Last night I had the true pleasure of visiting a small group for the first time since moving back to Duluth. I hadn't intended on going this long before attending, but you know how things get. Pete's full schedule mixed with Ella's early bed time didn't really allow me to freely explore the many small groups that meet in town throughout the week.
If you're not familiar with the concept of a "small group" let me paint a quick picture of it. Basically, it's a Bible study. But a small group (or some churches call them life groups) goes beyond just a weekly Bible study. A small group lives life together. In a good small group, people can be honest, transparent, weak, and vulnerable. It's a place to learn and grow and be challenged in ways that push you outside of your standard comfort zone. Pete & I were a part of a great small group a couple years ago and have longed to return to a place in our lives where we could have that experience again.
So yes, I got to go to a small group. Pete worked his tail off during the day so he could get home in time to spend the evening with Ella while I ventured out on my own. That makes it sound like it was a scary thing. It wasn't. It was Jake's small group. But don't think I was being safe by simply going to a group led by my little brother. I actually went because it was a college group. Before we moved back to Duluth, I prayed and prayed about what I should do when we got here. Yes, being a mom is a busy job, but I want to be growing in ministry and learning how to serve in new ways. God totally surprised me by leading me in the direction of women's college ministry. And, because it's just the way He works, I am now super excited about it. So that's why I went to the college group last night.
Should I be amazed at the way I felt incredibly at home in the little gazebo surrounded by college kids I didn't know? Should I be surprised at how easy it was to settle back into a place that felt so loving and safe and challenging all at the same time? I don't think so. God's kingdom and His family is incredible. I am beyond happy to be back in a place where I can experience this in a real, tangible way again.
I cannot wait to see what God has waiting for us - and for me individually - in the months ahead.