25 Apr We Were Created for Community
For those of you who know me, you know I don’t like being in the spotlight. I enjoy serving and working as long as it is behind the scenes, so I find writing these a bit intimidating. One of the things that I am thankful to God for is creating us to be in community with likeminded believers. He did not create us to walk this journey alone and today I thought I would share a few pieces of my story.
I have been involved in our church for the past 20+ years. Thinking of that makes me nostalgic. How is that possible? I haven’t aged that much, where has all the time gone?
My husband, Brad, and I were dating back in 1999 and had just left our previous church and its youth group. We checked out various churches, trying to find a church to call our own and get involved in, but we felt God calling us to step out in faith with a group of likeminded believers in a different way. We started meeting for prayer and Bible study weekly with these individuals to seek God’s direction of how, we in community, could best serve His kingdom. In March 2000, our prayers were answered when Southwest Community Church began.
Brad and I have been heavily involved in various ministries right from the beginning. Brad with the technology, sound, and music side of ministry, and I with varying roles in Kids ministry. There are so many great memories over the past 20 years that have made lasting impressions. We have loved serving with people and together pouring into kingdom work. However, where I saw and felt the greatest need for community was during two of the deepest valleys that I have gone through.
In May of 2011, my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and within six weeks, he passed.
I struggled with why God would take away my earthly father and in such a quick time. He wouldn’t be there to see his grandchildren grow up; he wouldn’t be there to carve the turkey at all the holidays, he wouldn’t be there for the various phone calls throughout the day…. He just wouldn’t be there. Through this season of struggle, God so gracious surrounded me with people who lovingly spoke truth into my life. He used various people to lovingly uplift me in scripture and to remind me of the truths found in HIS Word.
Throughout my life I’ve always searched for balance and remember searching at various times through scriptures for balance in life. However, a friend reminded me while my dad was dying, “God’s the only balance you’ve got right now…And he hears those simple little prayers and knows that you’re struggling and promises to come along side of you…He knows your pain! Ask others to pray for you. We need other people to pray to lift our burdens and help carry them for us. You’re gonna get through it. Remember God’s got your back and He is your only balance!”
Scripture is clear in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Two years after my father passed away, my mom’s health started to change. She was diagnosed years ago with having cirrhosis of the liver and I have to admit that it is a horrible disease to die of. She was good one day and the next day we would find her passed out on the floor not having any idea of how long she had been there. There were numerous doctor appointments, hospital visits, and I spent many days and nights in worry and anxiety over my mother. In July 2018, God graciously called my mother home. During this trial, again God surrounded me with loving friends reminding me of what my heart already knew, the truth of God’s Word. There were so many praying for me during that time and I don’t know how I would have gotten through it without them.
Why do I share this with you? Because I struggle, I struggle monthly, weekly and sometimes daily with how can God use me. We each have our baggage, our hurts, our pain, but as I was reminded in my daily devotional “Community can be as rich and deep as we make it. If we desire this, we must make the effort to have it. Godly, Christ-centered relationships are messy because people are messy. Community like this takes time to cultivate.” (Better Together: You Version devotional). It’s a choice to get involved, especially when it’s difficult. It’s a choice to be vulnerable with people. It’s a choice to go deeper, and yes, it’s messy and hard but we were made for community.
God’s Word reminds us that He will help us in the messiness of community. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)