Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Community. Really.



I’ve said it twice already today.. it might be time for a real schedule around here.  We’ve been loosey goosey since December 19th-- no bedtimes, no wake up calls, 2 meals a day or 3, depending on what time we got going.  Pretty sure I am done with that.  I’ll be ready again in March but now, it’s really time.

Last night, I went to bed with people overload- sort of crashed (but no burn).  Jeff, my prince, came to the rescue and whisked the kids away this afternoon and I am blessed.  While catching up on my computer, I saw an interesting article that I wasn’t sure how to take on this particular day.  It was great-- wonderfully written but basically told us mommies to lay off our complaining and whining because “we signed up for this”.  Here’s the link that’s worth your read but it didn’t help my struggle with receiving Jeff’s gift of some solitude.  I did sign up for this and I LOVE family life.  I am in a role of a lifetime.  I am also a person who needs time to regroup and re-energize..... alone.  Praying I always use those times wisely.

I spent a bulk of my time thinking through and writing the update for my community group.  I would love to tell you about that.  Our community group formed late last spring and we’ve spent a bulk of our time just getting to know one another by hearing each person’s stories.  Everyone has one, right?  And I love a good story.  I’ve been a part of a few “community groups” in my life and as we began to get to know Watermark a couple of years ago, I mentioned to Jeff that EVERY time we were at church, or a meeting or a conference, “community” was ALWAYS highlighted.  Any testimony we heard revolved around the person’s community and how their people had played a role in their story or situation.  Even the senior pastor had stories of how his community had played big roles in his marriage and ministry-- admonishment, support, correction etc.  This had me curious-- wondering how it all would translate in Fort Worth with a new campus.

A year later on a new campus, it’s still the highlight.

Just after a handful of meetings with my new group, I saw the difference.  We have two couples in our group that experienced community while serving at Watermark in Dallas and they have led us well.  When someone mentioned a struggle, a date was set for the men to meet and offer support and counsel.  When a conflict arose, a date was set to talk it through.  When parenting issues made one want to throw their hands up, a date was set for other parents to step in and encourage the child.

Then the emails started.  This may be one of my favorite parts-- and the men started it, following the example of the elders in Dallas.  In order to stay more connected during the week, we send out an email that covers the big stuff like. what we are reading in the Word and what we are learning, what we are praying through, how our marriage is doing, what we are memorizing, who we are reaching out to and just how life is going in general.  Some weeks, some updates are shorter than others but other weeks many details are shared.  It encourages me so to hear from all of them-- and humbles me so to hear their hearts, their struggles, and their victories.

Things like this:

Grace:  Because of His grace, ________________are able to go back to school encouraged and full of the life He promises (John 10:10), ready to live in a harsh land and be a light (Matt 5:16).  And my faith has grown.  Praise God for He is good. 

Word: Another struggle here but so thankful for The Journey. I have began with Join the Journey and really look forward to what is to come each day. I need some accountability in this area so in encourage you all to ask and challenge me where I am. 

Word:  I do terrible with time in the Word when we travel.  Terrible.  I ALWAYS take a BAG FULL of great stuff and rarely take it out.  It's my loss completely, but I never seem to improve on this neglect when we are out of town.  

Prayer:  Praying for daily opportunity to share Christ. Praying to bless my wife with kind words / strong leadership and for her to know I cherish her. Pray to be where I am and totally enjoy my family today .

Marriage:  I am praying for me to manage the busyness so that home is a sanctuary of rest and restoration for my husband and that his love for the Lord shows in all of the public forums he has -- this is his mission field and a great opportunity to witness.

So good stuff, yes?  From the men and the women-- so if you read here very often, you can imagine when I type mine, I have to remember-- KEEP IT SHORT.  And I haven’t been as consistent as I’d like to be.  Weekly comes around fast!

But as I read from each one, even though I know transparency is expected, I feel the words are sacred.  When someone shares from the heart, especially if what is shared pains one to do so, I feel a responsibility to protect the words or the feelings behind the words or more importantly, the person who spoke the words.

Community.  It’s where real change happens with people who love you - ALL of what makes you, YOU.  No matter what you bring to the table.  Loved enough to call you out.  Loved enough to say the harder things.  Loved enough to think it’s a disservice to you NOT to be in community with other believers.

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