ‘Restore readiness’, if you will.
Many of us have little women within our homes; they call us mom or auntie or grandma. They look to your face now to tell them when they are ok, to tell them when they need to choose differently. What I am praying for daily, for them, is that they would learn to also look to your hearts. That they would learn they too, can ask questions and engage in sharing story, because they need both. In community, our little women (who are constantly and continuously being discipled into grown women) need to know that you too have stories, that have shaped you- your beliefs, your heart, your filter and your wisdom. They need to know and hear that you too, struggle with sin and shame and belonging. That you too, need to be fully dependant on the Lord in which to function at all. That your existence and comfort and ability comes from the One who created you. And in that, we need to also be practicing the same alongside them. Giving them room to share their own experiences, bringing in the light of Christ to pull their own wounds and sin and shame out of the darkness. Discipling them in the beauty of vulnerability and story; and through that, highlighting and making much of Jesus and what He has done for you and for them.
I have one of these little women in my own home. I think she will be ready in another year to engage in this process of restoration with us. It is not always easy to be vulnerable with her. There is much of my story that she does not know and that is ok. But I am praying that I would watch for the opportunities He gives me in which to do so. Mostly I pray that He would use these hopes I shared above to propel me to be on mission to her and for her. And out of that, would flow truth of Him- how I have experienced Him, how I have needed Him, how He has rescued me and how He longs to restore me to Himself.
So the long answer to the thought or the question is: Restore is for women little and grown. Women that have held their story for decades upon decades and those who have just begun. Restore is about restoration and how beautiful would it have been for me to have known from my ‘little woman’ stage that I was free; that my story mattered, that God desired all of the pieces and chapters- not just the ones that were pretty and good and right. Perhaps for these little women we will watch a different thing spring forth, a group of women who know that they are loved, held and seen; made on purpose by a Father who has a purpose for them.
As I looked to the back of the room at our last Gathering, I felt so much rejoice in what God has given me to share and teach and preach; that the faces and hearts of the teen girls I saw inhabiting the length of the wall in the back room had just as much story to gather as the rest of us. I felt humbled to be able to share it with them, too. So bring your little women! Of course, discern where they are at as far as holding their own stories and let us ask God to help us disciple this next generation of women. God has plans for them, He knows what their chains will look like, He knows why He died for each of them, He knows their names and their timeline. There is so much hope for them.