Community: More Than Church Attendance and Backyard BBQ’s

I was texting with one of my dear friends, Nicole today. We text from time to time (ok a lot) and encourage one another, lift each other up, and pray for one another. I have prayed long and HARD for friends like this. I have known Nicole for a long time, well over a decade, but we’ve reconnected this past year as she’s become one of my writers for my magazine and for the blog as well. Her heart is huge for women and she speaks so much truth to my soul more than she will ever know. She has been an uplifter, a dreamer with me, and has built upon my own excitement. When I start to feel doubtful, the Lord has used Nicole to step in and say, “But I see THIS! Look where we are going and how excited you should be!”

She’s a breath of fresh air.

Truthfully, the moment I started praying for true, deep, like minded friendships, the Lord started weeding out and bringing these Godly women to me. He brought more women to me than I ever dreamed. So many so, that I now constantly feel surrounded by women who are encouraging me, believing in me, keeping me on track spiritually and telling me the truth when I need it, and praying for me.

REALLY praying for me.

Community in my life looks much different today than I ever thought it would. We all have expectations of what we want and need friendships and family to look like, and when it doesn’t match up in real life, it can be devastating. I went through a lot of family stuff these past three years and watched my world crumble a little bit. I was holding onto idols that I didn’t know I had built and I was wishing for support from others that I just didn’t have. Friendships that were there that I thought were built on a solid foundation, which truthfully weren’t. I needed people in my life that were more than just who I saw on Sundays. I needed friends to bring me dinner, sit and cry with me, and to text me all.day.long. prayers if I needed it. And I just didn’t have that. I sat on my bed many nights with my knees tucked up to my chin allowing salty tears to run down my cheeks begging the Lord to bring me women who see me. Women who don’t gossip about me, and women who are more real in my life than any playdate at the play place could possibly supply.

It took a long time of waiting. I spent a lot of mornings by myself at Target with just me and Miss Bravery wandering the aisles and shopping at Costco, sad, lonely and praying for friendships built on truth and on love who could see me and pour into me. And who I could pour into as well. One by one, the Lord answered my prayers and brought new women and old friends back into my life. He brought old women and young women, who I know feel completely surrounded by. Are we in the same social circles? No. Do we all have the same friends? Not exactly. Do we live in the same neighborhoods? No. Do we go to the same churches? Nope.

The Lord has transformed my mind and my heart at the thought of community this past year. He has used women from all over the state and US to be the body of church to me and to encourage me and spur me on towards Christ. Do I wish we all went to the same church and could have bbq’s every night? Well, ya! You would too if you knew these women! They’re amazing. But the truth is, community can far surpass any of those things. It can be in the late night texts, the emails, the connecting over coffees, and double dates. It can be on the soccer field or in the classroom or through Facetime because you live so far away. The Holy Spirit can use anyone to make up what your community is supposed to be and he is not limited to one church or one neighborhood. I have felt this tremendously in my own life. The Lord has used women to impact my life that I may not have allowed in had I not been stripped bare of my friendships.

As Nicole and I were finishing up texting today she said to me,

“So glad community means more than church attendance and backyard bbq’s. Love that we are in community again!”

I got chills and told her that I couldn’t agree more. I am forever blessed by this journey of loneliness that the Lord has brought me through, because without it, I wouldn’t have solely depended on the Lord to be my companion and to bring me my friends. Although the waiting was hard, it was so worth it. If this is you, hang in there sweet friend. Ask the Lord to open your eyes to who is already there and reaching out to you. Be willing to let go of friendships that give you anxiety, that aren’t healthy, or ones you need to move on from. It’s ok to do that, it’s ok to change and decide that you need more. It’s ok to allow the Lord to take over and shape that for you, no matter what anyone else says or thinks. Loneliness isn’t fun, but depending on the Lord is always worth it. If you desire deep and rich community, ask Him what that’s supposed to look like for you and allow him to do that work.

I am so blessed by the friends I have now. Letting go of what I wanted and allowing the Lord to take over was the best thing I have ever done, because it IS more than church attendance and bbq’s only. It’s richer and I feel the Holy Spirit moving inside of my friendships, reminding me that I’m exactly where I need to be.

STELLAR DAY MAG - Dec Promo 2015-1059