Monday, January 16, 2006

When Multiplying feels like Dividing

Our Sunday evening small group has been talking about “multiplying” for several weeks. Last night it became a reality. What it actually feels like is “dividing”. Our group has grown to 20+ members and our leader feels that it no longer has the benefits of a “small” group. I’m sure that is true. But the pain of dividing so we can multiply is great.

We started attending this small group back in August. This came about because we finally left a congregation (after almost 8 years) where we were merely pew warmers. It is also a place where although I had “friends”, I had not really connected with anyone to the degree that I had experience in the place where we moved from that same almost 8 years ago.

It takes time for me to develop a friendship relationship where I feel comfortable in getting really close, and I always try to be the kind of friend that I want to have—which means trying to listen as much as I talk, and being caring toward my friend. I fail miserably at that sometimes.

I finally began to find that wonderful bond of friendship within our small group. And now those women are being moved on into a new small group, but we are being asked to stay behind. My heart is breaking. Everyone says “Oh, we’ll stay close”, but I know how that goes. We all get busy with other people and other things and “stuff” interferes. We live farther out from where our group is than anyone else. My husband complains all the time about putting more miles on the vehicles and spending the extra money for gas.

When the lines were drawn and names read last night, I know I wasn’t the only one who was upset. But I was the only one who started crying and couldn’t quit. Even now, the next morning, I can’t write this without crying. And I feel like an idiot. I feel selfish and childish. I am embarrassed by my display of emotion. I really didn’t want to cry—didn’t really think I would. But once I started, I couldn’t stop. I want to be able to make this step with grace. But I’m doing a LOUSY job of it. Everyone else, though they also feel the pain, expressed willingness to move on. I want DESPERATELY to do what is best for our group, and what God wants me to do. The purpose of our group is to grow to include new members, and we must “divide to multiply”. I know in my heart that this is right.

Since we moved back to this area (where my husband grew up), we have mostly had friends that he knew from before and were closer to his age than mine (we are 20 years apart). Although I enjoy being with these people, so much of what they talk about are things that happened a long time ago and with his previous wife (she died of cancer), that I often feel left out. I really have no point of reference to enter their conversations, so I usually just end up listening. It has been such a blessing to be able to be in a group where Emerson and I are on more equal footing in this respect. But still, we sit on Sunday mornings with people that are his age. Again, let me say that I like these people a lot and enjoy being with them. But I also want to be with people more my own age with whom I have more in common. Our small group was where I found this outlet.

There are still people left in our group that I love. Mentally, I know God will help me to get through this and to grow to love these people more as well. Emotionally, I am feeling abandoned. Abandonment is something that has been all too prevalent in my life, and so the possibility of experiencing it again is all too real. My dad and I were very close when I was small. I was a tom-boy and I think I was the “son” he very much wanted. Then, I turned into a girl. This was also when I found the church and became a Christian. Dad pretty much didn’t have anything to do with me after that. I married at 18. I stayed in that marriage for 10 years, until one day my husband started packing MY stuff. I took the hint. I married my second husband, a preacher, which lasted 7 years—until he sexually abused my daughter. Through professional counseling I made it through that and finally figured out how to make a good choice for a mate. I married Emerson. And I love him with all my heart. But the fear of abandonment still rears its ugly head.

And then to have left 2 good friends behind 8 years ago, and not be able to find that kind of relationship since, this is difficult. Oh, I see those old friends occasionally and we are able to just take right up where we left off, but it is often a long dry desert in between. I love deeply, I hurt deeply. That’s the way God made me.

I’m sorry for the long post. If any of you persevered to the end, bless you. Journaling this has helped me come to a conclusion. For now, we will stay where John, our leader, suggested we go (he said we could change—that it wasn’t set in stone). I want to do what is right and good. John obviously feels like we need to be in his group. Emerson said that he would be most comfortable staying in that group. It isn’t as far (watch those miles and gas prices!!). I did talk to him about letting me go to Wichita to do things with my friends without complaining about the miles and the gas. He said that will be ok. So, I’m willing to try this. Please pray that God grants me peace in this decision and that I can be a positive part of the group that we will be in.

May God grant all of you His richest blessings,
And may you find all kinds of peace in believing.


Anonymous said...

hi, joyce. thank you for visiting my blog and for your kind words. thank you for praying for us too. i'm so thankful for having this support group. you all are a blessing to me. i hope you don't mind me adding you to my links. i certainly would love to come and visit you again here.

God bless you.

Joyce said...

I am very pleased to have you come visit anytime!! I consider it an honor to be added to your links. I am continuing to lift you up to the Father in prayer!

God's blessings to you, dear friend!

jayme said...

I told Neal about the situation...but sort of like this:

Me: John things Mom's small group needs to split. Mom's not happy about it.

Neal: Ah...being a small group leader is a thankless job.

It made me laugh...I thought it might make you laugh too. :)

Corry said...

May God show you the door He wants you to go through.

You are in my prayers.

God's Grace.

cory said...

So I am just wondering, how did this all work out?

I spoke with my big brother about this at the time and he said it was all going to be okay.