Let me introduce you to my mom friends. This is a group of women who have been praying most Wednesday mornings for the past 12 years; the subject of our prayers . . . our children, which now range in age from 5-22 years old. Our fearless leader started this “Moms in Prayer” group, with two other ladies, when her son was in kindergarten and he is now finishing up his junior year of high school. In the past couple of years we have had six graduates (two graduating tonight!).
I personally have been a part of the group for the past eight years, as have most of the others. Yet, an amazing thing happened to this group this past December. It was the Wednesday before Christmas vacation, and each year we have a party where we eat goodies, exchange gifts and pray for each other, not our kids, but each other. A few of our friends had to head off to other responsibilities, but as we were wrapping up our time together, something extraordinary happened. We experienced a holy moment that is hard to articulate, yet all could sense it. I think it dawned on us that after lo these many years of praying for our children, God had done a miracle in each of our hearts. Over the years, prayer by prayer, week after week, stitch by stitch, He had knit us together so tightly that we realized we had grown to deeply, deeply love each other. I think the reason why the moment was so holy is because we realized that this was something none of us had anticipated or set out to do. We didn’t join the group looking for friendship, support and community. We joined the group to cover our children and their schools in prayer. Yet, God saw fit to orchestrate it that although we joined “Moms in Prayer” for our kids, what we found was true community; a sisterhood that meant more to us than we could have ever imagined.
The picture above was at our last gathering for the school year where we specifically prayed over the two 2016 graduates and their sweet Mamas. The next day I posted the picture on Instagram and God gave me the idea for this blog post. You see, I know that community is something we all crave as women. We see posts on social media about friendship and community and our souls long for it. If we don’t have the type of community we desire, there is a deep yearning and even emptiness inside of us.
Can I share with you a few things being a part of this group has taught me about community?
- Community doesn’t happen overnight. Like I mentioned, it was eight to twelve years before this particular group of women became a community. Often times we look at those who seem so well connected and fail to realize it took a long time for them to get there.
- Priorities require faithfulness. Community happens as you faithfully show up week after week, year after year. Community requires an investment and to truly invest in something means you make it a priority. For me personally, there are only a couple of things that would take precedence over Wednesday mornings from 8:30-10:00am.
- Community isn’t built in isolation. As obvious as it may seem, it is important to note that community requires vulnerability. The more vulnerable you are willing to become the greater degree of closeness you will experience. There have been times, this past year, where I am dying inside and the last thing I want to do is go pray and let others see my struggles and heartbreaks. I much rather isolate, but I have to fight against that if I want community.
- You can’t force community. Because community is God-ordained, God’s Spirit is the Holy Orchestrator of knitting hearts and lives together. Often the places where you think you could, or even should, find connection; it eludes you, which can lead to disappointment and the frustration of unmet expectations. But the simple fact of the matter is . . . you just can’t force it.
I am grateful for this group that God has given me. I see it as a gift straight from His hand . . . for this season. Yet, there have been many times in life where I have not had a sense of belonging and I bet there will be similar seasons in the future as well. But for this season, I will thank Him for my mom friends and thoroughly enjoy the journey.
What about you, dear reader? What have you learned about building community for yourself? Do you have a sense of community in your life? Or, does this blog post bring up feelings of sadness, emptiness, or longing? If so, let me encourage you to pray and ask God to send you like-minded people who will do life with you. Until He does, remember that although you may not have the type of community you would desire, you always have Jesus. He truly is the nearest and dearest friend you could ever have (and that’s not just a platitude, but the honest truth!). He often uses these seasons to draw you closer to Him.
Your Friend in Ministry,