Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Importance of community

I dedicate this post to my Friday Ladies! Love you girls, XOXO!

(Eccl 4:9-12) Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

I am considered by most to be pretty outgoing. I'm a say-what's-on-my-mind kind of person. (Yet still working on that whole running my thoughts through the filter of the Holy Spirit before they come flying out of my mouth thing!) But since I work and live in the world, I still had a lot of friends of the world, and didn't have a large Christian community to which to turn in the troubled times. I did a few women's bible studies, but I wasn't developing strong friendships. Of course, since I am the extrovert, my husband is the introvert, and he would practically run me out of church to the car to be the first out of the parking lot and avoid what he called the "F-word" - FELLOWSHIPPING!

We started to recognize that we did need a community of believers in our lives - to balance the time we spend in the world in our day to day lives. My husband and I made a concious decision to get involved with a small group at our church focused on marriage. We started meeting people, young and old, who could share their experiences and minister to the needs of our marriage. Out of that group, a friend and I started a women's group. This is a real ecclectic group of ladies where we can really get real together. We have experienced marriages thrive and marriages end. We have seen babies be born to ladies in the group and babies be taken from the womb. We have watched careers thrive and careers end in lay-offs. We have seen great health and we have seen extreme physical conditions and pain. We have met each other's moms and dads and had to deal with the problems of aging parents - physical ailments and mental ailments. We have survived natural disasters and are working together to get emergency kits in everyone's homes and cars. Our studies tend to go very slowly...but that's because there is a lot of bearing and sharing happening!

One time when I found out I was pregnant, I sent all the ladies a picture of my postitive home pregnancy test! My friend Sharyn said, "I can't belive I'm looking at your pee on my computer screen!" But we rejoiced together. I knew I was blessed to have a great group of ladies praying with me and for me. But it sure came to it's fullness when I lost that baby. I would email out updates - First happy news - "Ultrasound appointment today! Pray for great news!" to bad news "The technician and the Dr. can't find a heartbeat. Pray for a miracle." to no news. No news because I was too emotionally wrecked to write. Too emotionally wrecked to pray! All I could do was cry for days. They emailed encouragement. They sent cards. Their family members whom some I never met sent cards! They brought food. And they prayed and interceeded on my behalf when I couldn't!

You will still go through the valleys, but the difference is when you have a strong relationship with the Lord, and a supportive community, your stay is much shorter. Within a weeks time, I could praise God again. I thank God for those ladies, because their prayers were answered to bring me through it!

Make sure you aren't alone in your journey. Ecclesiastes talks about two being better than one and gives many practial expamples, but then it ends with the "three-fold cord". Wait, I thought two was better than one...how is that three? Jesus said in Matthew 18:20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. When you have a friend who's a believer, Jesus is the third-fold in the cord. And there lies the power to overcome any trial or adversity!

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