Where Faith, Life, and Community Intersect
“…if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:12
I’m a community member…I love being in a group, exchanging ideas, growing in faith, exploring our stories…together!
The Beginnings of Community
I think it started when I was a little girl. I am the second of five kids who were born in the short span of seven years. We were a little like a pack of puppies…and sometimes like a pack of wild animals, according to my parents. But we were a community; a group who loved, laughed, and cried together. We were a group who shared many happy moments—barbecues, Sunday services, summer vacations, holidays packed with traditions. And we were a group who shared many difficult times—the devastating death of our beloved grandmother who lived with us for seven blessed years, the embattled marriage that dissolved into divorce, the everyday trials and challenges that are part of life.
We did all this together, as a family, living in community.
The Widening Circle
Of course, my community didn’t end with my family. It widened over the years. There have been lots of groups: college groups, church groups, parenting groups, and more along the way.
Sometimes the groups have been like-minded and pretty much on the same page. And sometimes the groups have come together to discover great differences. Sometimes the groups have involved hundreds of people, and sometimes the group has been a party of two. But always the groups have been valuable—nurturing, expanding, encouraging, challenging, deepening, broadening, loving—in one, some, or many ways.
One Life Matters
A funny thing has happened through all this group activity. I’ve really discovered the value of one. Each person, even the quiet one who rarely speaks up, has something important to say. Every one has a story, a big life story…and many smaller life moments woven in. Our lives and the stories they tell hold nuggets of truth, the wisdom of experience, insight of life lessons, emotions we may feel alone in, but share.
The Value of Sharing
I believe through telling and exchanging our stories, we can illuminate some of the darkness, the unknown, the puzzling things of life. And as we share, our eyes and hearts are opened, our thoughts are broadened. We learn, we grow, we stretch.
Faith In and Through All
And where does faith fit in? Well everywhere. Because God is everywhere…ever present. He’s in the purposes and plans that have unfolded throughout our lives. He’s the light in the darkness. He’s the ultimate object of the deepest connection we seek. He’s the orchestrator of our lives. He is faithful and worthy to be praised, as our Creator, protector, and healer, Father, brother, and Spirit.
So join me and Kim and many other women for this next leg of the journey. Join us as we share our stories here at Circles of Faith.
Let’s get the conversation going…
How are you experiencing faith in community right now? What’s your story?
Elise has been married for 28 years and is mom to four mostly grown girls. She is a writer, editor, writing coach, and blogger. She believes we all have stories that matter--big life bios and small meaningful moments. Elise believes our stories are a reflection of God’s glory and are meant to be shared. They have the power to inform, reform, and transform. She loves God, familly, friends...and really likes travel!