Thursday, August 07, 2008

Community

Last night was so good and so powerful I'm not quite sure it happened. But I'll come back to that.

For those of you around Rochester, you've probably been aware of or are a part of this "community" here. For a brief reference to the girls in this group, see this post . It all started last fall when four girls, including myself, started meeting with the intent on doing a Bible study about Daniel. We did that for about 1.5 weeks, then decided we needed something different. We needed to get real.

So we did. The four of us, who barely knew each other, started sharing our lives with each other. The good and the bad, the hurts and the triumphs, the profound and the mundane. We prayed for each other. By that, I mean more than a few tired words spoken almost by repetition. We prayed for each other. We cried together almost as much as we laughed. This weekly meeting became a mainstay for all of us, a must-have that profoundly impacted our relationship with God. Not that we are the first people in the world to do this, but we realized we had stumbled upon a gold mine, something that had to be shared. Everyone needed to experience this relationship, this true community. And so we grew.

More ladies started coming. Finding a place to meet became an issue. We needed places big enough to handle us, but cozy enough so we could converse. We bounced around all sorts of restaurants and houses. We made it work. We shared ideas of living together, serving together, being a constant support for each other. Our core group of four grew to eight.

Our guy friends became jealous. They got tired of hearing so much about this "girls' meeting" that they started their own. Pretty soon, you couldn't see another friend without hearing the buzzword "community." We had a goal, a common vision, a unified purpose.

The guys and girls started meeting together. It came to settle on Wednesday nights, and now it is a standing date. We eat together, usually share communion, then often having a time of sharing and prayer for each other. We all come from various backgrounds and different faith traditions, but all built on Christ. Several of us bought houses and live together, opening our doors to each other at any time of day. We share many things, and if it is in your fridge, you better consider it fair game to be eaten. The community has grown by leaps and bounds, and now you can expect several dozen people every time we get together. It has blessed my life in immeasurable ways.

The girls continue to meet on their own at a different part of the week, though it has been hard to coordinate that the last month or two. We have become a little distant, disconnected from each other and left to struggle through life more or less on our own. Though God is always there and is always helping us, without the constant support of our Christian sisters, we were hurting, and it came to our attention that we needed each other. So we scheduled a girls' night with the core group of eight, which was last night.

We were (are? it has only been one night) a complete mess. A complete mess. Every single one of us has been struggling with some major thing, be it loneliness, fear, sin, temptation. We were antsy at the beginning, knowing this was going to be a rough night, so we started out stating praises. It went from praises about happenings in our life to praises for the good things in each other, building each other up in love. It was good.

Then we took turns sharing what we had been struggling with. Every single one of us cried when talking. Life has been too hard. We have not been there for each other. We confessed many shortcomings, many sins--some almost unbelievably, shockingly bad--some of us so far from the Lord.

And we loved on each other. We loved on each other. We cried out to God to heal each person, specifically, passionately. We spoke strong words against the work of Satan and how he had taken hold of us. We sobbed together. Maybe it is so significant to me that we cried together because I am not typically a crier. But there were no walls last night as we mourned for each other and sought out the guidance of God. And it was very good.

How we need each other. How we need the Lord. May His Name be praised for breaking us and building us back up. I have a feeling for the next good while us girls are going to be attached at the hip. May we never fall apart like that again. And may every one get a taste of this community, this fellowship, based on Christ with a foundation of love. Let me know if you want to join. We'd love to have you.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I want to join! I wish you weren't so far away though :(
-Jenel

"marie" said...

Hi! I'm a long time fan of your blog. I wish that I had something like this with other Christian women. I was raised in the church and the Bible tells us to confess our sins to one another and be healed, but here in the South, I find that this kind of kinship and fellowship is not always possible. Religion here seems to be so high-pressure and full of judgement. I respect what you are doing, and given the emotional hardships I am facing, hope to be able to participate in something like it.

Sarah Dill said...

May I ask who you are, Marie? Thanks for reading my blog and commenting. I am very grateful for the group I have here. I hope you find some encouragement from my story.

"marie" said...

I am among many things a Tennessean, an oncology nurse, a writer at heart, and a struggling Christian. In short, I am no different than anyone else in your community. Thank you for being so honest and open about your own struggles.

kristina renae said...

sarah, i love you. thanks for helping me see that we really are 'part of one another.' thanks for letting Christ in you speak to me. and thanks for writing all this down to help us all remember. i'm looking forward to all the times to come.... :)