Originally published Sunday, 10 February 2013.
I need my peeps. For real.
Whenever I hear sermons or read books on the importance of community, I’m all, “Amen! Preach it!” (But only in my head… because we don’t go to an "Amen!" kinda church, and my husband has an aversion to loud, awkward, inappropriate outcries.) Christian community has saved me. Many times. In many ways. It was the college ministry at my church, right after I became a Christian, that shaped me most. It’s where I met my husband. It’s where I got my head screwed on straight and my heart refurbished from years of hurt and loneliness after my father’s death. It was there that my community, my new family, found what was special in me, pointed it out, and nurtured it. I had the incredible honor of being on staff at North Coast Church, the Church at Rocky Peak, and Richwoods Church. Each fed me in different, unexpected, but sorely needed ways. I can’t explain how beautiful it is to feel so deeply part of 3 church families. When I spent most of my life as the only child of a single parent. To have bonded closely with brothers and sisters as we, broken & fallen ones, had the privilege of sharing our Father’s love with others, shoulder to shoulder in service to Him.
But more than these places and jobs and situations but people. It was a cold December Sunday in Central Illinois, when 14 strangers entered our new home. Unpacked boxes because I e-mailed a pastor who never met me. Who probably thought I was super pushy or just plain weird. This faithful pastor didn’t judge but got to work. He sent my new best friends and their husbands through my door.
Women that quickly became my not only my friends, but sisters. Fellow warrior mamas. Women who walked me through my first pregnancy. Couples who surrounded us with so much acceptance, caring, laughter, and adventure. These. And so many more.
This is where I belong. My roots extend to their hearts and their roots in mine. We all gather, rustling and dancing in His breeze, this breathtaking family tree. I know the depths of loneliness without them. I still hear the whisper tingle in my ear. It says, “You’re all alone. Completely utterly alone. Everyone else belongs. They have people. Not you. You’re all alone.” But this family, these branches, their roots and leaves. Bound together by our great Creator. This is where I am from, to whom I belong. I need my peeps. For real. And they need me. Day 10: Filling Up on His Love: Ephesians 3:14-21
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.I love this prayer for the Ephesians. It speaks such truth about God’s love. How wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ? How can we grasp it? How can we know this love that surpasses all understanding? We can pray, for ourselves and others, that we would grasp it and know it and be filled to overflowing with it. Pouring Out His Love on Others: Hebrews 10:24-25
It’s the meeting together. It’s part of how wide and long and high and deep His love is. It helps us know that which surpasses knowledge and be filled to overflowing. We need one another, to spur one another on, to encourage one another, not just to get filled up. And not just every once in a while. But as often as possible… all the more as we see the Day approaching. Making it a priority to meet together, no matter the busy season of life.
With this Crazy Toddler in my life, it gets pretty hard to connect.
I huddle up in my mama cocoon, doing our daily stay-at-home Mama-Toddler routine, and suddenly I feel this need to crawl out from under my rock. This need to unload, speak words, be heard, be seen, be known.
Today’s Challenge… Meet up and spur on Someone needs you. Believe me. I know. I’ve been that someone. I've needed a phone call, a coffee date, a walk, a nice long chat. I’ve needed to belong to someone, to a community. It doesn’t take long before we begin feeling abandoned and alone. It doesn’t take much neglect before relationships crumble and suddenly the branches are splintered and severed. Someone needs you. To meet up and spur on. To show up ready to overflow with His wide and long and high and deep love. Call them. Sit down, right now, and write them a note. E-mail, text, facebook, whatever. Set a date to meet or skype or for coffee or tea.
Set aside your need for them, your desire to be listened to, filled, embraced. Make a mental list of questions to ask them, things to find out about their life and heart before you ever mention what’s going on with you. Show up praying and ready to gather them close. Scoop them up and show them they are yours. One of your peeps.