Friday, August 31, 2007

Small Group.

Well yesterday we had our first official meeting with our new small group from church. We had been in a small group previously for a couple of years that was based out of Buckhead and Dunwoody, but our old group sort of parted ways after a couple of us became suburbanites, others started poppin' out babies, and really it was just "time." The church encourages us to break off into new groups after 18 months or so. Our first small group was such a blessing. Just being around other couples that share your faith and developing relationships with them has been a huge help in our own marriage. You get to really be real with these people and you realize there are other couples out there with the same daily struggles that you have in your own marriage. And on top of all that, I met two of my dearest girlfriends through our last group! Our church encourages small groups because we're just so large that we don't really have the ability to have "Sunday School." They have great programs for kids of course, but there's no real adult Sunday School-like classes actually at the church. So instead they host these events called "GroupLink" where you can meet up with other singles or couples in your area, age group, and stage of life to try and form a community group.

Well, we went to one of these grouplinks earlier this year... April maybe? They usually have them quarterly. We met some people and sort of got into a group, but after leaving I was telling the hub that it just didn't feel right. They try to get you into a group with other couples who are generally in your same stage of life. Well in the group we found, we were basically the youngest and the only ones without kids. So I had a mini-meltdown that week over being up in suburbia... remember that one, bestest?! I just knew that was the reason for our not fitting in with this group. Oh and I probably should explain that our church has three campuses in Atlanta... the main one is in Alpharetta, and there are two others in Buckhead and Cumming. We've always gone to the Buckhead one and still do even though we're up in the burbs now. OK so anyway... as with any big city I'm sure, the burbs are where you go when you "settle down" and start a family. So I guess we got out here before we're supposed to because we can't find anyone like us here! Sure, there's people our age, but they have kids. And though I, of course - as you know - am eagerly awaiting the day we have kids, we all know that the lives of couples with kids and those without are completely different. I mean we have tons of friends with kids that we hang out with, of course. But it's just a different lifestyle... we're into different things. They're giving "tubbies" at 7:30 on a Thursday night while I'm out eating fish tacos and margaritas with my girlfriends. You know what I'm sayin'. Yes, so I had a little breakdown that week regretting our move to the burbs. And of course I really don't regret it. We really love where we are. We wanted the space and the yard and we didn't happen to have a cool mil to get that same space in Dunwoody. So we basically ended up pulling out of that group before it ever even started. I just wasn't feeling it. As Cher Horowitz would say, we just didn't "mesh well."

OK so back to now... after getting back from our fabulous week in Maine, we attended the grouplink held that weekend and I was just so elated because we actually found several great couples there and formed a new group. These people really seemed to be where we are and they "looked" like us - if that makes any sense - and I just knew this was going to be good. I emailed my girlfriends from my old small group the next day to tell them how super excited I was to finally be back in a group. They had already formed their new group earlier this year (they haven't been sucked into suburbia just yet, so they're still carrying the Buckhead torch). So I was really pumped about our first meeting. Other than ages and their kids' ages, I really didn't know much about these new couples. There are five couples... three have no kids, one has a set of 5-year old twins, and the last one has 3 kids. There's actually a 6th couple joining us next week and they have a 5-month old. So yeah, some have kids, but we're all in the same age range.

Last night we met at the group leaders' home, munched on some snacks while exchanging small talk, and then we began by sharing our stories. First our group leader asked everyone what their expectations were for the group - what we thought we'd get out of it, etc. Most people said the same thing... relationships, community, etc, etc. I went last and mentioned the bit about being able to be "real" with people in the group. That's really what's cool to me about the whole thing. And then we went on with our "stories"... everyone just takes a turn telling the cliff's notes version of how they got to where they are today, etc. Some people grew up in the church but didn't really "get it" until later in life... others didn't grow up in Christian homes at all... it's just really cool to learn everyone's background. With our large group, only half of us were going to give our stories last night and the rest will go next week. So we're hearing amazing story after amazing story and then lastly, our group leader goes. She talked about how she grew up in a very devout Catholic home. On family vacations, instead of reserving hotels, they would drive around once they reached their destination to find the local Catholic church and then book a room at the hotel closest to the church. "But mom, we're on vacation!" her girls would say. "But God doesn't take a vacation from us!" she'd fire back. TOO funny.

