Last night at New Hope's Thanksgiving Eve service we sat around tables and took communion "family-style". On the table sat a large cup of juice, which was to be poured into Dixie cups for each person to partake of. If I had been the one to fill the cups, I would have poured just a little juice into each one - just enough to taste. But my brother who sat at our table and filled my cup is a big dude...he filled it all the way to the top! To him this might have been a mere swallow. But for me, this was the biggest communion cup I had ever seen! As I sat there gulping down my communion and remembering my Lord, I felt Him say "Drink deeply".
How often do we just take sips of Jesus? Maybe we only drink enough to keep us going and get us through the day. But to be filled - filled enough to overflow onto others - we need to drink deeply. And this means spending time with the One whose well never runs dry.
On this Thanksgiving Day, I give thanks to a living God who can speak to me through whatever means He chooses - even a little Dixie cup. May His name be praised.
"If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink" - Jesus
I remember hearing about the death of Steven Curtis Chapman's adopted daughter a few years ago. She got struck by a car, which was driven by her brother, in their driveway. I wonder how people can get past such tragedy, how hope and faith are able to rise through such sadness. In the midst of his struggle Steven has written an album called "Beauty Will Rise". The following is one song from that album with a message we can all relate to. Even in the midst of our pain and confusion, God is still in control and worthy of our praise.
Life is full of many seasons. As it's getting ready to transition from fall to winter, there is another season change happening in my life that is bittersweet. I am now reflecting and celebrating what has been, while at the same time looking forward to what is to come.
Very soon after moving to Loudonville in 2001 Jeremy and I joined a couples small group and have been a part of one ever since. We connected with our first group after visiting a church in Ashland. Even though we were still "church shopping" this group took us in, became our friends, and celebrated important milestones with us, such as the birth of our first child. After a few years we had found a church home and decided to lead a group of our own for the Purpose-Driven Life study our church was promoting, which led to another study on marriage. Then we took a year off from leading to participate in a couples group in Perrysville. And finally, back to leading a group of our own for the last few years. A couples small group was just what we needed during this time in our lives. We were able to fellowship and make great friendships...in fact most of our close friends have been in a small group with us at some point. And I was able to grow in my leadership by pushing through feelings of inadequacy and trusting God.
While my passion for small groups is still strong, I believe God is leading me away from the couples small group and leading me toward a womans small group for my spiritual growth. And unfortunately my schedule doesn't allow time for both. I've been feeling this for some time but have been struggling with the when's and how's to step down from the leadership position I was in. Monday will be our last official small group night. It's so hard to step away, yet I know that is what is being asked of me. I will miss the regular fellowship with the couples who I consider to be part of my family, yet I know our friendships will remain.
So I look forward to a new season...not quite sure what to expect...but trusting that it is exactly what I need. (Heads up Kim, I might be coming your way!)