by Melanie Fyock
I am abundantly blessed with wonderful, spiritually mature friends. I can, without hesitation and in total transparency, share any burden with Valerie, Anna, Dory, Susan, or Maureen. I can open my heart completely to any of them with certain knowledge that I will be supported by love and intercession.
Late in 2016, God added Joy to my circle of friends. Because Joy and I are now members of the same congregation and we share a heart for women’s ministry, we began in January to meet once each week to get better acquainted and to listen for the Lord’s direction. Within the first month, I realized that Joy had become more of an agent for change in my lifelong battle against procrastination than any of the others in my deep, rich treasury of spiritual companions. As I was thanking the Lord and marveling that a relative stranger had made such a significant difference in my life, He brought two truths to my mind.
The first truth is that nothing can replace face to face connection. John notes this in the 12th verse of his second letter: “Having many things to write to you, I did not wish to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.” Friendship is a powerful force for support and encouragement, but face to face friendship intensifies that power in the fullness of joy.
The second truth comes from Matthew 18: “if two of you agree on earth concerning anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” I know this passage is often used to promote prayer, but it is prayer dealing with sin, so it especially applies to my battle with procrastination. Prayer always holds power, but praying together multiplies that power. In The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard reminds us that gathering for prayer is one of the few activities of the 21st century church that can be traced all the way back to the day of Pentecost.
These two truths merged into one lesson. The overcoming power that I sense has little to do with Joy or with me. It has little to do with the subject of our conversations or the amount of time we spend in prayer. But it does have everything to do with Jesus. He is showing me that He fulfills His promises whenever I take a tiny step of obedience. Since I rededicated my life to Christ in the late 70s, I have spent decades talking to kindred spirits, dreaming the same dreams, seeing the same visions, aiming at the same goals. I have spent countless hours studying, praying, learning, and growing. But in the simple act of gathering face to face with no plan beyond seeking God’s will, I discovered renewed power to overcome besetting sin. I find myself automatically doing little things like stopping at a store, making a phone call, or sending an email that I would normally and naturally put off until tomorrow, or next week, or even next month.
I haven’t learned anything new, but I am experiencing something new because I am practicing the kind of connection that is essential for spiritual health. I’m glad God brought Joy to us with Heart Working Women’s vision to help us all grow within honest community. I look forward to all the Lord will accomplish as He connects the hearts of His children in Western Pennsylvania
Melanie loves to share her teas, her books, and her friends — especially all at the same time! She seeks opportunities to encourage older women to be faithful to the instruction of Titus 2 by teaching younger women to restore and treasure the precious art of homemaking.