The last couple of weeks have been difficult. There's been a lot of struggle and loneliness. One of those seasons where Satan whispers in my ear over and over that no one gives a rip about us.
Then on my way to meet some girlfriends for dinner in Emporia I drove into the sun for 45 min. It was grueling, bright and difficult to see, especially after having a headache for 6 days. But it seemed like a metaphor as the sun set and my perseverance paid off (aka I hadn't hit anyone from being blinded by the sun) and the sky turned to pure beauty. It was like the last few weeks of struggle and perseverance was about to pay off and the beauty of community was coming alive.
The sky became a magnificent array of blues, oranges, reds, purples and yellows dancing between clouds. I was taken aback at the beauty and my frustration with the blinding sun just minutes before melted into gratefulness of the beauty of God's creation. As I took in the picture perfect horizon I heard the words of the song playing on the radio. "Light, light, light up the sky to show me you are with me." It was such a moment of comfort.
On the way home from Emporia I went into deep thought. Moving so often, one of the lies I fall into is that I am all alone. I listen sometimes to Satan and not God. So on the way home from Emporia God reminded me of all the times in my life when I was not alone. He is always with me. And as an extention of Him he has given us community.
My mind went back years ago to the day after Eric gave his life to Jesus and the friends who surrounded us and loved us. We were so naive and yet, though many of them were much more mature in their walk, they loved us, showed us the way, and were our community.
Then just a year later our small group and some close friends walked with us through Jake's surgery and through the weeks we were in Denver. Some came to Denver to be with us in the hospital. Some lived there and surrounded us there. One of our small group friends drove all the way to Denver and brought 9 month old Alex to us after missing her for weeks.
There's a whole community wrapped up in my quilting friends. :)
In Iowa it took time. But eventually there were the coffee girls. Many dreams and thoughts on theology were hashed out over coffee. My heart for the lost and my heart for Africa was birthed during preschool coffee times.
Our small group filled the gap of no family in Iowa. Every Saturday night after church we'd gather and often we'd commune late into the night...kids and all. Some of our best conversations happened after midnight.
God put several girlfriends in my life and in my heart in Iowa that were from school or from church or homeschooling. My BSF girls. My Y friends. My home remodeling pals. My realtor. All blessings and people I love dearly.
In Newton/Wichita He gave us a co-op of like-minded friends. We made Druber's runs and had sleepovers. We talked about the personalities of our kids into the night. We were crazy and just had fun together. Another friend from co-op has been a mentor and praying friend.
God reminded me of when I laid in the hospital after one of the most traumatic nights of my life and how the visitors trickled in over and over throughout the days I was there. The friends we were just making...the friends we'd had much of our life...the loving Pastors that came to pray with us.
There are so many more parts of community that are dear friends that don't fit specifically into a group.
My friends I had just had dinner with in Emporia came to mind. A group of girls who've been together through much of life's struggles. We cry together and laugh together.
Now in Kansas City, we have friends we meet at the Y and friends in our new co-op. New friends.
I needed to write this all down. I think I need to be slapped with truth when I feel the darkness. We are never alone. God places different people in our life for different seasons. And within all those communities I pray we've not only had community but been community to others.
Soon, E and I will embark upon a new season of community. An intentional, like-minded community with accountability and opportunity for being discipled. It is a concept of the "church" like we've never experienced it before.
More to come on that one. But tonight I am thankful for the reminders of the breathtaking sky, a God who never leaves me and the life full of seasons of community.