Circle Of Strength

Rose and me 

Sometimes people come into our lives and change it forever, and we never ever stay the same.”

Charles Goodrow

I was reading about Clara Hughes, a Canadian Olympian who is now speaking out about her struggles with depression.  I’m inspired and encouraged by her.  One thing that struck me is her “circle of strength”. Clara’s “circle of strength” is her team of people that surround her and give her strength.  It made me think of who my “circles of strength” have been.  I have many family and friend circles, but one particular circle came to mind.

Last week, my husband and I went to a friend’s house for dinner.  A few years ago, we were in a small community group together.  Our church, Connexus Community Church, is a portable church that meets in a movie cinema.  Hundreds of volunteers set up and tear down each environment every Sunday.  Instead of tons of programming during the mid-week in a church building, our church has small groups that meet in homes.  Small groups are a group of people that get together weekly or bi-weekly to learn, grow, study, pray and live life together for about 2 years.  It’s about moving from rows (on a Sunday morning) to circles.

My friend reminded me of one of our small group get-togethers.  When I came in through their front door, I didn’t say much to anyone (those that know me know I usually talk A LOT!), and sat in the corner of the couch, trying to hide.  It was during my worst bout of depression.

I didn’t want to be there. 

We were a relatively new group at the time, so we were just beginning to get to know each other.  I was already intimidated about being in a group with doctors and the pastor (Yikes!), and being in a depressed state didn’t help my self-esteem at all.

Yet, somehow God gave me enough courage to go that night. 

Thankfully, they didn’t make me the focus of conversation, since I just wanted to sink into the couch.  However, they did offer huge support and prayed for me.  Over the next few weeks, our group became very close, very quickly.  Some came to my house to pray with me when I couldn’t leave my house, and there were daily encouragement emails and texts.  Throughout the next 2 years, that group of people became one of my strongest “circles of strength”.  I am eternally grateful and thank God for all of them.  We haven’t been in small group together for almost 2 years now, but I know that we have a bond for life.  What a true blessing.

What is your “circle of strength”?

Psalms 142:7 (The Message)

“Your people will form a circle around me
and you’ll bring me showers of blessing.”

(Photo: The day of my baptism in July 2010. Photo credit: Kelly Bell)

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2 Replies to “Circle Of Strength”

  1. Linda, the first small group I attended I introduced myself with these words, “Hi, my name’s Yvonne and I have many problems.” I probably broke down and started crying after that. (I cried quite a bit with that group!). Afterwards, one of the group members thanked me for being so transparent. She was struggling with severe depression and trying to put on a happy face in the group. My falling apart at the seams gave her permission to be real though real wasn’t all that pleasant at the time. Many breakthroughs happened as a result of that small group. Those people along with a women’s group I belonged to actually got me to try the impossible or at least the unimaginable – on-line dating! I had been widowed for years and was lonely but was scared to death of meeting a stranger through a dating site. Those dear people not only prayed for me, they threw me a makeover night for me and babysat my boys as often as I needed (free of charge) so I could start dating again. Because of them, I met David and have been happily married again for almost four years. I never thought I would laugh again but they believed for me and never gave up encouraging me. I will never forget those dear people who took me into their circle and became a circle of strength for me.

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