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The Thing About Community. . .

Community

The other day my daughter came into the bathroom while I was taking a shower. Our exchange went something like this:

Me: Who’s there?
Sweet Girl: It’s me mommy
Me (slightly annoyed): Oh, well I’m in the shower, what do you need?
Sweet Girl: Nothing, I just wanted to chat.

Oh yes, she is SO her mother’s daughter. I do love a good “chat”, and so this morning when I got a text from my friend Therese asking if I’d be home so she could pop over for a little visit I said “yes, come on over” while surveying the tornado zone that was my living room. I could have worried about being judged, I could have been nervous about letting someone over when my house was a “mess” but instead I chose to connect, I chose community and I made the right choice because I really was blessed by our time together.

I’ve been thinking a lot about community lately. I’m preparing to give a talk at my MOPS group on the topic of depression and emotional resilience. As I reflect on some of the darkest times in my life, I realize that they have been the times where I have felt alone. Not necessarily that I haven’t felt God’s presence in my life but that I have been isolated from community and the company of others.

After I had my daughter 4 years ago, I was in a bit of a “dark” place. Some of my closest friends had moved out of the state a few years before and I had not been able to make new ones. Because I had just had a little one, I decided to take a break from volunteering at church. I wasn’t working and though I was in grad school I was at a different place in my life than some of my classmates so it was a challenge to connect with anyone.

When I had my youngest son almost three years ago, I became committed to making new friends. I was tired of feeling alone and so I started praying for friends.

I joined my local mother’s club but couldn’t bring myself to attend a single event. I guess I was thinking God might just send a friend to my door. . .maybe?

Well, the thing about making friends is that it involves risk and actually EFFORT.

I prayed but finally heard the Lord tell me very clearly YOU HAVE TO PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE! So. . .

  • I put my daughter in a ballet class at our park and rec and I took a risk by chatting with a mom in the playground after class. I took an even bigger risk by sharing that I was a Christian. Turns out she was too, she invited me to her MOPS group, I invited her to my church and now she’s one of my best friends and our daughters are too.
It all began at ballet for Miss Lina and I 
  • When I felt called to start blogging I really prayed for a friend that I could talk to about it. The Lord put in my heart the name of a woman who I kind of knew but I figured was super busy and had a bunch of friends already. I took a risk and sent her an email asking her to “be my friend”. . . she didn’t think me crazy for asking, she was actually starting a blog too and she’s been a great source of encouragement to me and a real blessing as a friend.”
  • I wanted to connect with women at my own church and I took a risk by hosting a small group study over the summer in my home. The study itself was casual and only a handful of women attended but it led to deeper friendships with two of the women, including my sweet friend Megan who is an amazing source of support and inspiration to me.
  • And I took a risk by starting a blog. Really, this whole “blog” thing has introduced me to a new world of friends. I have become a part of a new blogging community. And more specifically the Christian blogging community. These are friends I know personally and friends who live hundreds of miles away from me and who I only “know” online. Some of these friends though, I will get to meet next week at the Allume Conference and I am extremely excited to get to spend some time in real life with these amazing women.

I have taken other risks that have resulted in amazing blessings, i.e. inviting people over to a less than perfect home. I have made new friends and been able to connect with amazing women but it has taken me getting out of my comfort zone and making myself available to be known by others.

We are meant to be in community. The very first thing that God said was NOT good was for man to be alone. That goes for us girls too! We need each other, sometimes it hard but it’s so worth it.

I think it’s pretty appropriate that the theme of this year’s MOPS season is “Plunge: Love as if your life depended on it” . . . .because it really does.

How about you friends? Have you struggled with making friends as an adult or feeling like your part of a “community”? Have you had to take any “risks”?
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5 Comments

  1. Great thoughts my friend!!

    It has taken me a long time to find community and I finally feel as if I have a very vibrant and healthy one around me. I love all your examples and your willingness to share your struggles. Great job!!

  2. Great thoughts my friend!!

    It has taken me a long time to find community and I finally feel as if I have a very vibrant and healthy one around me. I love all your examples and your willingness to share your struggles. Great job!!

  3. What a blessing Ballet was for us all! So glad the Lord coordinated our friendship. I too appreciate your authentic and transparent Blog postings, it allows for growth for the writer as well as the reader.

  4. I love that God helped bring me your friendship! You are such an encouragement.

    When I am feeling down, it’s even hard for me to reach out. It’s easy to connect when I have the energy, but when I’m feeling depressed, I retreat (and sometimes don’t even realize I am doing it). And you’re so right – meeting new people and forming deeper friendships takes risk. Thanks for a great post.

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