Monday, March 15, 2010

planting and growing

Spring time (well, fingers crossed, almost!).

It's the perfect time to plant, the perfect time to make things grow.

We (and by "we", I mean Matthew) LOVE to plant. He can whip together a flower/vegetable garden in no time and make both flourish. He would have been a good pioneer man. (His pioneer woman would have needed a spa day every now and then to make it though.)

But, really, spring is the perfect time to plant.

Which makes sense because this spring our church is "planting" a new one.

This is an exciting time for our family right now as we go to the new church. How wonderful to be a part of something new. How incredible to see the growth that God has already allowed to happen. How courageous of so many to be taking this leap of FAITH.

So exciting, so new, so wonderful...

But...

There is one part of our "family" that is affected by the plant...our small group family.

(And I have been an emotional mess these past few days because of this.)

In August of 2005, Matthew and I were approached about starting a home Bible study. We eagerly agreed because of our good experience with a small group when we lived in Searcy. The only thing was, we only knew one couple on the list of names they had given us to contact.

Never mind our initial discomfort, we called each couple and asked if they would be interested in coming to our house for a meeting about starting a new small group. I don't remember how many couple names were on that list...7 or 8...but that first night, 4 families came to our house.

Matthew grilled out hamburgers and hotdogs, I cleaned our house from top to bottom, we even went to the store and bought a few balls to throw in the yard because one of the families had a 2-year-old little boy.

This happened in September of 2005. (Just writing this is making me cry....grrrrrrr.)

For the next few months, we had 4 families that were consistently coming to home Bible study (which I will refer to as HBS from here on out). The Hendersons, The Walkers, The Sharps and The Hales.

In May, we added one more family, The Grahams.

Since the Grahams became a permanent part of our group we have had several families in and out. Some have moved, some have found other small groups that fit them better, some started their own small groups.

Now, in March 2010, our HBS consists of: The Grahams, The Hendersons, The Sharps and The Walkers. The originals.

And they are our family. (Again, tears.)

I know that if I needed ANYTHING....literally ANYTHING...I could call one of these people and they would drop what they were doing to help me. And I would do the same for any of them.

A few years ago, all of the small groups in our church did a series called "My Spiritual Family". All groups were asked to participate, so we did. We had already been meeting together a few years by that point.

Much of the information was for groups that were just forming but because of the study we finally had a name for one another...spiritual family!

We joked a lot about it and got a kick out calling each other "spiritual family"...but, it was true.

Now, here we are, spiritual family and so much more. These people are my FAMILY. I consider them as much a part of our family as our actual family is.

We have all had so much growth together. SO. MUCH. GROWTH. We have grown in numbers (because of babies), some of us have grown in size (while others have shrunk), we have grown into a new home to have our Bible study, we have grown as parents, we have grown as friends, but more importantly, we have had the opportunity to witness each other GROW TOWARDS GOD!

I truly believe God has been growing us, as individuals and as a group, for this next growing season of our life.

Not all of us are moving to the church plant. The Sharps are staying at "home base" while the rest of us help "plant".

And to say that this has not affected us would be a huge LIE.

And nobody likes a liar...you know, Revelation 21:8.

Growth is HARD.

We had a growing time last night at HBS. Many, many tears were shed and even a few smiles were seen. But, still, hard.

I mentioned last night that when Matthew and I got married, I was so excited (hopefully, right?). I was thrilled beyond belief.

HOWEVER.

When I packed up my apartment and loaded it onto the truck, I cried.

When I sat in my classroom for the last time, after everything had been packed, I cried (the ugly cry).

Did I cry because I was sad about marrying Matthew? No. Did I cry because I thought my life in Nashville was so much better than my life was going to be in Searcy? No.

Why did I cry? I think it's because Nashville was such a pivotal time in my life. I moved there right after college, I made it on my own, I experienced MUCH while living there....I GREW. I was a different person when I left than I was when I had arrived 4 years earlier. I was sad that one chapter of my life was closing but EXTATIC that I was opening a new chapter.

That's how this is.

Am I sad that we made the decision to move to the church plant? Absolutely not. Do I think it's going to be amazing? Yes! Am I ready to work and help others grow closer to God? Yes!

What I am sad about is that we are closing a very precious chapter in our life. One in which I grew. And grew with friends.

I'm sad I won't see the Sharps each and every Sunday. I will be sad when Nora asks me if we will see John David at church. I will be sad when James first walks and we don't get to see him toddle around the nursery.

I know our HBS can continue to meet (and we all hope that we do, at some point, each week). I know that just because we are growing in different directions right now does not mean that we will lose each other.

That will never happen. We're family. For eternity.

The next few weeks will be bittersweet as we wind up our "normal" since 2005. I don't know if I will feel normal for the next few weeks.

We all said last night that a group like ours is special. Rarely do complete strangers get thrown together and grow to have such love.

God has been amazing to our group. He has blessed us tremendously with our HBS family.

And I am excited to see where He will plant us next. All of us.

5 comments:

Marty Rhea Hill said...

Well, goodness gracious! I feel like I know your friends so well. Gosh, every word you wrote made me think about the change that I just made. I loved my old life and I am not sad to move on, but WOW, did the tears flow....during the move AND remembering while reading this. I love you and your post. I look forward to visiting and being there on a Sunday night to see your group.

TeamBortzfield said...

Very brave Dallas. God calls us to step out in faith and he will abundantly bless your willingness. I am living this right now and though it is scary I feel great. I would love to be in your HBS you're so fun!

~aj~ said...

I totally understand your feelings, Dallas. You're right, you are all family and you will stay close no matter what, but it's also true that things might be different from here on out. I hope your group will continue to meet and stay close with one another.

We are so enjoying being a part of a small group, but we've already been a part of 2 multiplications (they don't like to use the word divisions, lol) because our groups became too big to function as they should. Each change was VERY hard, but it's been such a blessing to get to know new families and to see our groups multiply again and again as we all strive to be closer to God. Such a beautiful thing!

Hugs to you during this transition!!!

Sandi said...

Dallas, these sound like amazing friendships, and you're right -- that part won't change but it will hurt to not be involved as often in each other's lives. May God give you peace and courage to step ahead!!

Supabloggasuprememama said...

this is a really sweet post. I love the way you are looking at this. and my fave is rev. 21:8. wishing the best for you guys!!!

Related Posts with Thumbnails