Monday, October 1, 2012

On Community in the Unexpected

Okay twenty-something year old, post under-grad, full-time employed, studying some more, waiting for husband/wife, trying to love Jesus more brothers and sisters—how do we do this whole community thing well? It's something I've really been battling lately.

Trying to migrate upwards, out of the late nights and nap-filled days of studying and living way too close, I find myself lost in a world that I spent so much time waiting for. Now I wonder why?

There is work confined to hours which start far too early and extend way past my own personal ability to remain still and alone under the freezing AC vent that looms over my head with this screen as my company, and yet I am growing up. There is the studying that lingers, the studying to finish my degree that seems to fall about the 25th hour. Then there is a bit of sleep, not enough argues my adopted mamma who teaches me to value it. Those are the necessities.

I would argue, though, that even more then the salary and the degree and the shut eye—I need community. I need people. I need people who are messy and don't have all the answers but talk hope into my weariness. I need the body and the Bride and I need to hear the gospel lived out.

And in this awkward stage of life it is hard to know where it is, and yet it is everywhere.

We all need it more then we want to admit because hope in brokenness breathes life when we are one. 

Community is everywhere--and so I ask, where do you spend most of your time?

For me, my time is at work, at home, with my international friends, and in the church. In that order, too.

I never saw it coming and while I've been busy searching for it everywhere but here, it has found me and reeled me in. I have fought and unlatched only to get bound up and find myself in the midst of it, of this community of saints and sinners, brought together by a paycheck which bears the same name. It's funny how God just does that sometimes. Puts you with people you would see on the street and pass right by.

Some of us have more hurt then words will ever tell, breathing grace in and out. Others are so blinded and broken, suffocating without it. But here we are, a family God ordained for this season of time. Truthfully, it's not the customer or the big deals with Walmart or the craft competitions that bring me here everyday--its the people, its the community, its the body and my need for it, my role in it.

Community seems to be actually quite unpredictable, but on purpose.

I am thankful for that, that His ways are higher and that the Bride comes to life in the business world as much as she does underground. We get fifteen minutes a day to read some bible and pray together corporately and this time gives me eyes to see these people like the body that they are. It is a sword that pierces and we live because of it. It always reveals something, I learn too.

Community is inescapable. No matter how much you screwed up last night or how dark your morning--it knows when one is missing and seeks him out until he is found. Community is confrontation in love because it's outpouring of truth preveils past the sting of death and points us heavenbound.

Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. -Romans 12:9-10

When we ask for prayer requests, they are never lacking. Neither is the praise. We approach the throne, all in need of grace and mercy and wisdom. A cord of us unbroken, so much stronger then going at it alone. A voice echoing praise and thanksgiving, grief and pain, answers and a will to be done. Meanwhile the chorus amening in unison. Some days I don't feel like talking to Jesus and yet community is not about me, so I open my lips and He fills them with praise. I am so thankful.

Four of us ladies (and wives of co-workers), we gather at BSF every Tuesday night and during lunch we trudge through the homework. We are all in such different seasons of life, have such different stories and yet here we are...brought together by this company but only united by Christ.

We are serious most of the time, serving in the mundane and working for the glory of God. But I know that as we pass one another in the hall and smile, even there in that moment the light cannot be overcome. Let's walk to the bathroom, to the printer in prayer, we all need Him more and some of us have never met Him. Community is continually interceding and not about me.

Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. -Phil. 2:4

At work community happens outside of the office too. It means birthdays celebrated every month as we gather around our table and bow our heads to give thanks for the one we celebrate this day. It means a trip to KC to watch the Chiefs lose in celebration of our five years of existence as a business, as a family. It happens in the Razorback games and sweet summer nights around my boss's pool as the kiddos splash and joy lingers well into the night. It is the babies we bless with gifts and prayers, the child in India in need of a new hip. We give sacrificially and we trust God with our giving. Maybe the boy will walk again. Community.

It helps us all remember to press on sometimes.

I see it in the lunches with his wife as we talk real life and I am encouraged in my youth. It is there as kids come by and call the co-workers aunt and uncle because that's our family. We watch each other's dogs and we don't like cats much. Our company is growing from it's meager start, and so we rejoice. We pray for meetings and we try to get ahead of the trends. We pray for his daughter to return home and for my friend who lost a baby and for sickness and jobs lost and international students. We walk through it together and we know the behind the smile.

Community is everywhere and I am beginning to see it, in all of it's unstructured, unpredictable, unrelenting glory.

Tonight as I write six little ones are asleep in this house and I get the joy & responsibility of watching them for the weekend while their mamma and daddy are in Haiti. They are my boss's kids and we go to the park and I watch little boy football games and we stay up late watching movies and eat cookie dough straight from the tube and this too, is community.

I love these kids and I am so thankful for this because it is changing me and refining me and calling me out and talking hope and life and I know love here.

Community serves as a shepard for the lonesome and a tomb unblocked for the dead. Community points us to life in Christ, for He is the perfect Shepard, the risen King.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." -John 13:34-35

Thankful for Amber—no one writes quite like her. Check her out over here and her series on Community over here. 

and a few pix from the weekend....
Samantha and I watching lil man play football

This is how you take 15 kids to the park...on a rope

Yes, 15 of them!!

As we walked to the park, they were singing songs and all the old people at
the nursing home came out to watch us walk hilarious.

Cookie dough inside a cupcake...yum.

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