I have a black thumb. Not from banging it on something or in a door. No, this is more of a metaphorical black thumb. Anything that is in a pot or needs planting, I tend to kill. I can keep them alive for about three good months, then whoosh something happens and everything dies.

Even the simplest of veggies to grow in an urban environment, I have killed.

This spring I was determined that I would grow something, giving it time and attention. So after several long months I have one big ol dead tomato plant and these beauties.

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Oh they are small, but when you urban garden you get smaller plants from a smaller pot. I had just picked these the night before I read this passage in Mark.

“The kingdom of God is like this,” He said. “A man scatters seed on the ground;  he sleeps and rises—night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows—he doesn’t know how.  The soil produces a crop by itself—first the blade, then the head, and then the ripe grain on the head. But as soon as the crop is ready, he sends for the sickle, because the harvest has come.” Mark 4:26-29 (HCSB)

As we enter in to a new season of school starting, fall coming in and many harvests coming to bear out their final fruits, I cannot help but look at the life of the church. It’s a season of growing, of planting seeds, of doing the work of the sewing even in this time. We are working night and day with the seeds, unsure of whether something will sprout…

But then months later someone understands a passage, someone hears a Word of Truth and it springs up for their life specifically. They are introduced to Christ in a way they would never have done had we not taken time to seed. To nurture and place time and effort into caring for the ground it was planted in.

Then again we may not see the sprouting, it may not be ours to pull fruit from the vine they produce. But others will see the seed in which is planted today, in the next week or the next month. But we plant anyways. We water regardless of what we will or won’t see. We do it all as a means of the kingdom work we have been called to do. We don’t kill the seed, or choose to hold it only within ourselves. That’s not what seeds were meant to do, and not what we are used for.

So in this new season of fresh perspectives, rest and investing in groups may we support and nourish the work of seed-planting. May we diligently work towards gardens planted across the community that ignite feasting on His Truth. I think that’s a garden I could be fruitfully planted and working in.

 

 

 

An Extrovert Goes to Small Group

I am an extrovert by nature. I like to talk and engage people. I really like hearing other people’s stories, their lives…I think about that when I am in a group often. How I can facilitate others shining or sharing. How can I care about them deeper and encourage them further?

You wouldn’t know it though as often I am making dumb jokes or a fool of myself. But that’s who I am, and how I choose to welcome others into my life in order to be in their lives.

Six months ago I stepped out to get involved in a small group community at the church I am now regular attending. For someone who is single (because that’s the perspective I am an expert at, ;)) it’s a scary thing to venture out into a new small group. Navigating new people and new group dynamics is often incredibly nerve-wracking, even for an extrovert like me.

Here I sit months later, the morning after our last get together before summer break, thinking how much these women are such integral pieces of my life, and my week. They have prayed during one of the hardest springs of my life. We have learned from one another, and I have grown so much thanks to their insight and sharing. I didn’t really realize until I was making the short drive home from our dinner last night that these women are some of the most amazing, talented and Christ-like women I have ever met…and I can call them friends now.

small-group-BI think back to going my first night, worrying how things would go, if I would be welcomed into an already established group, and seeking deeper engagement in the Word with women in similar circumstances of life. God has a way of providing if we are but faithful to step out. You’d think after leading a small group while I was in Knoxville that I would know that already, but He surprises over and over again, and I love that about Him.

This spring has shown me just exactly why doing life in the context of a small group (life group/community group/whatever you call it now) is so vital to our relationship with Him. He desires community for us to live in, to work in, to play in, and to grow in. The weeks I had to miss because of an appointment or illness, I knew I’d be missing these godly women sharing their hearts and what He’s speaking to them on…and I knew for me, I’d be missing this community He so graciously brought me.

As we broke for summer last night, it felt bittersweet as we have one woman getting married this summer (yay!!!) and another preparing for a two-year mission journey in Germany (yay!!!). Life will happen to all of us this summer, adventures await, new opportunities and deeper relationships. I am excited to see how He works in us this summer, and know that we are a group text away from getting together for movie nights or burritos.

This community. These women. Our God.

It’s amazing what He will do for extroverted introverts and introverted extroverts alike when we are faithful to engage in life outside of ourselves. Outside of what we know and what we do. How He will use us and others in such a dynamic way that when we turn around, we aren’t sure how we ever lived fully without this in our lives.

This extrovert today is thankful she went to the Christmas party five months ago and chose to be intentional about community. I encourage you to do the same.