Tonight, my small group ends. After three and a half years together, more tears and laughs than we could ever count, and dinner together every Tuesday night, it’s over.
I just can’t even believe it.
Aren’t they the most beautiful humans you’ve ever seen? (A few are missing from this picture, but trust me- they are gorgeous too.)
In 2011, I moved home from Scotland and immediately these lovelies entered my life. College freshman babies, they barely knew how to live outside of their parents’ house and now they are young women, finishing school, and forging into their next season of life.
Again, I can’t believe it.
The last semester has been the sweetest. Honesty. Joy. Depth. Tears. The kind of stuff that only comes from trust and commitment to each other. And now, I can’t quit thinking about them, and about where they will go and what they will do. I have so many hopes for them each.
I hope they love better when they leave my house because of how they loved so well when they were here. Y’all just wouldn’t believe how they have rallied for each other and pressed in for each other and argued and fought and SURVIVED it. Yes, we’ve had things fall apart, but they always put each other back together.
I hope (and I know) that when things get hard, they turn to the Word of God. I hope they remember the times the Lord showed up when we read the Word, and I hope their love for the Bible grows every day.
I hope they face life with courage and strength, even when there is no guarantee of what is around the next corner.
I hope they pray their guts out every chance they get. I hope they each love Jesus every day of their lives. I hope they believe God, even when it looks crazy.
I hope they eat healthy and exercise and treat their bodies well so they can do anything they want- climb any mountain, run any race, and go to any country they feel called.
I hope they remember my imperfections, my screw-ups, and the time that the baked potatoes in the crockpot were terrible. I hope they remember that leading well means being honest and vulnerable and broken, even when that feels terrifying.
I hope they still call me when things go very right and very wrong and very funny. I hope our Facebook group lives on into eternity. I hope they all cancel whatever plans would get in the way of attending my wedding someday.
I hope, in a few years, when they have their feet under them as adults, they will turn around and mentor younger women and men. I hope they pass on what they lived and learned and I hope they cook meals for college students when they have jobs that make them money.
I hope Tuesday nights always remind them of my red couch and paper plates and the sound of my trashcans being rolled down the driveway, the weekly symbol that SMALL GROUP IS OVER YOU YAHOOS GO HOME.
And I hope they love each other forever. Because I will love them forever.
. . . . .