Thursday, May 1, 2008

Small Group

My posts are a little Jesus-heavy this week, I've noticed. Well, that's if anything could be BE Jesus heavy. I mean, if you own the whole world and all...

I've been in a small group since before I was a believer. Funny, right? To edit a super duper long story, I was in Mary Kay. I had a friend named Stefany who was a Christian (and everyone I was around in MK was pretty much Christian). I was talking to another gal about how I didn't believe in Jesus. She was 20 at the time, an absolutely a fantastic gal. Her response was an utterly sincere, "Really? Because I couldn't imagine living without Him". I was relating to Stef how astounded I was that anyone felt that way about Jesus, and she said, "That's how I feel, too". Huh? Had my friends been abducted and replaced by Jesus Freaks?

I launched into this long diatribe and presented "solid research" as to why this whole thing was just wrong. I had questions that she couldn't answer. Finally Stef threw her hands up and asked me to come to her small group the next night. I asked Patton if I could go, and he said "Yes, as long as you don't come home all Christian and stuff". No problem there, I certainly didn't plan on it.

I got ready the next night and went. I wasn't sure how you had to dress (it was church after all, right?). The church I grew up in had fairly formal dress; dresses are preferred for the ladies, shirts and ties for the gents. The Firecracker Princess was about 6 mos old at the time, so I was still trying to shed the pounds and only had one skirt that fit well; I clearly remember the struggle to find something that was appropriate and nice-looking.

As soon as I stepped into the Rowells' home, Ginger hugged me. Um, ok. Don't you KNOW that you don't touch strangers like that, weirdo? We all sat down, Stef introduced me, and I launched into my questioning. This went on for more than two hours, and by the end of the night I'd gained a great deal of respect for the man leading the group (John), though not discernibly closer to accepting Christ than I had been walking in.

But you know what happened? I came back the next week. And the next. And the next. And six weeks after my first visit, I took the plunge. Except I didn't know what to say, so I didn't tell anyone (How hilarious is that?) for another six weeks until I had a big blubbery breakdown one night, but that's another post for another day. But I kept going to group, and I often talk about how I had a small group before I had a church.

Every member of my original small group from three years ago is gone except for John and Ginger and myself. It's such a strange, transient group. I loved the security of seeing the same people every week, knowing where they were in their walk, feeling safe because they "knew my stuff", and it's not like that anymore.

I'm really struggling with group right now. I genuinely like the people there, but there's only one person I feel connected to besides the leaders (shout out to Jennifer and her girls), and even that's mostly unspoken. It's hard to reveal your struggles with someone who may not be there next week, and it makes trust and accountability almost non-existent. I've considered taking a break, but I'm not sure I'd ever go back. And what if, just what if, my constant presence is security for someone else?

I don't know if I keep going because it's a habit and just something I do. If it is, is that a bad thing? I guess I go until I get a clear release to STOP going, but I really wish group was a safe place for everyone, through consistent attendance and a strong base, where we could welcome new people but still have people we trust. Dare to dream.


Jennifer said...

You have been my one constant there. Don't leave!! Well, unless God is leading you elsewhere and then I guess I can let you...ha ah. When you weren't there after the look alike, it was weird for me. So...unspoken for both of us, I guess.

Mitzi said...

I'm not going to say this right because I am in like a 3 minute break between getting dinner almost ready and putting it on the table, so forgive me before I speak... or type....

But sometimes I think the discipline of going to Bible Study or small group or worship or prayer meeting or what have you.... keeps your heart in the right place so God can continue to help you work out your faith when the timing is right. Just because you aren't "getting anything from it" now, doesn't mean you won't tomorrow or the next day or the day after that......... my oven timer is going off, I'm not even proffing this, but you know what I mean and I love you, Mitz-

Sister Honey Bunch said...

I was never a part of a small group until 3 years ago. We're more of an accountability group. We met at a Decolores retreat and we're still holding strong.

We have had some ups and downs. Two members have left. But the three of us remain strong and dedicated. Power through unless you hear God telling you to go elsewhere.