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Monday, May 13, 2013


As we seek out to build this new kind of church, there is one theme that continues to stand out in the front - community. We see it in the book of Acts in the first church (Acts 2:42-47) - goodness - they were DEVOTED to one another. Can you just imagine a community devoted to one another? A community that loved each other so much that they desired to share their lives with each other? That is exactly the first church that God established, and yet, I look at so many churches today and see how very far we have drifted from this mind set.  How we have let our culture dictate our posture towards each other. We see this beautiful relationship perfectly lived out, way back in Genesis at the beginning of this created world - God, Jesus, and the Spirit were all in community with one another. The theme is woven throughout history, time, the Bible, and our world - although sometimes it is hard to find here in our culture which values individualism so much. One thing that resonated with me the most about Ethiopia, was the community that was there - people doing life together. And the women - oh, how beautiful the women were - loving on each other with lavish kisses, and literally raising babies together. They truly had a village. And I came home with an ache, because for the first time I realized, I truly did not, but I was desperate for it - breathless for it.


We were not created to live life in isolation. And yet, so many of us carry these excruciating battle scars that keep us running from community. I am right there, too; I make the same excuses, carry the same scars, and have the same fears. As an introvert, it is easy for me to retreat, pull away from people, and become a hermit. It is comfortable, and it is second nature. And although, many times it truly feels like a security blanket to me, it is not the way that God intended me to live out this one life. Even as an introvert, I still need my people.

And the truth is, we all do.

But tragically, especially for women, community is complicated. If we are honest, we have all been on the receiving end of a hurtful community or friendship. The past wounds inflicted on our heart from other women, leave us questioning whether it is even worth it. The emotional  reactions that surface when we think of past experiences are bitter and real. Disappointment burns, betrayal bites, women and their words wound so deeply. And yet, we desire a community where we can be real and raw and broken and messy - a community where we can be transparent and vulnerable with no fear that we will be met with criticism and judgement. We want a community that takes on the posture of Jesus, where God shows up, and where the Spirit weaves. We deeply need community with other people - with other women. We want to know other women intimately and, we need to be known in the same way, and we need to be safe in the knowing. We need a place where we can know that it is okay to not be okay, and where we do not have to answer every "How are you?" with "Fine". Because none of us are fine, and it is okay to not be fine.

For a lot of years, I have learned to hide behind that "fine". I have hid for so long, that now at 33 years old, I am just uncovering the real me - the one that doesn't have to be hidden. The one who doesn't have to pretend to be perfect and put-together in order to be accepted. I have lived a lifetime of surface relationships, arm-length friendships, withdrawal, isolation, masking - faking. I thought I had to in order to be liked and accepted, and while it band aided the pain of rejection, it kept me from being healed and redeemed in community. It kept me from community. It kept me jaded and cynical and not able to maintain deep friendships, because although I am an introvert, I don't do shallow well, or small-talk. I like to go deep fast, get to the heart, but that is terrifying - for me and probably for other women.

I am desperate for community though, and friendship with women. I finally am beginning to see that this is what I am craving - a safe place to laugh and share stories, to cry with and for one another, to enter another person's pain and journey and life. My defenses and callousness and hurts and fears need to be melted away. I need a community where I can mess up and not be a good friend, and be grabbed by the neck and not let go. Because I won't be good at it - at least not right away. I want to be bare before my sisters - blemishes, scars, warts and all. I desire that genuine connection that God desires for us all. I yearn for community, and am excited about the women that God is putting into this new season of my life.

The best is yet to be.


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