A little while ago I wrote about joining a new church and how it has forced me to the fullest of my extrovert tendencies so Nathan and I can make friends and get invested in our church home. We have officially been attending Peninsula Community Chapel for over 7 months now, and in that time I have learned more than I could ever have imagined. My biggest lessons are coming in the form of a community that was established before we joined but one that has welcomed us in with open arms.
Nathan and I both did not realize what we were missing until we found it. We were craving a community of people to put their arms around us, to seek us out when we walked into a sanctuary filled with people we hadn't yet met, to ask us to go hiking and play board games and visit Rita's on a random Wednesday night.
People need community. I am more fully convinced of this by the day. We need friendships, for sure, but a community is something so much greater and deeper. A community is a group of people that come together for relationships that go beyond lighthearted talk and laughter. It is many people, not just one or two, choosing to love each other despite - and because of - their differences. It means being ok with hard conversations and even debates, knowing that at the end of our time together we will still love each other deeply.
Community, I believe, is what God intended from the beginning. I love the individual friendships I have with people, but the most beautiful part of joining our church has been the multitude of friends that encircled us, together, and invited us into their group without question. In the first few months of attending our new church, we had made better and deeper friendships than in the entire 6 years of our marriage thus far.
After joining this community, Nathan and I know now what we were missing. We may not always live in the area (no plans to move anytime soon - but who knows what life will bring!), but now that I see what we needed in our lives I am determined to fight fiercely for it. If we move, if we ever have life changes and find ourselves without a community again, I know I will be the one to create one around us - not just so we can be a part of something so beautiful, but so we can add others into the fold.
What I'm learning about community is that most people don't have it, and so I am giving thanks for ours. What I'm learning is that it takes time and effort to create, but when you are with your community it all feels effortless. What I'm learning is that community has made me a better, more loving person at church, at home, and in my daily life - and that is something I am never willing to give up.
I can't take all the credit for these ideas...my girl Hannah Brencher thinks deeply about community, and this post inspired my blog.