Growing up, my family was part of a family life group at our church and the times we shared together were deeply ingrained on my subconscious. I don’t remember how old I was when the group started to drift apart for a variety of reasons, but then again, I am getting older and memories are harder to call upon.
However, I do remember the love, laughter, and feeling of safety of those nights singing and studying the Bible. I’ve measured every church group since then against the feeling that settled deep in my heart during those gatherings.
I recently had the chance to get together with many of the original family life group members and I realized just how special and rare the connection we have is. My friend Pam hosted a potluck at her home. Many of the families I hadn’t seen in probably twenty years so I was anxious about being able to carry on a conversation.
There were tables scattered around the house and after I filled my plate, my natural instinct was to find a seat close to one of the people I knew well. I resisted the temptation and chose a table with people I didn’t recognize at all. Fortunately, there was another woman there who wasn’t part of the group, she’d come as a guest and probably felt as nervous as I did. We started to make small talk, I mentioned writing, and we instantly found a common interest in books. Conversation started to flow and I was able to relax.
After dinner, there were more desserts than we could possible eat. I contributed two myself, Lemon-Lime Pound Cake and Lemon Madeleines, both made with lemons from my very fruitful tree. With the tables cleared, we pulled the chairs into a huge circle and Dwayne pulled out his guitar. I was thrilled more than I probably would have admitted at the time. The memory of the songs we’d sung when I was a child carried me through many dark nights.
We sang, shared stories of loved ones now passed, and I sat there thinking about how incredibly blessed I was. Just as I was waiting for an opportunity to share my thoughts, my friend DiVoran asked me to tell a story I had shared with her when we’d discussed the family life group some time ago. I couldn’t help but laugh at God’s prodding and I told them all what an impact they had made on my life and how as a teen and an adult, when life got harder, I had clung to the memories of love and security I’d felt as a child among them.
I’m grateful we had this chance to gather again and I hope we have more chances in the future. Even if we don’t meet again in this life, I can rest in the comfort that one day we will all meet again in heaven and will be singing the praise of our Lord forevermore.
I don’t know if you have a group like this where you can be open and lay your soul bare, knowing you will be surrounding by love and comfort. If not, I pray that God will bring people into your life that can provide this for you.