Last night I had the opportunity to share what God is doing in my life with the leadership of a moms group I’m apart of. Our theme this year is Gather which really led me to reflect and guide me to share about my desire for community and friendships.
I absolutely love the theme Gather because I absolutely love to gather. Whether it’s one on one with someone over coffee or with a whole group of people, I love to be around people and to do life with people. And that’s one thing that is so cool about God is because He certainly puts the desire of community in people because it is so biblical. Just like with our theme verse for the year…
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Some other verses came to my mind as well…
And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
I could go on and on sharing more verses where God calls us to live in community, in harmony, in unity. I’ve seen these verses lived out in my life all throughout my faith journey. When I came to know Christ in college, there was a group of God-fearing college girls that rallied around me and taught me what it meant to follow Christ. I gleaned so much from their wisdom and from even watching how they lived their lives. I learned how to read my Bible, how to wrestle with questions about my faith and work through that with scripture and counsel from others, and how to really live my life for the Lord. As I moved to a different city for grad school, God was so faithful in giving me immediate friends in the same stage of life and we were able to walk through seminary together. Moving into my professional life and then getting married, I continued to surround myself with people that loved Jesus and pushed me towards him. I sought after people that were prayer warriors and loved Jesus fiercely and just like the verse says, I was very intentional in meeting with them. Whether that was reading thru the Bible or a study together, or just talking about life together, or asking for wisdom, I had people in my life that become mentors of my faith. This was also the point in my life that I started pouring into others as well. Whether that was being intentional with my staff members at work or high school girls, I wanted to live out those words of the Bible – ‘stir up one another.’
So three years ago when we moved to Colorado, my heart was a bit broken because I was no longer surrounded by all of these amazing people God had put in my life. My heart so wants to gather and now I had no one to gather with, outside of my husband and child. As we moved away from Texas and people committed to pray for us, we always asked for prayer for community – to find our people in Colorado. As sweet and welcoming everyone were when we moved here, it just wasn’t the same. We all know it takes time to build friendships and I moved into a place where people had already spent years building friendships. I wasn’t truly known by anyone here. There was no deep friendship yet. Thankfully, I still had people back home always reaching out, praying for me, checking on me. But long distance also becomes difficult as well. I felt like I had found myself in a place where I didn’t really belong anywhere. I was no longer back home so I was missing out on daily things which made friendships different, but then I also wasn’t super close with anyone in Colorado so I didn’t quite have a place here yet either. But through it all, God just kept drawing me close to Him, reminding me that my relationship with Him is ultimate anyway. But I also felt like He just kept reminding me to pray for those friendships that I desperately wanted and keep pursuing people and being that friend that He designed me to be. And He just kept reminding me of His faithfulness.
That season of life was certainly difficult and lonely but every year that passed, I began to see my prayers answered. God kept putting people in my life that met different needs and those friendships now live out that theme verse… spurring one another toward love and good deeds, meeting together, and encouraging one another. It could have been so easy in this season of my life to just shut down or guard my heart towards people, but that pull of God pushing me towards biblical community to be known by others in order for others to push me to love Him more certainly far exceeds a lonely life. So I am so thankful for His faithfulness and Him answering my prayers and for of course the people in my life here. It really is so important to surround ourselves with people that love Jesus and push us towards Him, just like we want to be those people too.
After talking about it with my husband, it seemed important to share my story in this space as well. I know craving community or building friendships can be difficult in any season of life, but it seems to get harder as we get older. I pray that this is an encouragement that God sees you and loves you and wants that for you as well. Never stop meeting with Him even in the loneliness and keep calling out to Him to bring those people into your life. It may take time and it may not look like what you thought, but God IS faithful.