“I just found this really great playgroup!” exclaimed my friend. “It’s at a church and they have cake and fruit for the kids and heaps of toys. They even have NICE coffees, like barista style. And best of all? It’s FREE! Want to go with me?” Little Lambs was my first introduction to St Nicks. A noisy somewhat chaotic playdate shared with two dozen mums, twice as many children and a host of mature ladies and gentleman INSISTING that they serve us and we take the time to rest and recharge. For a new mum suffering child-induced cabin fever it was heavenly. My friends and I attended Little Lambs for the better part of a year. What stood out the most to us, and what my friends still remember it for, was how welcoming, encouraging and gracious the hosts were each week.
One week when I was visiting on my own with my (now) two children a lady came and sat next to me. She introduced herself as Verity and we had a pleasant talk before she handed me a pretty little invitation to Nourish, a new Bible Study group aimed at mums of young children. She explained that I would be welcome to bring the kids and pointed out Emma, the organiser, a mum I had often seen and spoken to but until that point had never been able to remember her name and had been too embarrassed to ask.
I was very excited about getting the invitation. I had been a Christian for five or six years but my Christian walk hadn’t so much as slowed to a crawl as stopped dead. I had only attended a group bible study a few times, and only in the company of my husband (as nice as that was, I confess I rather prefer it when we go separately…), and a group that catered for mums with young kids (i.e. not in the evening or during nap time) was what I had been wishing for.
Nourish was or rather IS a blessing. At first it was quite a challenge. Six or seven mums, a dozen kids and a bible. As any parent knows, children have this fantastic propensity to drive you to the brink of insanity and they really don’t care who they do it in front of. Fortunately for all of us, they took turns. If it wasn’t your child throwing a tantrum, pushing the other children over or face planting it into a door that week then you knew most likely next week it would be.
Hence, what I believe, one of the greatest lessons learnt in Nourish, at least for me personally, was grace- both how to give it and how to receive it.
Interestingly the more I received it, the better I became at giving it. Those early days were like a prolonged team building exercise.
We have evolved quite a bit since those early days. We now have MINDERS- truly wonderful people who give up their Friday mornings to care for and entertain our young children. This has really given us the opportunity as a group to delve more deeply, talk more freely and listen more attentively. We have realised we are an extremely diverse group of ladies from different backgrounds and at different stages of our walk but still with so much in common and that we can relate to.
I love it that on Thursday nights my three year old son is always happy to go to bed because tomorrow is Friday and “on Friday mum goes to bible study and that means friends! Friends for Michael and friends for you too mum!”