Community, Faith, Family, God

As we face transitions

September 30, 2015
fair traveler with vintage suitcase at the station

fair traveler with vintage suitcase at the station

I want to take a second before this post to say, I have missed you ladies! 

This summer held All. The. Things.  The first week of June my older sister had her third baby, making me the happiest aunt to three you ever did see.  Immediately after, I was forehead deep in sports camp and vacation bible school and sleep-away camp and “water olympics”… all the joys of working in full-time Children’s Ministry. 

Then, in August, my sister and brother-in- law filed for divorce.  There have been so many tears and late nights as my family figures out what comes next.  We are living in the “just take the next right step” season, and if I’m being honest… it’s not my favorite.  

I haven’t written about it, in fact, I haven’t written about anything lately.  So while I am so excited to get back into this blog, I am also nervous.  Sharing about community hits close to home.  Community has both kept me near the cross and discouraged me tremendously the past few months.  

I hope you will find grace in these words, and if you’re going through a season of hardship I pray you are surrounded by a community of believers who keep you near the cross.  

Seven.

The number of times I’ve moved in my life. Two were byproducts of my dad changing jobs and transferring locations.  The others were my choice, like going to college or moving to Nashville, or leaving for the World Race.  You might remember from this post, I love change and newness.  No one signs up for a mission trip to eleven countries in eleven months if you cringe at the word change.

Life is full of ending and beginnings and community is no different.

Some are planned and calculated, some are abrupt, and some are the natural progression of life.

Each move and transition brings with it incredible opportunities for community.

Each season also boasts the incredibly difficult tasks of re-defining community and the frightening reality of being honest, vulnerable and transparent with yet another group.

I will be the first to admit that at times I am paralyzed by the thought of new community.

In fact, I actually had a conversation with a teammate month three of The World Race, that went something like this::

ME: I’m not really here for “community” I have my community back home in Nashville.

TEAMMATE:  Are you kidding??! why would you come on something like this if you didn’t want to build community?

ME:  I’m just good, I’ve got “my people” already, I’m not on this thing to make friends, I’m here to help people.

TEAMMATE PROBABLY BEAT HER HEAD AGAINST THE WALL BECAUSE I WAS  THE WORST MOST STUBBORN AND RIDICULOUS SOUNDING WORLD RACER… 

It is nearly impossible, and guaranteed destructive, to travel the world with a group of amazing people and insist on not creating community with them.

Obviously, my stance on community changed.
Lovelies- God did a work in my heart, allowing for community.

He allowed for honesty and vulnerability to tether us together.

The women I traveled with were His provision and portion.
They were my sounding boards and accountability and advocates.

They were my strength some days and pains in the neck others.

I would not trade them for anything!

Today, we live forever away from one another.

We will most likely never all be in the same room again.

But every memory, and prayer, and tear, and joke from that season, intricately holds the seven of us together.

You have women in your life who will be there forever.

Sisters, mothers, cousins, BFFs…

and you have women in your life who will be there for a season.

Community will look different as you go to school, and travel, and date, and get married.

Teams and clubs and groups are fluid and it takes a whole lot of grace to navigate community well.

My prayer for us this morning is that we will look at the community in our life as daily bread.  I pray we will be the body of Christ to those in our life TODAY.  I pray for the courage to be vulnerable one more time, with one more person.

And I pray especially, for those of us in the middle of turmoil, help us to ponder in our hearts the many ways you show your love in our lives. Open our eyes and our hearts to the community keeping us near the cross during this time.

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  • Alyx in Wonderland September 30, 2015 at 10:44 am

    I needed this so much today. Leaving for college soon is not settling well with me. Like you I love change, I love doing, and I’m thrilled to get to go away to college but I don’t want to start community. I have very few friends. I’ve never had a lot of friends but they’re mine. And we’re super super close. I love them and they know me. And honestly I don’t want to make new friends. I have mine, and I don’t see why I need more. But this opened my eyes a little bit to that, and that’s not only am I not alone in feeling that way but it’s ok, as long as when God says move and he says open up, I listen.

  • A Worn Girl September 30, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    In my lifespan of 15 years I’ve moved 9 times. It’s good to hear someone who’s had experience adjusting to uncertain changes and who hasn’t had the long-term comfort of a secure home. I’ve faced some extremely tough paths in life and have tried to find my way through it. God’s gotten me through even the times I had to be pulled in the mud because I’d been at the edge of giving up. For me change gets scary as you experience situations you never want to be in again. But it keeps you on your feet and gives perspective. There’s balance in everything. I may not like the word “temporary” but maybe God has something better He wants to give me. Sometimes I just don’t see any reason why something happened. Like moving everything 1,000 miles then turning around after less than 2 months and coming back to where we started. I could write a million questions why God put me through that. But all I can pray for is peace that it’s okay I don’t know. And like Mike says I may not get an answer but I certainly get His promises. So thank you Steph, keep it up!

  • Leah October 1, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    Steph, this was beautiful! Thank you for this. So often I feel like MY community will just happen someday with the perfect people for me, and I even foolishly daydream about it. This post was a bump back to reality and it reminded me that community will never be perfect, because people will never perfect. And it won’t just happen someday, it starts with every human being I meet!

  • Emily October 4, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    This is so timely for me! My small group at church had to dissolve into other groups for various reasons this summer. It has been HARD trying to connect with the people in my new group. My old group knew me intimately, knew my family, etc. This new group didn’t even know my name. It has been difficult to adjust, but your post reminds me of His sovereignty over all of it. Like you, I’m in a hard place right now. I lost 9 friends unexpectedly in September. So that also makes community difficult too, because I’m not my “best self” right now. Thank you all so much for writing about community. It is super encouraging.