Nine graduate credit hours, working full-time, and on call 24/7 is a lot. My life was work, study, and sleep. There was no time for normal necessities like cooking. A haircut? That would have to wait along with other time-eaters, until school was over in June. When it came time for my dad’s 90th birthday celebration, the awareness dawned I needed help! Not only would I have a few overnight house-guests and more during the days, but spring yard clean-up was needed. My flowerbeds had collected leaves, akin to a large snow drift in one bed. Undoubtedly there were plants trying to come up under the mounds of leaves, besides it looked atrocious!
My sister had kindly asked months before if I could handle them all coming while I was in school. I had overestimated my abilities and underestimated my homework. I was so stressed and busy my facial muscles were starting to twitch off and on.
More than once I went on Facebook to my house church group and started nervously typing a request for help. Then I erased the words. In the past, I have posted things on my own newsfeed about help I needed and gotten no response sometimes. Why? I belonged to a large church, but it felt impersonal. Finally, after debating my options for a few days, I did it — I clicked “post” and asked for help within our group! Could anyone rake and bag my leaves?
In the house church community I am a part of, or “gathering” as we refer to it, we meet to study the Bible and learn what God is like. We worship, pray, and we also get to know and support one another. We work at becoming a family of believers. This means we make opportunities for eating, celebrating, and socializing together. It also means we have a safe place to come “home” to, knowing they are there for us when we fail, succeed, question, and learn. Another way we strive to be a family is by helping each other. If someone needs an item or skill, often someone else in the group has it.
My house church family came through with much more than I requested! The guys planned a “guys night” and descended on my yard–I have to chuckle at what the neighbors may have thought. Not only did they take care of my leaves, they planted some flowers, put mulch on one of the beds, and mowed. I had been so busy I did not even realize it was time to mow! When they left, I stopped studying to take a look. It was beautiful!
This was also an act which bound my heart more fully to this community because it showed they actually care about me. Not only do actions speak louder than words, but as in any relationship everyone has a different love languages and different needs. Their actions spoke to my needs and met me where I was more than anything else could have. Because I feel bonded with my house church family in a stronger way now, I am finding a desire to be involved. And I feel loved… Isn’t this was church is supposed to be? Isn’t this what Jesus did when He was here?