I’m about to embark on a 10 week journey with 11 complete strangers. The twelve of us will meet for the first time this week, babies on our hips and Bibles in our hands. And hopefully, by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, we will resemble Redwood trees.
Several months ago I started hearing a whisper to my heart. Our church, like many of yours, provides support for small groups, or what we call “Life Groups” so that our fairly large church body can better fellowship and build relationships with one another as it describes in the book of Hebrews:
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:23-25
The goal is to “do life” together in community-just as God desires us to do! But as moms with young children, it’s not easy to get away for a couple of hours every week to meet and talk about Spiritual things.
That’s when I began to consider offering to host a group where moms could come and study God’s Word with toddlers in tow and where babies were welcome on laps while we talk about how God desires us to live.
It will be noisy. Peppered with interruptions from 2 year olds. Someone will fall and scrape their knee and need to sit on Mommy’s lap for prayer time.
My new Labrador puppy may bark her head off while we try to talk about our need for just a little bit of peace and quiet once in a while.
Moms will rise early that morning and make several trips to the car loaded down with diaper bags, and blueberry muffins to share. Keys will dangle from their mouths while they hold a baby bottle in one hand and much-needed coffee in the other. It will take 20 minutes to load everyone into the car and shift it into gear. Someone may cry because they left their binky behind. Everyone will wonder what they got themselves into.
And it will be worth it.
As one of our pastors shared this weekend, the reason we make such efforts for community is because it matters so much to God that we gather together and encourage one another on towards love and good deeds. The goal is to resemble the startlingly majestic Redwood Trees whose heights reach 350 feet tall.
You would think that such an enormous tree would require deep roots, but that’s not the case. Shallow roots of only five or six feet deep sustain these giants-because they grow in groves, enabling roots to spread nearly 100 feet from the trunk, entwining and fusing with the roots of their neighbors. As a community, growing together and linking arms, they can withstand the forces of nature-whether toppling winds or raging floods assault them.
I can’t imagine what will befall any of us as we gather for this next Life Group session. We can’t guess what winds of change or deep waters we may face nor can we determine what victories and triumphs we will get to rejoice over together. But we do know that when we make ourselves available despite our obstacles, that God will not waste that time.
He will show up with all the Holiness of Heaven at our disposal and He won’t mind when we have to duck out of our discussion to change a diaper or settle a squabble. And one by one the 12 of us will stand a little taller as we go out from our fellowship together. We will feel a little more sure-footed, and our chins will lift a bit higher to the sky. The trees that canopy above us as we meet in my backyard will take on new meaning as our hearts fuse together, much like the roots of the grand Redwoods.
YOUR TURN! Do you meet together in a Bible study or Life Group? What challenges do you face? Has it been worth it?