Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
We are joined in community here, friends. You being here, reading this, is no mistake. We are made to be encouraged by each other.
And this is why I couldn't help but ask God what He would say to us today, about community. His words are life for this ever thirsty girl.
And this is what I heard Him say:
"Community is where I am. Community is where there is a gathering, in love--where it is safe and it is good and I lead. Community is where there are tears and there is laughter and there is a stripping of all falseness, all hiding. Community is the gathering, the collection, the communion of spirits--your spirit--with Mine. Community is the beginning of gathering place, where there is desperation, and rawness is rewarded. Community is invitation to Me.
Community is closeness. It is intimacy. It is awakening to more--more of Me.
Let me give you more of Me.
Community is the blossoming that comes after planting, after pruning, after watering, after tilling, after rocks are removed--and in the middle of ground needing my care.
Community is not about words. It is not about events and organizations and lists. Community is not about a calendar and a clock and a schedule and a cookie cutter design.
Community is a dance, a messy, wild dance where there is tripping and falling, and rising and a grabbing hold of hands--my hand, my love."
"Community is the stumbling when things are hard and trusting that I lead you to a better place. Community is the knock at your door when you don't want to answer it but you are desperate to be understood and to know you are not alone. Community is the phone call and the saying 'yes' to be known, to be heard, to let your voice join mine. It is the singing of angels at my feet, the resounding that I hear.
Community is the joining together of energies, your heart-song as it becomes more fully what I have designed for it to become, all along. Community, daughters, is the center--the place where I am. Community is where I reside. It is not a place of pressure, of guilt, of comparison, of wishing you were different or less or more.
Community is a raised hand, a reaching for Me, a risk where it is safe--because I am there. Community is stepping into warmth--into welcome. It is stepping out on behalf of another whom has yet to feel the hug of arms wrapped around her neck.
Community is the quenching of thirst that calls you home, that calls you to the real place, the place where you are known and loved and discovered anew.
Girls, I ask Him what community means because it is something I both crave and fear. I am made to be known--but oh, how I fear rejection and know my only security is my identity in Christ. How He sees me is my safe place--and it is that faith that equips me to take risks, in community, in His name. I must go where He calls me. I must trust that being vulnerable with my heart, with the people He brings into my life, is the invitation to enter deeper into relationship with Him.
And I can't miss out on that. He is making me love Him too much. I just can't get enough.
Show us where you are, Father. Reveal more of yourself to us. Show us, practically what community looks like for each of your girls reading these words this moment. We trust you and want all that you have. We want to trust you more, be stripped away of all ways we try to hide. Bring us deeper into community--true relationship--with You.
Love being gathered up with you, His girls,
Come on over to connect with Jennifer at You Are My Girls.com.