When sharing with others, I enjoy starting at the beginning. I like the clarity and timeline it provides while also allowing you insight into my thoughts. However, with my faith, it's challenging to find the beginning. Many things and many people laid the bricks of my faith. I've spent a long while questioning where I wanted to begin. Would the beginning be how I was brought up, or when I first felt the Lord's hand, maybe at church camp where I felt surrounded by God?
Where to begin?
I believe my faith beginning starts with a small group I became a part of called "The Porch" in 2019. The Porch is a Tuesday night sermon based at a church in Dallas, Texas, but they stream it online for others to watch too! Cameron and I had just started dating, and he invited me to watch The Porch at this sweet married couple's house, Josh & Katy. The others that attended were Clayton & Lauren, who had started dating a while before Porch, and Caleb & Kristen, who at that time had not started dating. Most of us were new to each other during that time, just trying to get a basis of "who are these people, and do they believe the same things as me?"
Our time together
Over the next few years, we did our best to meet weekly. For some time, even twice weekly. We would get together as a large group, discuss our thoughts on the sermon and express what was on our hearts and relationships. We also met on Wednesdays for the girls/boys group, where we talked more about our individual struggles. It took me a while to feel my place in the group, but when I did, my life truly changed for the better. This group pushed me to improve who I am and my relationship with Christ. They held me to high standards yet were forgiving and understanding if I hadn't met them. One of the best things about the size of our group is that the members dealt with many similar things. If someone didn't relate, their spouse did, which was so insightful and led to some great conversations and understanding.
Josh & Katy provided such a model. They showed us the steps of a strong relationship between God and each other. Truly Josh & Katy guided us all, and I'm so thankful for just being able to have that time to get to know them and watch their example.
The Porch in 2022
Our lives have all changed drastically since the few years we spent together. Josh & Katy had announced their pregnancy and had a BEAUTIFUL little girl named Brooklyn. They later moved back home to be closer to family, and we finished our small group book via facetime! The rest of us all got engaged and married. As well as went our (not so) separate ways. Clay and Lauren moved across town, while Caleb & Kristen moved a few hours away! Luckily we still get to see them due to Caleb and Cameron being twins and Kristen being my sister-in-law!
This group has provided me with so much that I don't think they will ever fully know. Honestly, I cannot imagine my life without their impact. With them, I grew significantly in my knowledge of faith, self-discipline, and love for the word. As well as who I am as a friend, sister, and wife. They were the beginning that led to what my faith is today.