For as long as I can remember, I’ve met friends at coffee shops. Even if we met for dinner beforehand, the night closed over frothy mochas or a caramel spiced something, which many claim is not coffee at all, but we called it so. Anyhow, it’s the smallest of tables where stories and secrets of the greatest magnitude were told and shared…and analyzed from every angle (am I right or what?). All this to say—today is like visiting a favorite little coffee shop for the last time, at least in a virtual sense.

For nearly 5 years, I’ve been a blogging barista at the Internet café…yep, you’re peering into a window of sorts right now 🙂 This month marks the final collection of posts from our little sisterhood. It’s bittersweet, to say the least.

Now, I’ve made the presumption that this is true, at least in some cases—when one steps into a ministry “position,” it often begins with “What can I contribute here?” “How can I use my gifts to bless others?” In other words, without even thinking, we make it about us. It’s fair to say that this was my mentality when writing for the café, at least initially. What I found, however, was that it became a place of rehabilitation in which I was required to “check-in” every month and share stories turned devotionals of my own. I now have a written account of God’s grace and tenderness in all of the ebbs and flows, highs and lows.

Weeks ago, I attended a women’s event at a local church just a few miles from where I live. Amid the beauty of the night, which included feathered centerpieces, live ballroom dancing and jazzy tones, was a message about the behavior and survival tactics of female elephants. You see, the theme of the night was {Surrounded}, and this is exactly what wild elephants do when a mama elephant is giving birth. They take on a particular formation in which they back up around her. The mama cannot be seen, because her sisters safely surround her.

The elephants stomp and kick up the dirt to eliminate the scent of the mama and baby. With stoic faces, they create confusion and chaos. If a predator would dare approach the pack, he’d have to make it through 40 tons of female aggression first.

When the baby is born, the sister-elephants proceed to kick sand and dust onto its fragile skin, to protect it from the scorching sun. They begin to trumpet in a celebration of new life being born into a wild world.

Jen Hatmaker references this story in her latest book (Of Mess And Moxie), yet this account has surfaced in many other contexts, giving a glimpse into the protective care of our sisters when we are vulnerable, when we give birth to new ideas, when we step into new ministries and when we’re under attack.

There’s no community like a community of women that love each other well.

What I’ve come to know from David Yarrow, the photographer that captured the extraordinary image of the elephants shared with us that night, is that these elephants were huddled together, crossing over a dry lake near the Kenyan/Tanzanian border in Africa. This region is akin to a remote wilderness, a barren lunar-like land. The herd stood on the scorched earth, beneath a rain cloud. The image translates both peace and calm, which is exactly what we are to be for each other—a place of grace and comfort, a fortress for restoration and healing.

I cannot shake the image of the dark sky and the dry desert ground. It’s reminiscent of so many seasons, right? Yet, the faces are the elephants remain resolute, and I’m reminded that in the foreboding valley, the river of Christ’s love has faithfully watered my soul [Frangipane].

My thirst for Jesus, for His power and dominion over my life, continues to be quenched by a sisterhood of dust-kicking prayer warriors that champion me on time after time. They are the carefully placed seeds that work together with Christ to cultivate the gift of Him living in me [Luke 8:15], and I am eternally grateful.

“And The Lord will continually guide you…

And satisfy your desire in scorched places,

And give strength to your bones;

And you will be like a watered garden,

And a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”

[Isaiah 58:11]


Summer Pendley

Hi there 🙂 I'm Summer, daughter of Jesus...saved, restored, & known by Him. I've been married to my love, Jason, for 15 years, and am a happy mommy to a son, Noah, and daughter, Sailer. I love quiet mornings, coffee, listening to music, reading, running, and dreaming 😉 I'm passionate about simple things, and making time to encourage and love others well. The intentionality of Jesus, in pursuing me, hemming me in, gathering the ruins of my life, and lavishing grace over me overwhelms me daily. You'll find me here, in story after story of Him rescuing me, loving me, teaching me, and drawing me into worship. In honesty, I'll share of the emotional and psychological strains of my life & how Jesus continues to reclaim & rebuild, from the inside out. Let me always speak of His faithfulness & that you will know that He is good.

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