The porch steps are concrete, and recently swept. It’s a beautiful house. I hope they’re kind to me. I struggle with opening up to people. Is everyone here going to judge me? They’re all probably so close to God, I doubt they’ll understand. “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. The tin and hollow sound of glitchy 1960’s audio echoes in my ears as I roll my eyes at myself. I take a breath, and I take the step.

My once vibrant relationship with God had grown cold and distant.
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I used to be close to God. I’d pray before bed and before every meal. I’d talk to my friends about what Jesus was doing in my life, and I’d celebrate what He was doing in theirs. I was vibrant in worship, I could feel His plans for me, I felt His love surrounding me everyday, but somehow I walked away. It happened so slowly that I didn’t even realize it was happening. I was just numb, and I didn’t know how to get back to where I was before.

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I prayed for hunger, my relationship with God intensified, and my marriage began to flourish.
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And now I’m here, sitting in a circle with a room full of new faces, unsure of how this will go. I look down at my coffee cup, almost empty from all my nervous sips. Around me are some seriously fantastic women. It’s week one of this Community Group and we’ve already laughed, cried, and opened up, some of us as perfect strangers. Now it’s my turn. One small step. I raise my head and spill it all. My crumbling marriage, my nonexistent relationship with God, all my fears and worries that I’ll never feel loved by God or my husband again. As I speak my eyes filled with tears, but so do theirs. I feel safe; I know in this moment that these women are going to be here for me, that they truly want to help me, and that they will do anything they can to get me back to God. They gather around me, praying words of hope, love, and encouragement over me. They assure me that God still loves me and that my hunger for Him is a sign that I can find my way back to Him.

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All of this because I joined a Community Group!

That day sparked hope in me, and lit a fire in my heart to pursue God again. In the weeks that followed, my Community Group continued to pray for me, and never failed to celebrate my deepening relationship with Jesus. I began to develop friendships with the women in my group, and small steps of progress, like praying and reading the bible, fueled my spiritual growth. I was back in His word and my marriage began to flourish as I prayed for revival. I was finally beginning to feel the love of Jesus again.

At the beginning of that year, I was hopeless and numb. No part of me believed that I would find my way back to God. But through the smallest of steps—the whisper of a prayer, the turn of a dusty page, the knock on a door—I made it. I walked up those concrete steps and lept into the hope of a better life.

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