With her big blonde hair and an even bigger smile, she walked into our small group with excitement and charm. She must have felt right at home, for she quickly shared her story, including her health struggles, past regret, and current family hurts. Honestly, she was a hot mess, but aren’t we all? Our group of ladies instantly fell in love with the newcomer. Her eagerness was a breath of fresh air.
However, it only lasted for six short months.
As her health issues began to overtake her body, we prayed for her and her family. I am ever so grateful for the co-leader who asked her if she knew Jesus. Our friend testified she was saved as a young child, yet she wandered most of her life. She came to WCC because she needed a fresh start. She was seeking forgiveness and beginning to live out her faith.
Then the unexpected happened. One evening someone from our group prepared a homemade dinner to deliver to her door. Though the ‘date’ was pre-planned, no one answered the knock. The next day, we learned our friend was taken to the hospital and went home to be with Jesus.
When I heard the news, I cried for my sister. My haunting thought was, “Lord, why did you take her? She was close to repairing relationships and overcoming strongholds. She needed more time. I was also saddened, thinking I should have done more.
With our COVID masks and dressy outfits, ladies from our church attended her ceremony. It was tender. As her family pastor spoke, he told how he borrowed her Bible looking for her spiritual journey/notes. He shared five spiritual markings he had found. Oh, friends, one was a notecard with a verse given at our small group. She had hung onto it, knowing this was not her home.
But the icing on the cake was the conversation in the receiving line. As we met the family for the first time, every single member (but maybe one) knew their beloved was in our group. They told us how she enjoyed our studies. They shared how each week she would tell them what she was learning. They thanked us for loving her. Her caretaker said, “Your small group helped her be ready to meet Jesus.” We were amazed at how God had used us to impact her life.
Friends, if you think you are not doing enough, if you wish you had more time, know that God takes our small efforts and turns them into BIG impacts. You never know how God is using you and your community group. Perhaps, someone is telling her family she found a safe place. Maybe, someone is repeating your teachings. Perhaps, God is using you to help another be ready to meet Jesus. Maybe, your community group is the reflection of Jesus that changes someone’s life.
Friends, stay connected and do life together. You never know how God will use you!