Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Surrounded by community

Community... we often long for it and desire it with our core being. We witness it when a tragedy happens and marvel at how people pull together in such times. Some of us envy community when we see others who have it. We see it modeled in the New Testament church. Look at the guys in Acts and see how they handled was called community. They shared everything they had in common. They met each others' needs. They ate together. They worshipped together. It's the model that we are to follow.

Many people come home from mission trips with a great sense of biblical community. There are few distractions, ministry happens and true community is built. People eat every meal with one another, share life together and minister alongside one another. It is often grieved and longed for once people are home.

I have experienced times of great community in my faith journey. I have often been surrounded by people who were the hands and feet of Jesus to me and I was the same for them. It has been beautiful and messy and glorious!

Over the past few weeks I have seen my community grow. A good friend from my small group, LL, put together a meal plan so that people could help our family after my surgery. Honestly, I hesitated to even tell people about the surgery much less about the need that we had for meals (with a wife down for the count, only 12 days until the next international trip and 5 kids to care for, I figured my husband could use the help). But, people stepped up big time. They filled all the slots and then some.

And by the way, these people are no slouches in the kitchen. They can cook..yummy, I tell ya. One friend drove 35 minutes just to leave the meal on my counter because I was taking a nap. Another went to Homewood to pick up our favorite sweet (Steel City Pops, of course) and surprised us with them. A good friend came early to bring her meal so I could have some adult conversation. One brother came by to check on me and hung out for a while so I could get some work done. A friend brought our favorite lunch on a day and let me borrow a book she hadn't even read yet. A great friend dropped everything and spent a Sunday afternoon with me. And, there were more offers to get groceries, take the kids, drive me around, move in (that was my personal favorite),etc.

Then, there was the day when I felt like I was at the end of my rope. I had already been to the doctor twice to get excess fluid drained. The first time, I passed out which pretty much messed with my mind (feeling helpless and out of control can do that to a person). That experience was topped with the knowledge that JT was about to leave the country for 2 weeks, and I still couldn't lift anything...or drive...or make it through the day without resting...and still taking care of 5 kids. I woke up that morning with tears that wouldn't stop. I sent a text to some good friends/family who immediately shot back encouragement, calls, wisdom and prayers.

When I am part of a community and give to others, it seems natural and God-ordained. When I am the one who has to's harder...much harder. But, I see that God has a purpose in both. He inconveniences the one to minister to the other. It's like a is the eye and one is the foot...seems like I've heard this story before. It is true, and I know it to be true (and even if I didn't know it, it would still be so).

People who have given up their own schedules and preferences and agendas and desires to minister to me in a time of need....that's my community. I'd name them all if I didn't think I might forget a name or two or three... I am blessed beyond measure!

Community....I love it, I crave it, and I need it. I'm glad to be part of one. And to all of my community...I love you.

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