Returning home from dinner with friends, my husband and I recounted what a good time we had. The food, the atmosphere, the conversation all played into a wonderful evening. Pondering the conversation, I mentioned to my husband that my friend Maggie really challenged my faith. In line with his normal good sense of humor, my husband responded, “Did she double dog dare you?” I chuckled.
That evening, Maggie and I spoke of an impending Matthew 18 “forgiveness” event that was stirring up a lot of emotions. The next few pages the Lord was writing in my life story were not going to be pleasant. I stood confiding in my dear friend that I just didn’t see the purpose. The offending party had a well-established pattern of spiritual abuse in the community, even if he did hold the title of pastor. He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. So what was the use of going through the pain of the experience?
But that’s when Maggie wisely told me what I needed to hear. Words that shifted my focus away from the hurt and pain I had experienced and toward the Scriptures. Not a recounting of Matthew 18, but a reminder of how gracious and loving our Lord is, how He uses situations like this to bring about His glory and my good. I had been stuck in a Eeyore rut and needed a faithful friend to challenge me and get my thinking back on the right track.
The Value of Community
A big piece of the puzzle in being successful as a mom, wife, and Christian woman is having a community in your life that can lovingly challenge you, directly or indirectly.
I remember when the kids were little, we’d be attending church and I’d watch interactions between other mothers and their children. I was encouraged to be more tenderhearted to my kids. There were times I would listen in on conversations with other mothers and be reminded of the gravity my daily actions and responses had — they really did matter.
Although I stress the importance of staying home when the kids are little ones, it’s also just important to find the time to join a Bible study, attend church, or get involved in some way that allows you the benefits the community of Christ brings into our lives. Sometimes it is dinner with friend or, in today’s fast-paced culture, a string of text messages while you’re nursing the baby. There are no rules to finding community. It’s just important to find it!
That evening, Maggie did what good friends do. She loved me. She recognized my fears and hurts and reminded me of my desire to do the right thing. She gently walked with me, being an example of Christ walking with me.
I cannot stress enough the importance of community. I challenge you to think about who you have in your life that propels you to the Gospel. If the list is lean, then you have a new objective: find community!