Embracing Community

 | February 14, 2017 | Posted by:
Embracing Community

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I don’t know about you, but I love a good conversation over a cup of coffee or tea. I love getting beyond the surface subjects and going deeper. I love getting to the heart level; that sacred place of rich soil that is fertilized by vulnerability. The farther you go in a friendship the more humility is required; the more you must shed the layers that surround your heart that give the illusion of protection.

Isn’t this what we desire? Isn’t this what we NEED?

Womanhood forces us outside our comfort zones in every way possible. Somehow being an adult doesn’t always look quite like it did in our teenage fantasies of freedom and success. We are pushed and pulled. Tried and tested. And that’s a good thing. It’s okay to struggle because in that comes growth. We are meant to be growing.

But can we grow if we’re isolated and alone?

We need each other. We cannot do it alone because we are not meant to. We are designed for community. Deep, satisfying, enriching community. 

Doing life with a group of women is one of the most beautiful experiences we can have. It forces us to live outside of ourselves. It gives us different perspectives and room to grow and change. If your friends are mothers, it also gives you the ability to be a part of other children’s lives; to be involved in building up and loving on the next generation. Diversity within relationships is a good thing. You don’t all have to be married, single, mothers, the same race or even age to share deep and lasting friendship.

I would like to explore some qualities each of us needs in our personal lives in order to experience growth in friendships and depth of community.

Being servant-hearted. 1 John says that if we are in Christ, we must live as He did; and He laid down His very life for us. If we are to follow His example, we must love each other enough to sacrifice for each other.

That does not come naturally. We cannot want that on our own. We must continually be asking the Lord to give us the desire and ability to lay down our lives for our friends. We must be reading God’s Word; but not just reading it….We must be living it (James 1:22).

We are each gifted so uniquely with talents. Some of us love to babysit children for a friend who needs an afternoon to herself. Some of us can whip up meals for a new mom or when someone is sick. The list can go on and on. Loving each other means helping each other.

Being a safe place. As women we have the ability to analyze, size up, dress down, criticize, and slander each other. We tear to shreds what is so precious; each other’s hearts.

Instead of condemnation, why don’t we shower each other in grace. Grace for the mom who struggles in the areas that you are strong in. Grace for the woman who has been so negatively affected by hard things in life that she doesn’t exactly have much to offer. Grace for miscommunication. Grace for sinful hearts. Grace to forgive. Grace to look past the offensive words to the heart that is hurting.

Again, we cannot do these things on our own. We need the transforming grace of Jesus Christ working in our hearts in order to give grace to others. We cannot give what we do not have.

Sisters in Christ, we have been given abounding grace that doesn’t have an ending! Let’s pour that same grace out on each other.

Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. I’m pretty sure James was looking into my soul when he penned those pastoral words. We all, to a certain extent, have trouble taming our tongues. Some more than others…..cough cough….myself…cough cough.

We so desperately need the spiritual discipline of LISTENING. Let’s listen to each other without forming our next argument. Let’s listen and not give into the burning desire to give an “opinion” just for the sake of hearing ourselves talk on the subject. Sometimes the best words that can be said are “Let’s pray together about this right now”.

Lastly, we are sisters in the battle. No one goes into battle alone. It’s a battle to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called (Eph 4:1). It’s a battle waking up to a full to do list that can’t possibly be completed that day. It’s a battle to love Jesus more than we love anything else. It’s a battle to combat sinful desires and impulses. It’s a battle to serve husbands, children, friends, bosses. It’s a battle not to grow bitter when our expectations of life are not our reality.

How can we combat struggles and heartache of life by ourselves?

We can’t.   

I’ve just painted a beautiful picture of the community that Jesus Christ offers when He washes you from your sin and brings you into His family. I can promise that you won’t experience fulfilling relationship outside of a relationship with Him.

Each and every one of us has been alienated from true love and community in Christ because of our sin. Our sin separates. But God, who is rich in mercy, sent His Son to take our alienation so we don’t have to experience it. You, my friend, are invited. Invited to see your need for Christ. He takes your sinful heart and gives you a clean one.

If you would like to experience this, please contact me via email at lindsey@edenwaybirthcenter.com. I would love to talk with you.

If you are in Christ and aren’t experiencing true community in the context of a local body of believers feel free to contact me via email, as well. I would love to talk with you about ways to get plugged in. You don’t have to walk alone.

 


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