02 December 2011

Small Group, I Salute You

It was, until recently, too tiring for me to even attempt to join a new small group at my church. Let me give you a short history of the small groups I've been a part of.

1.  My boss at my job in the Air Force in 2001 was the first person to seem to be utterly delighted that a new tiny person was joining the human race when he heard I was pregnant. He  turned out to be a Christian and invited us to his church. We attended there for two years. We didn't go to a small group- it was a relatively small church- but I got to know some other stay-at-home moms and made playdates and went to a few Kay Arthur Bible studies on the military base with my bosses' wife.

2. At this time in Maryland James moved us to a great church full of seemingly perfect people. Perfect in the sense that they confessed sin, knew they were justified before God because of Christ, and from gratitude strove daily to sanctify their walk. We'd meet at someone's cute house and the men and women would separate to help facilitate honesty and trust. Then we'd meet together again for food and fellowship. We felt pretty inadequate and juvenile. These other young couples seemed to be doing it all right, and we were not even aware of half the stuff we were deficient in. We loved going though, although it was nearly an hour away, because of the beauty of grace and the strong pull of love shown to fellow sinners.

3. Fast Forward 7 years.... When James and I were separated I joined a church near the house with expositional teaching. It also was sort of small and didn't have small groups. I met many moms there and went to park days and attended Beth Moore Bible studies at a friend's house.

4. Again, James decided we should attend a different, better church and so we moved to a different local church. Although this new church was about the same size, and had just been planted, they had an emphasis on small groups. Then he stopped attending with me. So I was left to make new friends... I had been warmly welcomed by the pastor and his wife, and they hosted a small group at their house, so I went to it. Soon after I joined, they made the announcement that they were no longer having the group. Was it me?! So I tried a new group but it was hard to be the odd man out, the third wheel, the single person in a group of smiling married couples.

Later I got on the email list for a friends group. I got the emails for a long time but never went and finally I asked my friend to take me off the list. Then I went a long time not even thinking about looking for a new group. Then I was really tired and needed support and I got the info and directions to join a single ladies group- not single women but married women who went to church alone. Just the idea of going and explaining my situation to a room of kind interested and compassionate women made me exhausted. Again, I never went.

Then I heard that the same friend was facilitating a new group to be held at another mutual friend's house. THEN I learned that third mutual friend, who had just started attending my church, was considering going to this small group. So the deal was sealed and I began attending also. Now, of course, there are other couples who also come, and one single lady who was in a relationship that fell apart, so I didn't get a room full of people I knew. But I just made general prayer requests and (most) everyone understood, even with most of the details going unsaid!! These people already knew my kids, they weren't shocked or correction-shy and they, best of all, loved me already. So no one was appalled or pity-ful or anything, and it's been a joy to be in felloship again.

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and I would love to hear from you through comments! Teresa (Tracy) Dear