My husband, James, and I have been attending a church for a few months now, and have been given the opportunity to lead a small group of 4 other young couples…Even after meeting twice, I feel challenged and stretched. Last week was just dinner at Old Chicago to kind of get to know each other, and tonight’s agenda was sharing our stories and who we are–which for me, telling my story in front of 9 other people made me shake and my heart beat faster…sad huh? That’s why I love coffee shops so much–you meet there with just one or two other people and can really dive deeper, and you only have one or two people paying attention..not 9. Yuck. But I digress.
After we shared our stories, we watched a 15 minute video from Andy Stanley about community and Spiritual progress. A quote really hit me hard and made a lot of the past year make a lot of sense. He said “the times when believers grow the most spiritually is when they have been in community.” I thought back over my life really fast and had a definite “aha!” moment as I realized how true that is of me and my life. Especially this last year, James left for Africa so shortly after we got engaged, I graduated from college, moved away and left some of the deepest and most genuine friendships I might ever know, my spiritual leaders and my church all behind. And all of the sudden there I was. Alone. Not even really knowing where to go to find community. I was engaged, but my fiancé lived 10,000 miles away, so getting in a small group with married couples didn’t make sense. Getting in a small group with other single women didn’t really make a lot of sense either, as I really wanted to grow and be challenged by other married women.
So we are in this small group now. We don’t really know each other, and yet even now I can feel my heart softening after such a long and dry year of being alone. It’s amazing what even just a glimpse of community and fellowship can do for the desert that has been my soul.
So if you are struggling, feeling emotionally drained, spiritually dry…take a look at the relationships in your life–are you living life in community with other believers? Lifting one another up in prayer? Having fun together? Praising Jesus together?
I praise Jesus that he died on that horrid cross for my sins, my wretched heart, my rebellious soul so that I might experience the grace of God–and experience that grace in the midst of other men and women who have tasted and seen that God is good. And we stand in His presence unashamed, only because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross. Oh praise the Lord for this so close to Easter.
Praise the Lord, oh my soul, Praise the Lord.