She continued on and as she's wrapping up her story she said she thought she should share her current struggle. She said she really wasn't sure she was going to say anything tonight but when she heard me say the bit about being real with one another, she knew she needed to. So then she goes on to explain the struggle she and her husband are having with infertility. Turns out she has endometriosis (like me) and had laproscopic surgery a few months ago (like me!) and has uterine abnormalities (LIKE ME!) and is just having a hard time dealing with it all emotionally (LIKE ME!!). OMG... this was just one of those "Aha!" moments in life where God is like, "you see Buford Betty, I know what I'm doin'." WOW. It was all I could do last night to hold back the tears and omg I'm crying now as I type this (thank God I didn't do this at work). She kept going on about how it was just so hard and she's found comfort through reaching out to others in the same situation online - people who shared her same problems - and here I am going through the EXACT same thing, unknowingly, sitting only 5 feet from this girl. Just when I think I've got it all under control, I'm reminded I'm not the one in control at all. I had to bite my tongue from yelling out "ME TOO!!!" at her every word. But finally when she finished I shared a little about our struggle too, so she knew she wasn't alone. We haven't talked yet just the two of us, but I'm dying to get with her and hear more about her story. The way that God puts people in your life - in the most unexpected places - just humbles me. I feel like I'm at a really good place with this whole infertility struggle. I see a lot of women dealing with it that just seem so bitter and angry - which I totally get. I do. But somehow I was just able to let go of that months and months ago. And I think my new friend is really having a hard time with that. So it's obvious to me that God needed to put me in her life just as much, if not more, than I needed her in mine. All I can say is wow... and thanks.

Needless to say, I think we've found our place now in a new group. I can't wait to learn more. :-)


Sew Biz said...

We are in a church setting (a sister church from your church) that is just getting started here in our area. My husband and I went to a "small group" one night and we just did not like it! Like you said, we did not "mesh" with the others there. As soon as the church gets more established I hope we can find a group of couples to have a small group with. How awesome that God put you in this other small group and you have something in common with another girl there - I will be praying for you! God's timing is not what we always want or understand, but He knows what is best for us! Have a great weekend.

Buford Betty said...

So true, sew biz! The hub and I always say, if you wanna make God laugh then tell him your plans. ;-)

Pam said...

Wow! Isnt that amazing how God works! I totally teared up and got shivers reading about your fellow group member going through the exact same thing as you! That was totally part of his plan. Just as it was his plan for you and me and Jill to find each other in our "old group". ((((HUGS)))). What can I say, I love you to pieces! And, I am so happy that you "mesh" with your group (I so love it that I get all your refrences on your blog). Yay Buckhead church! and Yay! God!

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

Ok, you could have warned me on this one BB. I am crying. Which I know happens at the drop of the hat in life but still... That is so awesome! I think knowing someone, not just reading about strangers, going through your same situation will be so wonderful for both of you. Truly, what a blessing!

That Catholic Church ratio to a hotel story is hilarious!

tulipmom said...

Things really do happen for a reason. I'm so glad you found this other woman.

Belle-ah said...

Wow...what a cool experience! Those small groups are just a life line, aren't they? I hope this one gives you new family in which to grow!

Lori said...

Oh, how wonderful! That is amazing, and I'm very happy that God put you two together! We all need those people in our lives that we can "relate" to and encourage through the hard times. I'm glad you found a new "home".

Chris & Deb said...

Hi Buford Betty,
Thanks for your comments on Sophie's blog. You said what a lucky girl she was....I have to tell you we are the lucky ones!!! I read your first post....I too had infertiliy issues and was never able to concieve a child....God had it planned all along that a little girl in China was waiting for us! Truly the best thing ever!!!!! Thanks again for sharing!

MMM said...

I'm catchin up...but just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this story! God can reach us in the most unexpected ways!