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people we love :: our small group

May 17, 2010

Last night was a very special night in the life of our small group.  We spent the evening reflecting on God’s faithfulness towards us these past five years and took a stroll down memory lane laughing and sharing stories and our first impressions of each other.  Joe and I have been incredibly blessed by the couples pictured below.  They have been such a stable support and encouragement to us- our family away from family- if you will.

Roger and Haley Scharf

Before Joe and I got married, these friends had already invited us to be a part of their small group (and even though the group was comprised solely of Wheaton graduates, they were warm and gracious to two southern Aggies!).  After we had made the twenty-two hour trek from Texas to Minnesota, we arrived at our basement close to midnight and were greeted with a beautiful sign welcoming us to Minnesota from our new small group.  Our basement apartment had been unpacked, our pantry had been stocked, and there were flowers on our kitchen table.  Having just left all of our friends and family, this meant more to us than they could ever imagine.  They were meeting our needs before we had ever met them.

Noel and Mandy Jabbour

Fast-forward half a decade and all I can say is that we have been through a lot together.  Three couples who were once a part of our small group followed the Lord’s lead in other directions: the Hoglunds are now serving as missionaries in Ukraine, the Philgreens have moved to Kansas City to serve with Youthfront, and the Kirks (our former leaders) moved to Boston for further education.

Drew and Colleen Kniffin

As time passed, two more couples were added, the Jabbours and the Musselmans, and seven children were happily welcomed in to the fold.  Seven!  And if you count the three couples who have left, that brings our total number of children to thirteen, with one in the womb!  Zero to thirteen children is a lot in five years and we wouldn’t have it any other way!  Our friend, Lin, also joined our small group two years ago and moved a year later to begin medical residency.

Brian and Kristin Tabb

Joe and I have been surrounded by some of the most godly, talented, intelligent and gifted people we have ever known.  Combine the giftings of our small group and it looks a little something like this: three doctors, one lawyer, one pilot, two PhD candidates, ten Masters degrees, one social worker, one child psychologist, one extremely talented handy-man, a number of gifted musicians, insightful thinkers, and me!

Ryan Griffith

We gathered last night to pray for one another with the specific goal of commissioning our dear friends, Roger and Haley Scharf, as they follow the Lord’s call to serve a new church plant that will be starting in their neighborhood.  The Scharfs have faithfully led our small group the past couple of years and we’ve been immensely blessed by the pastoral heart that Roger has had in caring for our souls, and for the top-notch organized administrative skills of his wife, Haley.  They are a perfect pair!  They also leave hard shoes to fill, so I am glad that their responsibilities now fall to the Tabbs and not us!

Scott and Rachel Musselman

We are grateful to the Lord for the past five years with these dear friends- five of the most foundational and formative years in our marriage and family.  In thanking the Lord for these brothers and sisters, we can’t help but also thank him for…

five years of reading and studying God’s word together

five years of laughter, tears, prayer requests, potlucks, and carpooling

five years of ministry struggles, camping trips, retreats, and offering advice

five years of singing to the Lord, playing games, water skiing, political debates and banter

five years of hospital visits, infertility, and baby showers

five years of marriage struggles, apple-picking, painting each other’s homes, and summer picnics

five years of healed marriages, helping each other move, and cleaning each other’s homes

five years of miscarriages, family struggles, and parenting books

five years of white elephant gifts, Christmas parties, and soup exchanges

five years of graduations, mission trips, sewing, phone calls, e-mails, and LOST

five years of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter

five years of birthdays, anniversaries, baby dedications, and job changes

five years of early morning coffee meetings, sleep-overs, prayer walks, and work schedules

five years of babysitting, google calendar, blogging, taking pictures, and children’s playdates

five years of accountability, prayer requests, football games, inside jokes, and commentaries

five years of bike rides, watching documentaries, sledding, playing pictionary, and lots of desserts

five years of figuring out how to “do small group” and not always getting it right

five years of hopes and high expectations, some met and some not

five years of sharing insecurities, sin, hurt feelings, and fears

five years of forgiveness, grace, patience, and love

five years of sweet friendship and answered prayers

five years of worshiping Jesus together as his body

five years of our hearts being knit together,


Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!  -Psalm 118:1

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kristin Tabb permalink
    May 20, 2010 12:42 pm

    This is such a sweet post, Jen! Don’t ever doubt that we needed you in our group. You bring so much joy to our group! Love you!

  2. Amanda Philgreen permalink
    May 22, 2010 3:55 pm


    I love this post! I praise the Lord for the short time we got to be part of this group. I don’t think I will ever fully realize how much I learned from all of you during that year. It was a rough one, and you were all there for us each week speaking truth to me even when I didn’t want to listen. You taught me that I could be loved with all my imperfections. I cherish all the fun we had together. You recapped everything well in all you are thankful for. I am thankful too.

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