Monday, October 27, 2014

day 27: connection and community...

I believe that all of us long for connection and community.  That there is an underlying need in all of us to be known.  To know others deeply and to be known, to really be known by others.  To have the connection with others that we can lay down our burdens and they will help us shoulder them.

I remember longing for this connection when I became a mom 10 years ago.  I went from working everyday to being the mother of an 11 month old.  I didn't know any other stay at home moms and didn't know where to find them.  A friend pointed me towards MOPS, a christian mothering organization, and I was connected with other moms of young kids.  I really enjoyed going to MOPS and attended it for almost 7 years.  I'd love to be able to say that I met and made deep connections with other moms and we are still best friends today.  But I didn't.  I met some great moms but deep friendships weren't made.

When we moved into our home 7 1/2 years ago, I was excited about the possibility of new relationships and friendships right in our neighborhood.  But, that didn't happen.  We have a great cul-de-sac full of kids our kids ages, but true friendship hasn't happened. 

Mark and I attended the same church for years.  It was the church we went to when we were first dating and then married.  It was a great church for our faith and growth in biblical knowledge.  However, I always had a sense of longing for connection and community.  It just wasn't that kind of church.  When Luke and John were 3 and 1, I started praying that God would lead us to a new church where we could find community.

Almost exactly five years ago, we were led to the church we still attend.  We were invited by some moms at John's preschool and also asked to join their small group.  Although we didn't really know what a small group was, we said yes.  Our kids were 5, 3 and 2 and we were facing some major transition issues with Grace due to her many developmental delays.

It was in this group that we finally found the connection and community we had longed for.  We were able to be known and to know others on a deeper, soul level.  All of the families in this small group had young children and were going through many of the same life stages as us.  These people, are our closest friends.  We have walked through life together and found belonging.

We gather twice a month to do some sort of bible study and once a month to break bread together.  We have found that community grows deeper when you eat together.  There is something about a shared meal that connects us to each other.

As you can see from my examples, it took many years for us to find a community that we belonged too and the connections with others we craved.  The truth is you can't force friendship or community.  Although, I may have longed to get to know others before it just wasn't right.

One way I have found to instill more order in my life is to share it with others.  Finding connection and community grounds us.  It allows us to be, really be, ourselves.  That longing inside to be authentic can be satisfied through real friendships.

Are you longing for more connection?  Do you desire deeper community and true, authentic relationships with others?  Then, I encourage you to find your community. 

In order to find community you need to extend yourself.  I know this can be scary.  Really I do, I'm an introvert.  But chances are, there is another person out there just waiting for you to extend an invitation for coffee or to meet at a park so your kids can play together.
If you go to a church, that is a great place to start.  If not, look for a group based on your interests or stage in life.  If you have young kids, take them to story time at the library.  Or find a local MOPS group or Moms group.  Put yourself out there, take a risk and invite someone to do something.

One blog I love to read is called the The Common Table Community.   They are active in their pursuit of community and connection.  I love this idea and I wish I lived closer so I could sit at their table.

How have you found community?  How are you filling the need we have for deeper connection?


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