Tag Archives: small group

the one with the highlight reel: september edition

have we figured out yet that i’m not terribly consistent at blogging? it sure isn’t because i don’t have any thinks to share! i have a lot of thinks, i just don’t have a lot of time to write the thinks. so basically, my head could explode at any moment from all the thinks i’ve been thinking. (i’m tired just looking at that sentence.) but today is the last day of september, and it has been a pretty good month. so many reasons to smile and thank jesus for!

smallgroupgenerations copyfirst, (and this is technically from august 29, but it is my blog, so i do what i want) this. you guys, this photo represents God’s faithfulness to me on so many levels. when i started my undergrad degree at age 21, i asked God to bring me younger students to disciple. he has never stopped answering that prayer. when i moved to north carolina 4 years ago, i was single and childless (oh, yeah … i still am) and thinking often and deeply about the idea of progeny and legacy. a friend spoke wisely into my anxiety: “those we disciple are our spiritual progeny. our legacy isn’t necessarily the children we birth- discipleship makes us spiritual midwives in that we get to be part of new birth. discipleship makes us mothers as we shepherd other women deeper into the faith.” i’ve led small groups before, both adult and student groups, and been blessed to disciple a number of women in one-to-one relationships- but recent events have reminded me of my wise friend’s words. i attended my church’s small group leader conference with my apprentice leader (far left), and we sat with my apprentices from last year (2nd and 3rd from left) and a woman from their group who is starting a new small group (far right). this new leader looked across the table at me and told me “you’re my grandma!”. i won’t lie, it took me a hot minute to understand what she was saying … and in less than a hot second, i was ugly-crying (all the emotions). i am a mess. yes, i love leading … sometimes i’m even good at it. but i’m a mess. and these women have been under my leadership during some of the messiest and darkest seasons of my life- seasons that i didn’t think would bear any fruit. and yet … i’m a grandma. God’s good that way.

famapplepicking copywe went to visit the fam earlier this month and got to do one of my favorite things: APPLE PICKING! i love fall … my birthday, cooler weather, everything apple and all the pumpkin! our chinese sister had never been to an apple orchard before, so it was really special to be there for her introduction to fall in virginia. the girls all wore flannel, and we just loved being together. arent’t my parents the cutest?!

beth copywhile i was home, i got to celebrate my beautiful friend beth’s wedding. i’ve been friends with her for over 7 years, and i absolutely love the woman that she has become. beautiful inside and out! we have walked together through dark seasons, broken relationships, and distance, and i’m thankful to have been there to cry and rejoice as she pledged to follow Christ alongside a good man. plus, it was a good excuse to wear a pink dress and gaze open-mouthed at the show the blue ridge mountains were putting on that day 🙂

the j.lo and i celebrated a year of #pennythewarriorprincess being a linton! love that pup.

we also switched bedrooms- i don’t think we’ll be making ‘the great migration’ an annual thing, but it was good to look at our home through new eyes.

last friday was monthly ‘nest family dinner. we made homemade pizza, and laughed til we nearly peed ourselves.

i celebrated 5 months of working at my new job! it stretches me, terrifies me, and delights me all at once.

so long, september. you’ve been kind.

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getting naked (originally posted 3/5/09)

and no, I’m not talking about what you think I’m talking about. get your mind out of the gutter.

this morning I was talking to a friend on office communicator (basically IM for the office. and I can’t get in trouble for being on it … all day) about some breakthroughs that we’ve been having in our personal spiritual walks- dealing with the way that we view god- and now, sitting in class (yes, I’m blogging in class. deal with it.) I’ve been catching up on stuffchristianslike.com and laughing my face off quietly so I don’t get into trouble. jon posted the other day about confessing ‘safe sins’- like “I’m not praying enough;” or “I’m not reading my bible enough”. don’t get me wrong, these things can be indicative of serious spiritual problems and should be confessed to people we trust and who will hold us accountable. but as jon also points out, no one wants to be the next person- the one with something real to confess. if the person in front of me confesses to having skipped her devos that morning, how likely am I to be honest and confess that I am struggling with impurity in a relationship, or that I’m a pathological liar … insert your sin here.

I have the amazing privilege of co-leading a small group of 5 ladies. probably one of the highlights of my week. I love monday nights! college night at chick-fil-a (which means that you get cheap awesome chicken sangwiches!) and then small group. I love those girls so much, and its been such a blessing to get to teach and learn and grown with them. a few months ago, we were talking about the desire for our small group to be a ‘safe place’ where we could be spiritually naked with each other. we desired to create an environment where we could confess our issues and sins to each other, and know that we wouldn’t be judged, but rather loved on and held accountable for change. the next week, the lord had been working on me about some things and prompted me to confess some sin areas to the girls. I fought with the lord about it (if you had heard the conversation going on in my head, you’d have sworn that I have multiple personalities . . . and who knows? maybe I do! just kidding.): lord, these girls need to believe that as their leader, I’ve got it together! they need to see that walking with you can be done! if I’ve got issues, they won’t respect me as a leader! [which is all TOTAL bull, by the way.] so I cleared my throat and spoke up. read my first blog post (funk) to see what was going on at the time. that post was basically birthed out of what I confessed to them.

