sometimes a gift looks like a mistake at first

Posted: January 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

One of the things G and I had to do in order to make our new sleep schedule work was to give up leading a Growth Group in our house.  This was counter intuitive for us, to put it mildly.  Hosting friends was a joy for both of us.  Leading discussions about Jesus stuff is kind of my thing.  How could it be possible that this “way of surrender” God was leading us through included the stopping of doing a really good thing?  It felt so backward that we fought it, staring at our calendars and struggling for a way to make the group work.

In the end it was clear, though:  something’s gotta give.  We don’t get to keep serving in all the different ways we like to serve.  No matter what we decided, we had to take stuff off the table.  After imagining every possible schedule configuration, it was clear that leading a Growth Group was among that stuff.

Our pastors rightly place a premium on Growth Groups, though.  Going to Sunday morning church services makes a lot of good things happen spiritually, but for the church to be the church, the people have to do more than meet for an hour or two once a week.  We need to know one another, share our lives, encourage one another, serve one another.  Growth Groups are a great catalyst for all these things.  As a team leader, I am required to be plugged in to one.

This presented another challenge; after some thought and discussion we made a compromise.  We would attend someone else’s group, and just leave by 7:30, allowing us to be home and in bed before 8 PM – an hour to an hour and a half past our bedtime, which is something that can be managed once a week.  Last week, that started.

Can I just tell you how great God is?  During my 40 day prayer adventure at the end of 2015, one of the things I’d asked Him for was a mentor.  I’ve BEEN a mentor to a few people over the years, but now I wanted one for me.  Someone further down the road than me, faith-wise.  Someone who would hear my heart and be plain and direct with me.  A married lady, whose marriage I’d like to emulate, to whom I can go when I can’t quite figure out the navigation of marriage.  Very early in the 40 days, God had given me two names of women in my church who fit the bill.  Hearing the names, I was surprised I had not thought of them on my own.  They were good names.  GREAT names.  I wasted no time in asking one of those ladies to lunch, and she was gracious and quick in granting my request.

That lady?  She leads the Growth Group we are in now.  The other lady?  Oh, she attends the group as well!

HOW COOL IS THAT?!

NOW it makes sense.  When we were giving up our own Growth Group, it was confusing.  It felt like making a mistake, like being selfish or lazy or something.  It took every bit of my prayerful self-coaching to get through making the change.  I remember thanking one of our pastors lavishly for hearing and understanding, and for not agreeing with the voices in my head that were calling me a jerk for making the change.

I’m awfully grateful for the years of walking with Him that helped me navigate this decision.  Awfully grateful that I’ve been led to do enough things that looked like “failure” on the surface to know that sometimes that’s the way He leads, and it’s always okay in the end.

I got crazy excited last week as I sat in that first meeting of this group.  This will be a place that I can be led – that I can look to others wiser than myself and soak up what they share with all my might.  I feel like it’s a gift wrapped in shiny paper with a ridiculously giant bow.  This is one more element God has brought forth toward my theme of REST for 2016.

I’m gonna grab it with both hands.

 

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