Community Brings Light in Dark Times
Community is so much more important to us now because we can remember times that we didn’t have it. Our Community Group has not only become our dear friends, but also people who remind me of the truth of God when I most need it.
My husband Jonathan and I started attending Providence a little over five years ago, but it took us a while to join a Community Group. I remember feeling nervous and excited all at the same time when we first visited our current Community Group. We were immediately greeted with welcoming smiles from men and women who genuinely seemed to care about each other and their families and who also didn’t mind welcoming our family of five to their already sizable group.
I felt connected to the women in the group almost immediately. When you get people together who all love Jesus, differences seem to fade. You forget that you’re a good 10 years older than the cute, newly-married girl who longs to glean bits of wisdom from the momma who is a few steps ahead of you in parenting. You enjoy a conversation that doesn’t revolve around diapers with a single friend, and you receive encouragement from women who are right there in the trenches with you in their own marriage and motherhood.
We met every other week, and we became more invested in each other’s lives. They knew my children’s names, asked me about my week, and were a friendly face at church on Sunday mornings.
Around that time, Jonathan began looking for a new job with a possibility for us to move back to Fort Worth where we both grew up, and we also found out that we were pregnant again. With so many new changes on the horizon, we felt hopeful about his job change and our growing little family.
On February 20, 2013, I really understood the love and strength of community. As I drove to my first doctor’s appointment, the women in our Community Group texted me to say that they were praying for me and asked me to let them know how the appointment went. Within the first 10 minutes of my appointment, I was given the news that our baby did not have a heartbeat. I remember calling Jonathan to let him know the devastating news, and then I texted those same women. Phone calls, texts with typed-out prayers, and meals were provided over the next few days. They walked with me through one of the darkest times of my life, but they brought so much light and truth over the weeks and months ahead.
Along with losing our baby, the Lord clearly closed the door on the opportunity to move to Fort Worth. Again, we were saddened, but there was also such a sweetness about the Lord’s timing.
The word “loss” continued to be a theme over the next few months, but during that time we gained true community at a fragile moment in our lives.
Since then, those men and women helped us move into a new home, celebrated with us as we became pregnant again and brought our fourth baby home, and constantly support as believers on a regular basis.
Community is so much more important to us now because we can remember times that we didn’t have it. Our Community Group has not only become our dear friends, but also people who remind me of the truth of God when I most need it. By being an active part of our Community Group and by being transparent with my sin, those women hold me accountable and ask tough questions and encourage me when I can’t see past myself. Being in community means showing up each week, ready to share and learn more about Jesus and what he is doing in the lives of our group.
Since then, we’ve added several new people to our Community Group, some of whom are new to our church, while others have been attending Providence for years. I’m excited to welcome more people to our group!
If you haven’t joined a Community Group at Providence, I encourage you not to miss out on being in community with other believers. We’re all forgetful of what God has done for us, and we need each other.
Editor’s Note: Join Ashlee and the team at the next Community Group Launch from 4-5:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 13. You’ll get to meet Community Group leaders, hear why it’s important to be in community with fellow believers, and sign up for a Community Group. We look forward to meeting you and getting you plugged in to community at Providence!