the point here is not that I was going through a spiritual funk of my own making. it matters, because it prompted me to be spiritually naked with my small group. it was without a doubt the best step I have ever taken as a leader- letting the girls see my heart and my struggles. there was a collective breath around the room, and then another one of the girls spoke up. and then another. two of the girls spoke up and confessed to us as a group of sisters that they were struggling with some HARD things. things that kept them awake and night, things that were eating away at them with regret and sorrow. things that will affect them for the rest of their lives. things that satan is using to make them feel less than who they are- forgiven children of god almighty. the point here is that god worked in me to overcome my fear and moved me to make that move toward spiritual nakedness. jon calls it ‘the gift of going second’. because I had taken that plunge, those girls were given the boldness to ‘get naked’ with us and confess their sin issues to us. and the level of love nad trust that has come out of that is incredible! there is some accountability now, and the freedom that comes with knowing that people love you regardless of your baggage. we don’t have to ‘dress up’ for each other any more. the level of openness went through the roof.

for myself, I know that I am more apt to trust a leader if I know that they aren’t perfect. I need to know that whoever I’m following is also still being sanctified. i need to know that although they’re a few steps ahead of me, that they still have not arrived yet either. in preparing to head to florida with this church plant team, I’ve come to trust chip and the rest of the team so much more when we’ve been honest with each other. chip has some family things that really stress him out, and he struggles with keeping up with school as much as I do. the glory of it all is that we are all on this journey together! while there are levels of leadership within life and teams, we’re all still human, and we’re all still in the sanctification process. and when we are naked about that process playing itself out in us, we pave the way for others to experience that freedom as well.

share the love. get naked.

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i think i peed a little (originally posted 2/28/09)

ever get so excited or laugh so hard that you pee just a little in your pants?
yeah, me neither. (just kidding!)

things i’m getting stoked about:
my small group! we started a new topic about four weeks ago, talking about women in scripture. i taught genesis 1-2 one week, and genesis 3 the next week. my co-leader taught about sarah last week, and monday i am teaching about rebekah. the first couple chapters of genesis are amazing! reading about the creation of woman lights a fire in me- something was not good without us! so we were made from man (the only created thing to not come directly from dirt), from his rib, and THEN god said that it was good. think about the significance of the rib- what function does the rib play in the skeleton? it protects the heart and other vital organs, adds structure, etc. women are awesome! we’re also a pain in the butt . . . more about that later.

discover church- we’re officially a corporation now!! we got the articles of incorporation back, approved . . . so we are a legit business in the state of florida now! and we just got word last week that we have the backing and financial support of trbc. there’s also some other individuals who are now tithing to discover church! the relationships that are being built among the team are such a blessing. we’re studying the early church and its development. reading acts is like reading an action thriller- high speed chases, healings, stonings, strange dreams, speaking foreign languages, and unexplainable phenomenons. holy crap. and to top it off, we’re leaving for palm beach county this coming friday for a week. its spring break!! beaching it up, getting a tan, hanging out with friends, checking out possible sites for the church to meet, and seeing the place we’re going to carry out god’s dream for the people of this county. i’m getting psyched up just thinking about it!

LOST. let’s be honest, its the best show ever. i’m not keeping up with 24 this season, i’m going to watch it when it comes out on dvd. but i watch lost online with my roommate gracie- and we always end up in a love/hate state of affairs with the way an episode ends. genius, i’m telling you!!

friends.
maria. julie. nick. mandy. bliss. chip. brittni. stephanie. benj. seth. ryan. lesley. brittany. gracie. chad. lyndsey. josh. martha. and so many more. good conversations, encouragements, learning together what the lord has for us as individuals.

the past.
some things just suck. there are things i’ve gone through that i would rather not talk about, much less repeat- thank you very much. but even though some things just suck, i have come to realize that i wouldn’t be who or where i am today without those things having happened. i wouldn’t have gone back to school … i wouldn’t have started seminary … i wouldn’t have met those people … i wouldn’t have known about this church … i wouldn’t be going to florida … and the list goes on. i’m so incredibly thankful that god knows what he’s up to, and that he has a role for me, and that he makes it happen. if i had my way, none of this would have happened- i’d probably still be crying about that guy and working a job that made me want to poke out my eyes and cut off my ears. yep, he’s alot smarter than me . . . and he loves me too much to let me just wallow in my human-ness and be stuck living out the plans i’d made for myself. hallelujah!

this time next week, i’ll be in jupiter, florida. (insert excited squeal here)
me, jesus, the beach, coffee, and friends. all putting feet to a vision and a dream. it doesn’t get better

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