A white rose bends close to the window of my sunroom, glistening with dew in the chilly morning light. It nods gently, seemingly agreeing with my prayers, as the breeze moves the wind chimes for a melodious accompaniment to my quiet time.


One by one, their faces cross my mind as I give thanks for each of them: Holly, all four Amys, Becky, Julie, Debbie, Michelle, Bonnie, Logan, Carrie, Deidra, Colleen, Mary, Mei, Jo Anne, Kay, Bethany, Victoria, Karina, Crystal, Patti, Gayle, Lyli, Monica, Rosie, Susan, Michelle (new Consilium member), Veronica (a.k.a, Pinky), Suzanne and so many others.


At the Allume conference, I had prayed before going to our Consilium meetup for words to say to these women, to encourage, to lift, and to affirm – few words came. I went to the lobby to meet with all the women who would come for a meetup, floating on the energy that comes when so many women come together for community, but inside, I feared that I had called a meeting that would be void of content and attendance. Before I could really begin, Patti pulled out her camera and began taking pictures of everyone in the group and their shoes. We all gave our best “Vogue” for her camera, with hand on hip and head up high we turned left then right as if on a catwalk in front of hundreds.


Women over fifty, showing their clothing with flair and sass that could rival any model on the catwalk. Our shoes went from cute and sensible, to boots, to animal print heels, we were rocking the fashion world!


I brought a Gladiator Bracelet as a prize; Pinky (Veronica) added a pair of earrings as a prize, and Holly Barrett Periscoped the whole event.


For a few minutes, I stood on the edge of the waterfall cascading down beside the stairs to introduced myself, explain the Consilium, and the Peacock feather logo, and welcome them in. That was all I had. It was as if God closed my mouth as a speaker and I worried that the meeting would be dull.


Within seconds, the women turn to each other and began to talk. I went to introduce myself to a woman I thought was coming to be a part of the “older Chicks” in the lobby. As it turns out, she was a reporter for a local newspaper wanting to know about The Consilium, as Holly continued as a roving reporter for the Consilium on Periscope.


In a blink, our hour was over and I moved to my next meeting filled with joy for the ministry and community of The Consilium.


I had gone to Allume feeling empty and exhausted. It felt as if I had nothing left to give. The job of running a ministry for women was giving me feeling of being parched and I was loosing my joy.


I walked away realizing that when I focus too much on the job, and not connecting with the people, then the joy of this community will slowly slide out of my hands.


When ministry only does the spreadsheet and creates the vision but does not see or embrace the people, then it becomes only a job with responsibilities to mark off each day.


This weekend reminded me, that I am not in this alone. Each woman has a purpose, a gift and talent and she wants to contribute – some will see what to do and jump in, others will offer, and still others are willing if invited.


I was running low because I had forgotten to slow down enough to inhale the sweet fragrance of community. I needed to pause to observe the joy and gifts glistening from each woman. Each one is a beautiful rose growing on the other side of my computer screen.


Getting up from my couch, I walked outside with a pair of clippers and brought some roses into my sunroom.


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Diane W. Bailey is the founder of The Consilium – an online community of wisdom and purpose for women over 45 years of age. She is a published author. Her books include String of Pearls – From Tears to Treasure, and 30 Days To A Better Stepfamily. She creates her own line of precious metals bracelets. Diane lives in the Deep South with her husband Doc. Together they have created a stepfamily, each having two stepchildren and two birth children, and share three grandchildren, one black lab named Charlie and one long haired tabby cat named Lil Girl. Diane’s passion is to encourage women to be all God has created them to be by pressing past fear and daring to live life as an adventure. Some of her life adventures include traveling to Israel, speaking, entrepreneurship and backyard farming with Doc. She loves Gumbo, fried shrimp and seeing all sunsets across water.

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