Joyful in Hope
Last night, I sat across a cup of coffee from a friend and dear sister in Christ. In the age of Facebook, it’s no secret, today is my birthday, and since I’m tickling 40 and sleep has become an increased priority, that evening coffee was a decaf. But let’s not get in too big of a hurry; I’ll be hanging onto my 30’s for another couple years.
We chatted about the various struggles and trials that we have faced, and those whom we love are currently facing. We’re in a small group together, which is church-speak for a group of people who have committed to intentionally “do life” together. Our goal is to gather weekly to share stories, meals, study the Bible and pray for one another, although I admit that sometimes weekly becomes monthly in the busyness of life.
It is ironic that when I first came to faith, I was a self-declared “small group dropout.” I was restless gathering together with a group of people to talk about the Bible when I would have preferred to simply be out doing what the Bible said. I often love God’s sense of humor, for that small group dropout is now the Director of Support and Small Groups at her local church. I’ve noticed a pattern in my life – being thrown into the fire is often how God refines a stubborn girl.
I’m not saying small groups are the end-all-be-all to your faith, but I think they do teach you something about the community God designed for us to live in; being committed to one another, to share in each other’s joys and carry one another’s burdens. A place that doesn’t hold judgment, regardless of your struggle or sin, but a place that simultaneously holds and challenges you to live to a higher standard. A place filled with grace and love. But that doesn’t necessarily happen seamlessly or even naturally – it takes intention. We have to be intentional about opening ourselves to live authentically with one another, taking down the facades that we may have constructed, and giving people the authority to speak honestly into our lives. The beauty on the other side of that invitation, are companions for the journey – a tribe of belonging.
We are currently in a season of walking alongside some of our tribe as they journey through a season of dealing with the realities of childhood cancer with their son. I woke up this morning to receive a text from his sweet mama, sharing a video of him singing Happy Birthday, scars fresh from the last surgery, hope still strong. Oh. My. Heart. But if their hope ever falters...may they find strength in ours, for we were not meant to walk this life alone.
I don't know what the year ahead will hold, each year tends to dole out its fair share of joy and affliction...I glance up from my keyboard as the sun shines through my kitchen window and there it is...truth resting on the rugged floating shelf that my husband lovingly hung...regardless of what the year holds, may we all remember to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer...Romans 12:12.
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10: 23-25
Finding your tribe: For those in the Ankeny area, who may call The Ridge your church home, learn more about joining a small group!
Please join us to pray and follow Hudson’s Heroes.
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Hi - I'm Brandy. I'm a farm girl at heart, but currently hang my hat in suburbia. I love my family and the roots they gave me...roots which provided enough courage to fly. I fell in love with Jesus in my twenties followed by Africa and my husband in my thirties. I'm fascinated by the tapestry God is weaving with our lives and the purpose behind each of our unique threads. I'm passionate about moving people closer to who they were created to be...closer to Him.