Just about one year ago Jon and I were invited to join a small group of young couples to meet together once a week, have dinner and do a Bible Study. Little did I know how much I would learn about fellowship from this dear group! These sweet friends showed us what it means to really live life with one another. This no frills, no fluff group welcomes one another in "just as you are" and then challenges each other to become "just as He is".
One of the biggest blessings of this group of friends is that they have shown us how to be real. You didn't have time to shower today? Throw your hair in a ponytail and come without makeup! You didn't have time to fix a fancy dish? Bring whatever you've got in the cupboard or can pick up on the way there! Your kids are cranky and irritable? Come on...they'll probably cheer up when they start playing with all the other kids, and if not no one will judge you should you have to take said child to the bathroom for a little "talk". :)
Dinner is sometimes crazy and chaotic, with spilled drinks and someone crying for dessert and usually a couple people standing for lack of enough chairs. But the blessing is in just being together, sharing the meal.
The Bible Study time is sometimes interrupted when a crying toddler comes to sit with mom or an "issue" with the kids requires a parent to slip out (10+ kids in an upstairs room with a babysitter can be a little much at times!). But the blessing is in just being together, sharing the Word.
The application time can be a little humbling, because whatever you state that you plan to work on that week WILL be asked about the next week. But the blessing is in just being together, sharing the accountability.
The group has changed a little in the past year...a few couples have had other committments or moved away, and a few new couples have joined the group. But the blessings continue to pour forth. Here is the group last December. The group that has taught me so much.
I wonder, how many times have I failed to have people over because my house wasn't clean enough, my cooking wasn't good enough, or I just simply didn't have enough chairs? How often I think of how fun it would be to open my home and REALLY get to know people, but I wait...until my kids are older, until my schedule is emptier, until my decor is fancier or my cooking is better. And I miss the blessing of just being together.
I have to remember, its not about impressing -- its about the blessing! There's a reason for the challenge in Hebrews 10:25 "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching."