by Lorraine Triggs
My oldest sister and I decided to play Hangman while we waited for our mom's flight to arrive. Out came the paper and we drew the rudimentary gallows (even as adults, we still included the hook in our games). Underneath, my sister drew seven blank lines.
Going for the vowels I chose A and E. She filled in the first blank with A and the last with E.
I kept guessing, sometimes right, mostly wrong. I had no idea what the word was, and my hangman was quickly filling in.
I finally gave up and my sister completed the word:
I stared at it and announced, "An-ti-que? There's no such word as an-ti-que" with a stress on the last of my three-syllable pronunciation.
"It's antique," she replied as only older sibs can.
Duh. I wasn't a little kid playing Hangman. I knew the word "antique"—I love antiques—but I couldn't see the word for the life of me, only the individual letters.
My perspective on life can be a lot like that game of Hangman. I am so focused on the individual parts of my life, whether the good or bad pieces, that I don't see God's good hand at work in it at all. I don't see the word for all the letters.
About two years ago, my husband, Wil, and I were asked if we wanted to be small group leaders. Naturally, I said . . . "No! I don't want to."
I had some pretty solid reasons: I already had my Women's Bible Study small group, I really couldn't afford another night out, especially working full time, and what about that book Crazy Busy that Pastor Josh Stringer kept talking about?
Then the real reason surfaced. Years ago, when I first came to church, I was all excited to join a small group. The husband and wife invited my flatmate and me to dinner, but they didn't want me in their group. They only had room for my friend. Small groups represented one thing to me—rejection.
Did I want to be in a small group? Absolutely not. Would I anyway?
Well, when I confessed this hurt to Wil, my wise and kind husband understood my reluctance and had some interesting things to say about the people who didn't have room to put me in their small group. We used to call these "life groups," which might feel a little bit like a "life sentence" in jail, if you end up in a bad group. Wil assured me that the new life group concept was different. "Let's try it for a couple of years," he said. So I said yes.
Well, we're starting our third year as small group leaders, and had I stayed focused on my good reasons for saying no, I would have missed out on God's good hand in placing Chris, Tom, Steve, Lois, Mary, Kathy, Mark, Julia, Jim, Terri, Rick and Laura in my life. I would have missed out on the joys and sorrows that we've shared. I wouldn't have seen God's good hand writing in day-to-day living ...
It's a humbling and glorious reality to know that my bits and pieces are not the most important things in the universe and that God has invited me to come and see with him, and them, and you.