The Importance of Community

Personal

Leaving Rochester was hard.

A lot harder than I would have expected when first moving there. I don’t miss the weather or lack of restaurant choices, but I miss my friends, especially my close girlfriends. I met women there that have truly impacted me forever. While living there, I did try to constantly give thanks to God that He placed such wonderful women in my life, but it wasn’t until the day we were saying goodbye to everyone that it hit me how much apart of my life they were. I cried saying goodbye and cried in the car as I drove away with a deep ache in my heart I was doubtful would go away. My friends had become my family and leaving them was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

I’ve had a lot of friends growing up, but none quite like these. They prayed with me, encouraged me, sent me scripture and worship songs that reminded them of me, shared their testimony and pain with me and in return, I did all the same with them. I had never known what it was like to have such intentional relationships, but living in Rochester, I learned what real, authentic community was:

They affirmed in me that there is no shame in my testimony, but rather it’s a victorious story meant to be shared to encourage others. They taught me that God will speak to me, I just need to listen. They reminded me that God has a very clear purpose for me in life, I just need to trust and be confident in His character. They showed me marriages that are wonderful, glorious, and sanctifying so to model the relationship between Christ and the church. They modeled for me what it is like to be a mother who loves and serves selflessly, but is also strong and influential.

Sure, I could have learned these things by reading a book or listening to a sermon, but there was something so impactful about having women gathered around me who knew me and spoke truth into me. There is a reason Jesus had disciples: we aren’t meant to do life alone. We need people to share life’s victories and trials with.

In this new season of living in Asheville I’ve definitely felt the sadness and impact of not having my close friends nearby. There are little things I do or don’t do, think, or say now because I don’t have their constant encouragement and accountability. But joining a Connect Group at my church is slowly changing that. I am once again surrounded by women who love the Lord and speak about Him with such honesty and zeal, that I can’t help but feel encouraged and filled up. Community is often something that is brushed aside in the church, but I’m here to tell you that it’s important. For our own good, we need to seek to be surrounded by others who love Jesus. It’ll change you forever.

Nicole

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