I've been wanting to talk to you about community for awhile and as I started writing out this post in my journal something just wasn’t clicking together - it seemed to forced and I got bored. That happens so many times…half written thoughts all over the place. In my boredom I flipped back to something I wrote of February 7th. It pretty much was I needed to express my point - love how that works.
When I say I want to reach women like me I quickly realize that is three (maybe more) types of women:
First, The parents of a 14 year old daughter who has become pregnant during her freshman year of high school.
We are lost, we don’t know what to do and we are filled with grief, how did we let this happen? Our parenting skills will be on display for the world to see. We don’t even know how to afford this - will our insurance cover this child, too? And what about our daughter? What will her life be like? Will she finish high school? Will she always struggle?
They need resources, they need direction, they need Jesus, but I am not pointing fingers because move forward 16 years and my emotions probably mirrored theirs as I was pregnant and trapped in a horrible relationship.
How did I get here? A single mother of a six year old expecting another child. Barely affording the insurance I have now, how will I afford to have this child? And how will I bring a child into the mess that is my life? And will I struggle to make ends meet? Will I lose my independence and have to have my parents move in with me at the age of 30? I don’t know how to do this.
Then there is the woman who has this feeling since her late teens that she was supposed to do something big for Jesus’ Kingdom, but fell into the devil’s traps over and over again.
I always make the mistake of joining into the devil’s conversation. He is so good a twisting reality and grace, making sure I feel like my secrets are too dark, too offensive to see the light of day. If anyone knew my secrets they surely would say I could not be a leader. I am always afraid that some from my past will appear in my life today and let my secrets out. It’s a very sad life when you live thinking you will not meet your husband in heaven. That we he will arrive and be completely blindsided when you never do. I live in a very cold, dark world that I created for myself.
So I asked myself, “How do you reach these three groups?” My story most definitely reaches them because each one is a part of my story - my parents, my in my early thirties and me just three years ago.
One thing became soberingly clear.
They each need Community.
A Community of parents who have walked this road and can show the way through this time in life.
A community to surround her with love and let her know that she not alone. A Community that can show her that this can be done and she is strong enough to face this, again.
And lastly a community to show love and grace.
All of these women need a community that provides hope. A community that shares their struggles (past and present) in the hope that it will convey God’s grace to those who need it.
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, they other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attached and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. ~Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Where a was deficient in community as a young person and in my early thirties, God has blessed me three folds with an amazing community and tribe.
I have been writing my story for two years now and I know I would not have been able to get this far without the loving community that surrounds me and my Lord who provides me with more strength than I ever knew I had.
I started to type “my prayer would be” and I am like “ugh, I can pray on my blog. I’ve even been know to pray out loud, in person recently!”
Heavenly Father, I ask you to please surround these women with safe community of family and friends who love them while they walk this path. I ask you that shine down your son’s love through this community showing everyone that we each have a past, but are each still loved and adored by you. I asked that speak into these women and your spirit will lead them to conquer any shame that is keeping them from accepting community. Live in the community Lord, be with them, help them to be a constant source of encouraging love that is needed by these women and by world, Lord. In you precious son’s name I pray, Amen.
Beyond a community, I have a tribe and this quote pretty much sums up my tribe.
In my tribe I am loved during my amazing times and in the times when, well, I am just not lovable (it happens…more times than I would like to admit). I am beyond blessed that God gave me these people to do life with.
So let’s do it - full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other one, especially as we see the big Day approaching. ~ Hebrews 10:24-25 (MSG)