The Gift of Community

If one can put 1,000 to flight, then 2 can put 10,000 (Deut. 32:30)…

New Years found me surrounded by love and friendship which really is the best way to be found.  The evening before I stayed up ’til the wee hours of the morning talking to one of my closest friends.  I have known this woman for 11 years and simply adore her.  There is no one like her.  I adore all of her random bunny trails, the way she carefully takes her time to think about what she says before she says it (I really wish I had that character trait), even her “double 07″, top-secret nature.  The core of who she is has not changed in 11 years and its nice to find comfort in those things that don’t change.

Quality time with friends is such a gift and unfortunately I have not always appreciated that gift.  I’ve heard it said that “singleness is a gift” and while I can understand what folks mean when they make this statement, I usually have to fight the urge not to roll my eyes when they say it (can I be 100% honest?).  But I think the truth of the matter is, there are gifts found in this season.  The gift of community and friendship is definitely one of them.  Not everyone’s experience in singleness is the same, just as not everyone’s experience in marriage is the same.  What is true for me in my experience, is that God has been blessing me with community ever since I first developed a covenant relationship with Him. This gift of community has aided and abetted my spiritual growth in monumental ways.

New Years Day only reiterated that I am loved and blessed with friendship.  Myself and 5 other women partook of biscuits, turkey bacon, assorted fruit, scrambled eggs, as well as delicious fellowship.  We have all been facing our own challenges in our individual walks with God so coming together was edifying and refreshing.  We reflected on the year behind us, what we had learned, and what we desired to experience this upcoming year, sealing those desires with a toast of sparkling cider.  Looking at these woman I realized their value in my own life.  Part of maturation is recognizing the value of something.  So often I find myself disregarding the value of what I have and focusing only on the value of what I do not have, and what I want.  I tend to minimize the gifts God has given me as a result.  A child does not recognize the value of quality items.  That is why a 5 year old thoughtlessly plays with, and ultimately breaks a priceless vase or will dirty the walls/furniture of a brand new home with mud covered hands.  They have no understanding of the cost of those items, simply because they did not pay for them.  Maybe I have not truly valued the relationships in my life because I did not pay for them.

Christ did.

He paid for every single person’s soul who I am connected with.  He poured out His love as a drink offering so that they would know Him, and grow in Him.  He then extended His covenant with them to meso that they would know me, and grow with me.  As much as I have longed to be released from this city, I know that this city holds one of the greatest gifts for me in this season, which is love.  Love shown through those whom God has given me to call my own.  Most are not blood related, but they are related by His blood.  I value the hours and hours of fellowship I receive from my spiritual family.  Talking until 4am with my brothers last weekend on a Saturday night after we hit up the karaoke bar, talking to my oldest and dearest friend on New Years Day during my drive from Cincinnati, receiving a text from my Florida BFF sharing her love for me, having my friend all the way from Haiti check on me during my drive home.

All of these things mean the world to me.

10 years ago I was consumed by a man.  I made that man my world.  I put him before my family.  I put him before my friends.  I made the grave mistake of thinking that that was the only relationship that could fulfill me.  God, in His love and mercy, pried my fingers away from my tight grip on him.  He then turned me around and led me on the road less traveled.  He has brought many alongside me to walk on that road and I am grateful.  Now that I know the cost.  Now that I am beginning to understand the price that was paid to have them here with me.

My friend, who is going through a really difficult time right now shared a wise insight.  She recognized that maybe she does not have the finances and resources she desires, and even needs in this season, but what she does have is time.  Time to help others and be productive in different areas of her life.

What is it that you have that you have not been grateful for?  What is it that you do not have that you have allowed the desire for, to overshadow the current blessings in your life?

Do you desire to have more community in your life?  I agree in prayer that this year that you will find that gift, even in the most unexpected places…It may be right in front of you.  Pray for eyes to SEE.

SHALOM

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