Community is a huge topic and theme of Mundane Faithfulness. You all witnessed Kara’s community surrounding her and her family as she journeyed cancer (did anyone else cry at this week’s Kara’s Collection post about Mickey?!). And some of us have found satisfying community through the MFC on Facebook. We write about community a lot, and we share from our own experiences. And one response that we always get—always—is from people who are heartbroken because they do not have community themselves.
Christians without community are like bees without a beehive! God designed us for relationship and to live among each other; without community, we don’t just feel lonely but homeless, unnurtured, unloved. And I know this because for years, my husband and I didn’t have a safe community.
So the Mundane Faithfulness team has decided to do a series on community—what it is exactly, why it’s important, how to pursue it. Etcetera.
If you’ve been following Mundane Faithfulness for a while or have read Kara’s book The Hardest Peace, you know what role her community played in her story. You saw pictures of girlfriends rubbing her feet when the nausea was unbearable. You read about meals being delivered, children being loved, parties being thrown. And you probably thought to yourself, If something like that were to happen to me—if I were to get very sick—who would show up for me? Who would rub my feet and climb into bed with me?
Some of us know exactly who would move toward us in tragedy. Yet some of us can’t think of a single name.
And then you likely read Kara and Jill’s book Just Show Up. I know what happened—your heart cried out for friends like Jill to just show up in your hard places.
Aaron and I found ourselves in that very reality early in our marriage when a couple we loved went through some serious marital issues. We wondered, If we found ourselves in this position, where would we go? Who would love us through it? Who would journey that with us? We struggled to come up with names. Around the same time, we visited my sister and attended her church; we were struck by the community they had there and how the church lived daily life with each other, loving and caring for one another. We knew that was what we were looking for.
But friends, we couldn’t find it. We tried. Sooooo hard. We did everything we could imagine to find community. And we did make some sweet friendships in the midst of that; however, my expectations of what community should look like were not met, and that pain was almost overwhelming. I felt rejected, unwanted, unlovable, unpursued.
We existed in that pain for a long time, but we eventually found ourselves in a new place where all of a sudden, we were enveloped and pursued. I remember being suspicious—Why were these people so interested in us all of a sudden? What did they want? Was it for real? Was I being set up for disappointment? Could I trust them? Would I just end up getting hurt?
The answer was this: God had led us to an established community in which the members securely and maturely found their identity in Christ and knew how to love and nurture and pursue well.
We were in this community for just a year and a half before joining Jason and Kara at Westside and forming new community. It was a magical year in which God used the love of others to soothe my heart, teach me about my own identity, and teach us how biblical community functions. I came to Westside a different person and have always maintained that I couldn’t have been a part of our church plant if it weren’t for that year and a half. Or the years prior that were full of rejection and heartbreak.
That said, it wasn’t all pretty; God also used that time to point some things out to me about my heart and the damage done from the previous years.
For those of you who don’t have community, my heart hurts for you. Our hearts hurt for you. Here at Mundane Faithfulness, we have a wide variety of experiences—good and bad—of community. We aren’t experts and we don’t have all the answers, but we do have hearts for community and exploring this with you.
As we move forward, we would love to know what is on your hearts—what would you like to be discussed about community? What issues have you wrestled with? What questions do you have? What are you looking for?
Please leave your thoughts either as comments below or send an email through the blog. We are very much excited to take this journey with you.