I love Rick Warren's book... Better Together. I must give him credit for my understanding of the word community, and for urging me to "dig in" to community. And I thank God (and Rick) that I did. We are much better people... together.
"We long to belong. The church is not something we go to, rather it's something we belong to-- a family of God's people. It's more than an organization, more than an institution, even more than a group of like-minded people. This sense of family togetherness allows us to create authentic Christian community... ..."
Our church did a 40 day study of Warren's "Better Together" in 2005. Because I was on staff I was asked to lead a small group. I did so reluctantly. I was a full-time graduate student, working part-time and planning a wedding. But Dave and I did it. Six years later, small group is still a huge part of our lives, and we cherish the... family... we have found there. And, while our church and small group is a major source of community, our community goes deeper than that. Our other brothers and sisters, some who come to church and some who don't, come along side us in life and serve an incredible, unique purpose.
Here's to incredible accountability in our marriage. Here's to "Friday Night Friends." Here's to friends that we can cry with, and for, and who cry for us. Here's to two people who we have gone to hell and back with. They would do it for us. And someday-- do you know what-- they will. That's how life works, dog-gone-it. Here's to the several other friends who fill the holes in our lives, who could fill the pages of this post if I only had the time (and pictures!).
Here's to all the people in our life taking on the joy of raising babies... together. Here's to people that we can talk to about diapers and discipline, anxiety and guilt, and a love that we never knew was possible. Here's to people who understand "keeping my identity" and "being great parents" and knowing that they conflict sometimes, but not always. Here's to the dream that our kids will grow up with friends who we love and know.
Maybe these two will be prom dates!
David and I love our actual, blood-born families. So, so much. (Stay tuned for a Here's To to them.) But we aren't co-dependent on them. Meaning we know that they can't meet all our needs. That's a lot to put on any one group of people. And that's why we live in community. That's why we open the book of our lives to the people God has put in our path-- no matter their last name.
Many of you read this blog. Most of you I did not mention by name. But we love you. We love, love, love you. We love "doing life" with you. We love the everyday. We love small group dinners, holding your kids, hearing about your families. And we love bringing you meals, celebrating your new job, seeing your new house. We're honored when you tell us your struggles. We're honored that you want us to be a part of your everyday, too.
"We love because God first loved us." 1 John 4:19.
On the journey.