Andy Stanley tells us at least monthly that he likes to do life in circles. When I first attended Athens Church, I didn't understand why this was so important.
After being in a community group for two years and starting a new one three weeks ago. . . I know why! Life is done better and it's more genuine!
Two years ago I was literally dragging Ryan to Athens Church to sign up for small group. He didn't want me to go alone, so he ended up going along.
Now, looking back it had to be one of the best decisions we have made for our marriage.
Tonight, was our third time with our new group that was spawn from our original one. Three couples, including us, got paired with four other couples. Tonight, Ryan and I and another couple got to share our stories and where we came from. Here isbwhatbi shared:
I loved my life growing up. I have fabulous parents who helped me become who I am. I have a sister and brother to share life with. I had wonderful experiences that were used to grow my faith. I attended church regularly and had a relationship with God that I thought was the strongest ever. That was all until my world was rocked in 2002.
If you have read my blog for awhile you know what happened, however if you are a new one, I will fill you in.
On March 24th, 2002, my boyfriend, Wesley, left my house and never made it home to his. It is still the most painful experience I have ever had. It's the kind where your heart is ripped like lightning out of your chest and then shredded, stabbed, squeezed, and stomped on! Only to be put back in so you can try to stand up and continue to breathe. Standing up and breathing were not options. I was mad, mad at anything, anyone, and especially mad at God. I was a good person, had loved God and trusted Him for years and one of my very best friends was gone. This was my daily thinking.
I moved through the motions and have some memories of fun times finishing out high school, but I was walking through a daze. I had great friends, my family loved me, and made the decision to go away to NGCSU for college in the fall with my sweet Malorie! We had been through life together since we were 11 & 12.
While in college, I had a lot of fun, met new friends, and joined my Phi Mu sorority. I met Ryan, my now Dossinator, and kept my heart guarded from God and trying not to fall in too deep with Ryan.
I graduated, became a teacher, got engaged, married, and then my sis did something I will never thank her enough for. She brought me one Sunday to Athens Church. I brought Ryan within the next couple of weeks and he liked it! Church had never been this applicable to us, and I started back on my path towards having a relationship with God! It was so refreshing. I love that God is always there to love us and help us in this crazy life.
Joining our small group, doing life in circles, and connecting with others in the same season of life, is truly living.
So, tonight I shared my story for the second time ever in front of strangers. I held it together a bit more, because I knew God was right there beside me and working through me. Ryan patted my back, held my hand, gave me courage, and told his own story. I get nervous about what people think and then own it, because It's my story. It's how God molded me.
If you can, try to get connected in a small group that shares life together and truly connects. Honest people just living and trying to do their best while sharing with you is what our group is all about.
Tonight, I saw bonds begin to form, and people start getting comfortable. God is great. I am so happy we are a piece of this life story that is unfolding.
Life is better in circles!