Five years ago I found myself in a situation in which I was working way too many hours and traveling too often, my marriage was struggling, my children were not getting the best of me, my mental and physical health were suffering, and my relationship with Christ was not a priority. So one day during my five minute drive to work (it’s amazing what can happen in 5 minutes!), I made the decision to walk away from my career. There had to be more to life than this hamster wheel I had been getting on every single day. God had to have a greater purpose for my life. When I arrived at work, I went into my office, shut the door, wrote a letter of resignation, emailed it to my boss, and then texted my husband to let him know I had just quit my job. Now what? At forty years old, I suddenly needed to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up! There are so many life lessons and spiritual growths that occured in my life over these next five years, but for the sake of not losing all of you, I will simply stick to one of them.
My relationship with Christ had taken a back burner to all of the “busyness” of life. I was no longer letting Christ be the leader of my life. I had been trying to lead my own life and we can all see where that was getting me! I knew to put my life back together I needed to start with Christ. I started attending and volunteering at church again, spending time in prayer and devotion, and just trying to figure out God’s plan for my life. For a couple of years, I was doing most of this on my own but knew I needed to be in closer community with other Christians. That next logical step was to join a Women’s Small Group. I thought that would be easy enough. However, it turned out we did not have an overflowing number of open Women’s Small Groups at that time. The solution was to lead my own Small Group. What? That’s crazy! My life was a hot mess. I could not lead myself let alone another group of women. I decided that was not happening and continued on my journey alone.
Several months later, I was tossing and turning and could not sleep one night. Finally, I just decided to get up and go downstairs. I had so many decisions and areas of my life that had been weighing on my heart. I turned to prayer, poured my heart out to Christ, and begged for direction. One of the areas I prayed about was leading a Small Group. Again, in my mind, I needed to get my life back in order before I could possibly lead anyone else. God’s response was “Perhaps you need these women in your life to help you get your life back in order”. As usual, God was right. Through that single night of prayer, I got a nice healthy dose of humility in many areas of my life and humility is a great catalyst for growth. That same week, I started putting together my Small Group of women. I had been volunteering for some time in the Adult Ministries department helping to get people connected in a Small Groups. (I know what you are thinking…you were volunteering with Small Groups but didn’t connect your own dots. Again, humility.) Anyway, I already had a random list of women who were trying to get connected. I did not know these ladies but one by one I just started making phone calls. My first Small Group was formed. And being the “overachiever” that I am, I found myself leading a second Small Group of women who needed a leader. Tuesdays became my “Small Group Day” and have been ever since. It also turns out, there wasn’t anything “random” about any of these women, they were all chosen specifically by God to be in my life. God continued to bring more women into my life who found a home in one of my Small Groups.
I thank God for hand picking these women to be in my life. They have become my family and we literally do life together daily. They have helped me do way more than get my life back in order (not that I don’t still have a some disorder, because let’s face it, it’s all a journey). Their willingness to share their own life experiences, be vulnerable, offer guidance, provide accountability, study God’s word together, serve others, have fun and laugh together, cry together, pray together, and love each other unconditionally has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. I could not do have done alone what God has done in me through these women. When God brings new women to our group, as a leader I am thinking of how I can best invest in them and serve them, but I am also thinking about how God is going to use them to grow me.
For the ladies that have been or are currently in one of my Small Groups (just a few happen to be in the attached picture, but there are many more), know that you have made an eternal impact in my life, I cherish our relationship, and I love you.
If you are not in a Small Group or don’t have a group of Christian women to walk alongside you in life, I strongly encourage you find one. Don’t wait until you think you’re good enough. We are all a hot mess and need each other. Life is better together because we were not created to do life alone.
For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.
Matthew 18:20 NIV
Loving life together,