Unexpected Provision

In my recent Things I Miss post, I mentioned that since moving to São Paulo, Michael and I have missed our church in San Francisco – City Church.  We miss it for many reasons, but a major one was the community that we had there.  We were blessed to have made friends and to have each joined Community Groups where we would gather on a weekly basis and discuss God’s Word.  We would share what we were learning and struggling with.  We would eat and drink and laugh and pray together.  We would serve our community together.  We would encourage each other and hold each other accountable.  We would spur each other on towards greater godliness.  As you can imagine, this was amazing.  Hard at times – of course – but mostly a whole lot of amazing.

And I have been seriously missing this amazing in my life.  Because in Brazil, while we have been blessed with a church, a community that we are still getting to know and some awesome friends who love the Lord, it has seemed harder to DO as much here.  It’s kind of a hike for us to even get to our church and it’s much more difficult to meet up with others during the week.  We don’t have a car, the city is tough, people’s schedules are all over the place, the community is smaller…the list goes ON.

Anyway, as I was missing my GIRLS and Biblical accountability, I simultaneously felt like God was convicting my heart / encouraging me to give Him my FIRST fruits.  As in, give Him my MORNINGS.  I am NOT a morning person.  At. All.  And the way my schedule works, I usually have more time scattered throughout the day than I do in the mornings.  But He laid it on my heart to spend time with Him FIRST.  So, I prayed for God to help because, hello??  Waking up early is hard.  Right?!

Then, about 2 months ago, I learned about The Hello Morning Challenge.  It’s an online accountability group of women (mostly moms, but they let me in anyway) whose goal is to spend time each morning: 1 studying the Bible, 2 planning their day/setting goals and 3 exercising.  Obvi I have been the least faithful with the exercise, but…one step at a time.  So, how does it work?  Before the challenge starts, you select a group based on:
Twitter or Facebook: I chose Twitter since I think it’s easier to follow for something like this and, since I never really used it before, I didn’t feel like I would be spamming people.
Time-zone: I had to go with East Coast since there was *shock* no Brazil group.
They provide a Bible study for everyone to go through together and each morning you check in with your group and – if you want – share what you are learning from the passage that day, send encouragement to each other, etc.

It’s a little unconventional in the sense that it’s all online and I will likely never meet these women in this life, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but God has blown me away with it.  I feel so inspired by the faithfulness of these amazing, kind women, who sacrifice to wake up early (earlier than their kids!) each morning to spend time feeding on & studying the Word of God and encouraging their fellow sisters.  Also, we are studying 1 Peter together and I have been so blessed by what I’m learning through the Word and just by the daily act of getting up and starting my day by spending time with God.

But, one of the biggest lessons I have learned from all of this is about God.  It seems that He desires the hearts and minds of His children so much that He will stop at nothing to provide for us what we need to know Him better — even something so randomly specific as an online accountability group of women who study scripture in the morning.  I mean, you can’t make this stuff up.  He is faithful.

PS: Hello Mornings is a tri-annual thing so maybe next time I can convince some friends around the world to join me…?!  You don’t even have to do their Bible study if you’re studying something else…  Any takers???  

10 thoughts on “Unexpected Provision

  1. Ash, this is great! I’ve been good about getting up in the mornings and exercising, but I find it hard for me to do that and find time to read and pray. If I read too early, I nod back off to sleep…see what I mean? I’m glad you are being creative and finding ways to encourage yourself. Reading this post made me long for the days our beds were 15 feet apart…I miss those chats! I love you dearly 🙂 xoxo

    • Thanks Em! You are so impressive about your morning work-outs. That is my next step. I find that for Bible study & prayer, a really good cup of coffee is KEY. Also getting AWAY from the bed. 🙂 I miss those days of living so close to each other too! xoxox

  2. This reminds me of an article I read yesterday about trying to make worship more about God than me. The article spoke mainly of Sunday worship but said if we couldn’t do it on just Sundays then how were we suppose to do it in our everyday life. For example, we choose a worship time that is most convenient to us, or we worry about what we are wearing to church or in your case, what language are they are speaking in a service, instead of making it only about God. My list goes on and on, unfortunately. “What if every Sunday I was intentional to make worship ALL about God, not my preferences, comfort. or convenience”, T.Atkinson. I am so guilty of this and to think how much more I could get out of worshipping if it truly was always about Him.
    Sounds like you are doing exactly what He is asking!!! Mornings have always been hard and you would think with 3 children I would be use to it but I am not.

    • What a great thought D! It is such an easy temptation to fall into because we think that, when all of the circumstances around us are perfect, we can “worship” God better – but surely then that must not be true worship! We are called to worship at all times bc He is worthy – nothing else. THANK YOU for this reminder. Always need it!!!

  3. Great, Ashley. It is clear that the Spirit moved you to this. Please keep it up. A lot of us need to constantly review what our relationship with the Lord is really all about. Matt 7:21-23 really hits home. Look at what these folks did – “in the Lord’s name” even. Wow! Still, Jesus will turn them away on “that day.” Why? He knew their hearts! He is talking about “church people!” Love, Papa

    • Thanks Papa! I am so thankful that, in God’s constant pursuit of my heart, He provided this group for me. But that is definitely a good reminder. It is easy to fall into that “church people” group of complacency and worldliness if we are not always on guard. Thankful to have such faithful grandparents in my life who remind me to focus on the Lord. Lots of love to you & Nannie!

  4. You have a been a breath of fresh air each morning. I love that you God put you and the rest of us in the same group. And I love that I have a new friend in Brazil! How cool is that!!! Thank you for sharing. So thankful that God graciously connected our paths!

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