I've been in a small group for almost five years now, since October 2008. We started off with five women and currently have five women, but only three are the same. We've added and lost others throughout the years, but for five years this group has been my stability. They've also been my best friends. April and Emily (the only two, along with me, who have been there the duration of the last five years) were even in my wedding.
But life changes. I got married, Emily is moving to Vegas, Jen and April are now roommates that live 30+ minutes from Sara (our newest member) and me. So, there's some natural separation that is occurring in our group. But if I'm being honest, there's been separation occurring with me for a while.
I've started to feel distant from them. And I know that's natural. I have a husband now, and he's my priority. Before I met Donny (and even when we were dating and living in different states), I hung out with my friends all the time. Small groups on Tuesday, NBC comedy nights on Thursday, and usually something on the weekends or lunches during the week. Now, he's here, and I spend most of my time with him and my family. I can't (nor do I want to) spend all my free time with my friends (who, btw, are all single). I do see them once a week at our small group, but they hang out a lot now without me. So now when I do see them, they all have inside jokes and stories that I don't know about. And it's not their fault-- it's no one's fault, really. It's just a reality of our changing lives.
I also feel the desire to find some friends who have husbands (or at least boyfriends) so that we can have couple-friends. None of the women in my small group are married or even dating anyone. So, when we all do hang out, Donny ends up being the lone testosterone contributor, and I know that's awkward. Not to mention, you deal with some different issues when you're single vs. when you're married. They all still talk about how they want to find a husband, and I feel like I can't talk about Donny without making them feel lonelier. So, I want to find some friends who are in the same stage of life as me now. Not that I want to abandon these girls because I have a husband now and they're losers with no man, but I want some people that I can talk to now who understand my situation too. And marriage is something you can't possibly understand until you're in it. And when we start to have kids, I know this gap is just going to be even bigger.
So I'm left at the point of deciding whether to stay in the small group that I don't really feel a part of anymore or to leave it. It makes me incredibly sad to think of leaving and not seeing these girls regularly anymore. But I also have come to dread our Tuesday night meetings, and that's not really the attitude that I should have going to Bible study. With one exception a few weeks ago, I haven't felt renewed or uplifted after leaving a meeting with them for months.
I just don't know what God wants me to do-- renew my efforts with these girls or find a new group. Because the one thing I do know is that I should have women around who challenge me, pray for me, and encourage me to be in God's Word. I know I need that in my life. I just don't know if THIS is the group anymore, and I'm praying that his desires will become evident.
Growing up is hard, y'all. And doing it at different paces as your friends is tough.