For the past year and a half, I have had the privilege of being a co-leader of Coffee Break, our inter-generational women’s ministry at our church. Our group consists of about forty or so ladies and their kids. We meet women in every stage of their lives, but predominantly, our group is composed of younger moms, with a smattering of vital, mature women who provide us with much wisdom and experience.
This past Wednesday was our last meeting for the season. I’m going to miss the weekly routine of setting up, leading and meeting women in their ordinary spaces of motherhood, marriage and faith. Being a leader of Coffee Break has stretched this introverted mama’s soul in ways that I could never predict.
Initially, I started attending Coffee Break over four years ago. I was a sleep-deprived new mom, desperate to escape the gloom of another long day at home in the depths of winter, with only a newborn to talk to. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after my first morning there, I clung to the routine of Wednesday mornings like it was a desperate lifeline. Being the first of a lot of my friends to have a baby, I was suddenly acutely aware of the chasm separating me from being able to do all the things I used to be able to do pre-Zoe. Suddenly, Coffee Break provided a whole community of women that I never knew had existed – women who met me in my uncertain, wobbly first steps as a new mom. Women who encouraged me in my role as Mum, wife, and Christ-Follower. Now, for the past year and a half, I’ve been blessed to give back to a ministry that has, for me, been a safe place as I navigated the uncharted territory of new parenthood.
The practical servant-hood of the Coffee Break community never ceases to amaze me. This week alone, we were able to fill a large table to almost over-flowing with baby clothes for a young mom who has been on bed-rest for the past couple months of her pregnancy. I can’t count the number of 9×13 casserole dishes I see passed hand-to-hand, moms meeting moms in the practical need of getting supper on the table with a newborn and possibly toddlers underfoot. Babysitting swaps are a regular occurrence. Once again, women meeting each other in their practical, everyday needs. Women living out grace and rest and abundance for each other.
My girls have been privileged to be a part of the weekly routine of Coffee Break. They have formed their own relationships with many of the women, creating bonds that I pray will remain as they grapple with their faith in years to come. To know that Zoe and Elsie have their very own “village” of women who are invested in them, who know them by name, who know their favourite type of candy, their favourite type of lip gloss, and who manage to make them feel necessary and important, fills this mama’s heart with over-flowing gratefulness.
Every week, I get to see us women gather as a mini-church, diving headlong into the mess and joys of our lives as moms, wives, daughters, and friends. I have seen women broken, hurting, reeling from loss cushioned by prayer. I have seen women struggling in their faith being encouraged, held accountable and given grace. I have seen women muddling through motherhood, exhausted and desperate, being cheered on, reassured, made to feel a little less lonely. And nothing beats seeing women cheering and celebrating one another because of answered prayers, job offers, healed sicknesses, and relationships restored.
Coffee Break has allowed me to revel in the opportunities that can only accompany being a woman living in community with other women. So, as we take a break for the summer, I’m a tiny bit sad. But I’m so grateful for a year full of memories. God, thank You for living out through these women’s lives, for providing us with the perfect example of servant-hood, and for making us crave relationships with one another.