Giant lego blocks were being thrown, dump trucks and race cars were being fought over, the 16 month old kept making a dash for the stairs, and there was a high level of crankiness in the air that worsened as bedtimes got nearer. 7 little boys (4 aged 3 and under!) ran around the 1st floor of my house like lunatics yesterday evening. There is a degree of expected chaos in such a situation, but last night it felt like someone intentionally amped it up a few notches just to see how we would handle it.
You see, the above describes our ladies small group/Bible study last night. Surprised? Despite being the instigator for such an event I was actually a bit surprised at the nuttiness of it all. In fact, had I been given a birds-eye future view of what it would actually look like, I may have just quietly let our Bible study plans dissolve for the week and not suggest this outside the box alternative.
Sitting on the living room floor (in those rare moments that one of us wasn’t intervening with a child or three) we piecemealed together a meaningful conversation around James chapter 3 and the life-challenges we were facing. We used our phones to hastily reference scriptures and devotionals, and our sentences were choppily interrupted by the immediate needs of energetic children.
It was quite unglamorous as far as ladies events go. My house certainly wasn’t staged for visitors. There was a lack of cucumber sandwiches and pink lemonade—instead we had leftover taco meat, rice, and beans with water to drink. I had been nursing a headache for two days in addition to 3rd trimester tiredness. One of the ladies had had an intense day at work and another was leaving the next day for a two week trip. It would have been so much easier not to meet. So much easier to give in to our (very valid) excuses and post-pone our plans to a more convenient date and time—whenever that may be. So much easier to just ignore the promptings on my heart that our group is important and not fight to make it work.
But some things are worth fighting for and we kicked butt last night. At the time I didn’t fully recognize it because I was SO exhausted after everyone left and I finally got kids to bed. But this morning I had fresh perspective. We actually had a successful small group meeting in the middle of that storm of kids. I’m sure it wouldn’t have looked successful to the casual observer, but we honored God and kicked the enemy’s butt. We were soldiers together in the trenches with sleeves rolled up—not officers sitting up in some high tower pretending our lives are perfect. By persevering despite the obstacles, we established a foundation of what is important to us. We demonstrated to God that we will be good stewards of the opportunities He gives us, even when it seems easier not to be. We showed the enemy that we are not to be trifled with for we will continue to be strong in community and lift each other up. We proved to ourselves that we believe our callings to be important enough to fight for.
When it was time to wrap up, we stepped out onto my deck in an attempt to pray in a more quiet setting. Even that was difficult as two of the boys “escaped” out with us. As they ran around, despite being warned not to, I prayed for us, remembering the mom who couldn’t come due to a sick kid. Not even the prayer was immune to interruption as I had to scold a child mid-way through. I truly wonder if the distractions were intended to test our determination. And if so, if the enemy is truly threatened by the potential our little group has, then to me that’s even more motivation to keep going.
Rarely are we given the big picture of the direction God is calling us in. Instead, we are given small steps of obedience that lead us to where we should be going. And again, it’s usually so much easier to ignore them or refuse to move forward because we want a bigger, better, or more obvious step. But by refusing to take those little steps we risk standing still and missing out on the adventure God has planned for us. In our case last night, we were called to come together and fellowship and we obeyed. I have great faith that God will honor our obedience just as we honored Him by obeying.
PS- God’s sense of humor was definitely revealed last night as we discussed the part of James called “taming the tongue”. We talked through it while literally in the middle of trying not to yell at our children. I’m glad that not all of our Bible studies have such “in the moment” practical applications!