Last night was one of those nights that can be wrapped up in one word: laughter. Richie and I got home from back to back events and I looked over at him and was like, I have a headache from laughing so hard. It was one of those little gifts life sometimes hands you in the best possible way.

What was unique is that last night, amidst all the laughter, there was a deeply bittersweet feeling in me. We began the night by meeting with our small group, which is potentially our last time getting to meet with them. We all just kept cracking up at each other’s honest stories about life being married. I looked around the room genuinely grateful that I have gotten to be a part of this group, a group I have trusted, have opened up with, and learned so much from. I cross my fingers that we can meet again in the spring, but realistically, life may get in the way.

From this group we booked it over to my staff Christmas party. And oh my gosh did we laugh. We all sat around a long table with glasses full of crisp white wine and plates piles high with pineapple coconut cake and sweet potato pie and we opened up with each about all we are grateful for and what we hope for our little church in the coming year.

My experience with my staff has also been bittersweet. Since I am new on staff, I have only been around for a month, I am still struggling to find my place. It can be a little lonely, and there are some people who have been less than welcoming. But there are also people who have welcomed me with arms wide open, and that is so sweet. Looking around that table felt different than when I looked around the room earlier that night in small group. It felt like hope. Hope that real community will develop with these people, that reconciliation can happen, that growth will occur, and new opportunities found.

God gives and God takes away. I may not get to meet with my Small Group anymore, but He is so faithful to provide me with new communities. Sometimes they look different, but they all have the potential to be deeply impactful. I am so curious to see, as this year comes to an end, what next year will hold in store. It is a year brimming with potential.


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