God creates community. Through faith in what Christ has done for us at the cross, we are adopted into the family of God. We don’t pick our friends; God chooses our brothers and sisters. We are united to one another through the blood of Christ and our friendship with each other is eternal.
My newest book, Closer Than a Sister, is about community and friendship. But not just any community or friendship. It’s about the relationship between women in the church.
I don’t know about you, but I need community. I need people I can turn to when life is hard, when I don’t know what to do, when I need a helping hand. I need people I can be real with, who accept me as I am, but who also know God won’t leave me as I am. I need people who share the same love for Jesus, who view the world and all our problems through the lens of Scripture, and who point me forward to my hope in eternity. I need people who will worship alongside me both in tears and in laughter.
I need my sisters in Christ.
Searching for Community
My journey to finding such community has been a long one and one that continues to this day.
My husband and I met at Covenant College over twenty years ago. The culture there was community centered. It was a small college so we all knew each other, or at least recognized each other as fellow students. We knew the professors well, and they knew us. Sometimes we even met for class in their homes. The RA’s on each hall in the dormitory often led hall devotions. We shared with our hallmates and roommates whatever we had, just like a family would do. We even had a day of prayer each semester where classes were cancelled and we gathered together as a community to pray.
In this environment, I learned and grew in my understanding of community and of our connectedness to one another as believers. I participated in my first accountability/prayer group there with two other girls. Many of the friends I made in college are still my closest friends today.
After I graduated and got married, we moved away from that tight-knit community. As we settled into our new town, new home, and new jobs, we also found a new church and expected to find the same kind of community we had in college. We didn’t. Sure, everyone was warm and kind and friendly. But it was hard to engage people at the level of honesty we were used to. At first we were discouraged. I missed my friends and my community. I despaired of ever finding a community where I could truly know others and also be known by my community.
Slowly, my husband and I came to realize that while our college had a ready-made community available for us, now that we were on our own, we would have to work to cultivate it ourselves.