LOL Life Grooup pool parties are not quite up to the caliber of crazy shown here and the pool is much bigger. However, we do have lots of fun. And we sing, loudly. I think maybe we just need a band! Image via Wikipedia

Rayanne* is a woman I have come to know who wants nothing to do with God-stuff. This came up when we were walking in the water and talking one day.  She said she didn’t have any friends except those of us in the pool. I asked if she had gotten into a good church since she had moved here.

She said, “No, I’m not interested in church or God or religion.”

I was somewhat taken aback but not mortified.

Without skipping a beat I said, “What does interest you?

She began to talk about art and pottery.  An open door because pottery is something I am interested in as well.

A few days later we talked again.  This time I told her what a great time we’d had swimming in my friend’s pool.  Her eyes lit up and I invited her to come to one of our crazy LOL life group.  I told her it was a group of my friends and we just met, ate, had fun and talked about stuff that was going on in our life. She said she might next time we went to the pool.  I also mentioned we might have a time to talk about scriptures, etc.

I feel another pool party coming on.  Because as our Pastor says,

“No one should have to do life alone.”

Rayanne* is lonely. She talks about most people with anger.  She even does things just to upset other people with intent I think of putting up barriers in case they decide they don’t like her.

There’s a foreign man who after his aqua size class always comes and stands in an area where the current comes into the pool on one part of the water walking track.  He enjoys doing this. He only stays about 10 minutes and we can walk around him.  To me it’s no big deal.

Yesterday, though, Rayanne* went to that area and stayed in front of the current blocking his access. He had to go elsewhere in the pool but the current influx is not as strong in other area.

Rayanne* was very pleased she had successfully deterred him.

As I passed by her, she said “You know what I’m doing?”

I said, “Yes.”

She said, “Do you like it?”

I thought for a minute and decided to speak the truth, “No.”

“Why, because you’re a goodie-goodie?”

“It’s because I know we all have things we like to do and when we can’t do those things we get frustrated like yesterday when we couldn’t even use the walking trail because of the kids’ party and had walk laps instead.  The man never hurts anyone. He does his thing for 10 minutes and then he is gone.  He should be able to enjoy the pool like everyone else.”

She said, “I just do it to be cantankerous.”

The goodie-goodie in me hurt for him.  I could see in his eyes that he didn’t understand this new American rudeness. I made sure I spoke to him and made eye contact as I went about my water walking.

I thought about how everywhere we go is a microcosm of real life. As I walk in the water walking trail many walk against the current so there is oncoming traffic. Many walk with a determined or pained look on their face. Some can’t walk unless they have a whole passel of people walking with them. Some are friendly.  Some are monotone.  Some gang up on others to “talk” about them. Some walk slower and are difficult to pass because they weave in and out of their lanes.  Some run around the trail their only goal to finish and go home.

It’s a lot like church, really.

But Rayanne* says she would never go to church. She will go to the pool though and she will share areas of hurt. I usually get an earful with the question: What’s going on in your life?  It is an earful of hurt, pain and rejection.

She doesn’t want Jesus, but she so desperately needs his love. It would complete her life in ways she hasn’t begun to understand. I’m sure she has been hurt by church before. But, I will invite her to a non-threatening LOL life group because we are just a bunch of crazy women who welcome others to do life together with us.

That Rayanne* will come to the realization she needs God in her life is my prayer.  I am struck by the fact that I may be one of the few people she knows who cares about her, period.  That makes me sad for her.

Though this process of being a friend to Rayanne* I realized something again. I love my church. I love the idea that we are all flawed people; there are none of us who are perfect.  It is designed so the Rayannes* of this life can come and hang out with us when they want.  We can have fun together and it is OK if some people want to shake things up and ask interesting questions.

I can already picture her as a part of our life group. I can’t wait for her to meet our group.

I can’t wait for her to meet my friends, especially my Jesus.

Yeah, there definitely needs to be at least one more pool party.

All of this reminds me of the song we sang in Girl Scouts: “Make new friends and keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” Where would I be in this life without girlfriends? Where are the Rayannes in this life without girlfriends?

If you are interested in being a part of a crazy group of women in Columbia who study and do life together, come join us on Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. Next study starts on Sept.7.

We will be studying Made to Crave! 

Message me for more info.

*Rayanne is not her real name. But you can pray for her and God will know who you are talking about!

Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds. Her book, "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor", is the number 1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. Her other books include: "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy", "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help", "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation" and "Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God".

She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP one-on-one coaching program, both available under the weight loss tab. To book Teresa for your next event, check the Speaking tab on her website. Also check out her blog and Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast under the tabs by those names.