A couple of years ago I was sitting, playing with my youngest daughter on the floor of our family room. We had scattered several pillows around and she was pretending to be a lion on the hunt for her prey. As we sat playing, she slowly approached a grouping of pillows and said to me, “I’m going to attack them.” Right before she did, I saw one pillow off to the side, isolated from the rest of the pillows. Quickly, I stopped her and said, “Attack that one, it’s all alone.” The word ‘alone’ had barely even left my mouth when I suddenly heard the spirit speak to me saying, “This is how it is with you.” That moment was life changing for me.
Over the past several years, God has continued to diligently teach me about the power to be had by living life in community. While there are many reasons why living in community is beneficial to us, the one that rang loudest to me came from Curt Thompson’s book, “Anatomy of the Soul.” In this book, he explains how we as spiritual beings house the spirit of Christ. In doing this, we bear the ability to speak into the lives of others, or have them speak into ours, when we live in authentic community with each other, thus opening another way for the Creator to speak into our lives. When we aren’t doing life together, we separate ourselves, and in doing so, block one of the ways which God may be using to communicate with us – through the words of another being.
While this concept alone, is enough for me to say, “I’m in!,” there’s more.
Throughout the story of the Promised Land – a story found throughout the Old Testament books of Genesis, Exodus, and Deuteronomy – we watch as Moses wins and loses battles as he leads the Israelites out of Egypt (where they are driven my slaves) and into the Promised Land (where they are able to live an abundant life). The wars he wins, are those where his counterparts are holding up his arms, in contrast to this however, the wars he loses are the ones where he has no support.
Today, in our society, living in community is counter-culture to what we know, and yet it is just the thing we need to make it through the “wars” we encounter from day to day. The wars facing our families. Our generation grew doing things on our own and in doing so, we grew to be strong, independent beings. Unfortunately, this is the exact opposite of what Christ desires for us. When we live life “strong,” we remain alone and do not have the support of others around us. When we live “weak” we allow others to speak into our lives and help us along the way. We need this. We need accountability, support, and help if we are going to make it through the battles we face, in this life, as moms and wives. If we look to Jesus, as the example, we see that He lived out His days doing life intimately with His disciples. They walked together, partied together, cried together, laughed together, and lived together. This isn’t something that just happened. It is something He did intentionally.
So often our fears of others keep us from reaching out. “What will they think,” “How will they respond,” “I don’t want to bother them,” and on and on it goes. I know, because I’m one of those people who comes up with every reason in the book why not to ask for help and share my struggles. But, what I’ve learned is that in letting my guard down, I’ve found people who know me, accept me, and speak into my life, thus helping me through the sometimes daunting days of this life, giving me the strength to go another day.
In the midst of teaching me about the reason I needed community, God also pointed out to me that my kids were in need of this as well.
Going through the hardship our family has endured, I’ve often struggled with the fear of allowing my kids to go places and do things if I wasn’t around. I thought, in my mind, that if I just keep them close to me they’ll be good. What I didn’t realize is that my doing this was actually me parenting out of fear, and as a result I was isolating them. This was counter to what I desired, as they needed to be empowered, not isolated.
Along the way, God revealed to me that there was something we, as parents, can do to help protect our kids. Bringing back to me the memory of the day my daughter and I were acting out the lioness on the hunt, He reminded me that when we are surrounded we are less likely to be “hunted.” I knew then and there that I, as a mom, was going to do my part in surrounding my kids with peers. In doing this, we give them the tools they need when we can’t be there (i.e. the classrooms, hallways, lunchrooms, and playgrounds). We give them friends, teach them about community, and build a net around them at the same time.
Pray about who those kids might be, create a group, and gather them together regularly to begin the process of building those bonds. I’ll be sharing on here different ideas, parties, and gatherings as a way to help you in your own efforts. And for YOU, mom, I’ll also be sharing ideas for how you can surround yourself with women, create community, and build real authentic relationships around yourself!
Be sure to check out the other sections under the Building Community tab on the main menu and check back often for ideas for you and your kids.