Community.

I’m stuck on a pithy title for this one, so we’ll just roll with it.

I have talked before about the clarity, leading, and ultimately, the peace and joy, that my husband and I have experienced as a result of our transition in life over this last six months. Yes, today marks SIX MONTHS in our beautiful home and separated ourselves from the life, culture, stability, and lifestyle that we knew for many years.

Initially, looky-loos came out of the woodwork to be nosy and try to “get the dirt” on why we had voluntarily resigned, as it did come to a shock to a lot of people that didn’t know our unhappiness and discontent. But, of course, when there wasn’t any juicy details or any drama involved, those faces quickly vanished. Not shocking. It’s how people work.

My husband and I ask each other every couple of days, sometimes jokingly, sometimes seriously, if there’s anything that we miss of “our old life,” and other than naming a small handful of specific people who we actually don’t miss because we maintain relationship with them, we haven’t been able to come up with anything yet. I’ve grieved and wrestled with this thought because in six months I can’t come up with a single thing that I miss from what I spent the majority of my life pouring myself into–at the sacrifice of my health, my family, and a lot of other things I value. I’ve even grieved that other than the relationships we’ve put the time into caring for, we’ve vaporized from that world. Totally ghosted. I’ve gone into that place a lot of, “maybe I didn’t make the impact I thought/they said I did.”

But…and we know with me, there’s always a but…

This is why I’m so grateful for community. And SO MANY communities that collide and coincide that build me up, that I can serve, and that just exist on so many different levels for so many different purposes. (And I’m positive I’m going to miss more than a few here.)

Backing up to my previous statement before my “but,” I know that’s a can of lies that Satan has somehow beautifully manufactured in my head to help derail me from continuing to walk in God’s incredible plan for us–for me. Not that everyday has been sunshine and roses, it’s hard and it’s work, but let me tell you, I can write a novel based on the last six months with the title being simply Romans 15:13, because lemme tell you–I’ve got joy coming out of my ears! And I’ve always said it, and just because my business card is different now, my mission is not changed–I’m in the hope business.

But I don’t come to these magical realizations on my own or just in my personal devotional time…boy I wish I was that smart, I’d be a millionaire by now. It comes in the communities that I’ve immersed myself in, yes, even in this time of COVID-19. I can realize the lies I’m telling myself sometimes just from a post-it note that I have on one of my computer monitors from a workshop I attended with a quote that says, “Are you making it up or is it true?” (Rhonda Britten) How did I find this workshop? It’s a series presented by two amazing women that personalities jive with mine, that are incredibly loving and supportive, that I met in all places–my business coaching community! (want to check out the workshops, check out my friends Kelly and Terry!)

Now let’s talk about my business coaching community. This is not just business coaching my friends, this is fast becoming a big family of women. I have not only had many opportunities of learning and growth, but chances just to meet other women and get exposure to so, so, so many different types of businesses, network, exchange ideas, and fellowship. In this time where face-to-face meeting isn’t happening, it’s been nice to hop on meetings and catch up and learn about people I might not even get a chance to meet as rapidly as I would if we were doing business “normally.” (If you’re a woman in business and are looking for community, check out the Thriving Women in Business Community. There’s literally thousands of women to connect with there from every possible field of business. Just don’t forget to answer the questions to get in the group, Caterina doesn’t admit people without them to prevent bots/spam)

Communities of support. Countless friends to vent to, bounce ideas off of, and hear about how they are doing has been so important. Connecting with old friends and acquaintances with similar shared experiences has been important too in this healing process of sorts. I have communities I’ve been a part of for many years like my friend Natalie Forsythe’s Path To Food Freedom as I’ve continued my intuitive eating journey and healing from eating disorders, and so many others that I’m brand new to and enjoying so much, like Annette Bond and her Reveal Your Radiance Style Academy. (Let me tell you, I learned SOOOO much to feel great about my wardrobe, putting together an amazing outfit, and feeling great in my clothes–I knew I needed something like this after so many years in a uniform, but this was way better than I possibly anticipated!).

And most important in our (me and my husband’s) lives, our faith community. We were extremely intentional in our choice on where we would worship. We wanted somewhere that completely aligned with our beliefs and was clear on their positioning when issues arise. Yes, the church and political issues collide and it can’t be avoided. We need to be able to discuss these things, and have an avenue to discuss them through the lens of our faith. We were familiar with our church we have chosen, as from previously living here working with them as part of the ministerial association, being friends with the pastor and his wife, and seeking pastoral guidance, and knew much of the congregation from united ministerial association events, and felt very loved and a good fit. We also had great respect for this church and their congregation because they did a big, bold thing several years ago–in a nutshell, they did not feel the positions that the PCUSA were taking were aligning any longer biblically/doctrinally and so they went through the process as a UNITED congregation to graciously separate themselves from the PCUSA and align themselves with the ECO. To have sat on the sidelines and watch that process and talked with friends that are elders in the church as they went through this, I still sit in awe–I feel sometimes like the world should be flocking to churches like this that have really taken the time to explore as a unit what they value and stand firm it. And after several months of being unanimously approved as members (thanks COVID-19), my husband and I finally got to be presented to the congregation this last Sunday–and that felt really, really special to “belong” in a place we love dearly.

Like I said, I could name communities all day long–and miss many in the process! I’m curious, what communities do you hold dear?

1 thought on “Community.”

  1. The change in your very spirit is SO visible – the joy kind of oozes out of you, even just in photos. The how’s and why’s of what you went through to get to this place are difficult (those bits and pieces you have shared with me over time were painful loads you bore), but it can’t be denied you are blooming and thriving. It’s beautiful to see you so healthy in body, mind and spirit!!

    Like

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