Real Community, Real Life

For most of my life, I have been a pretty closed off person.

Of course, I appeared to be friendly and open.  If you invited me to your Pampered Chef party, I came (and I bought something).  I took my kids to playgroups and cub scouts and fraternized with the other moms.  I took my pretty Bible to Bible studies, nodding and taking notes at the appropriate times.

But if you expected me to open up and tell you what was really going on in my life?  Fuhhgetaboutit!

Why would I tell people that my marriage was falling apart?

That our son was spiraling out of control?

That medical expenses were close to rendering us bankrupt?

That I hadn’t spoken to my dad in 13 years?

My life was ugly on the inside and I had a hard time letting people see that.

Standing on the stage and singing on the worship team does not a good Christian make.

When everything came crashing down around me and I allowed God to strip away those defensive coping mechanisms that kept people at arms length, the meaning of community changed for me and my family.

Now, in an ironic “it’s a God thing” turn of events, my husband and I are the Biblical Community (aka small group) directors at our church.

Community, real community, is a beautiful, precious gift from God.

Community is not relegated to the walls of a church building but rather lives in and through the hearts of the people God weaves into your life.

The friend God places in your path, that shares a passion neither of you knew you had and births a ministry for you to share.

The friend God gives you that provides clarity, accountability and the freedom to dream God sized dreams with.

The friend that makes you laugh.

The friend that lets you cry.

The friend that you can not see for five years and you still pick up just where your hearts left off because you are sisters in Christ.

The friends that have been there, done that and encourage you in your life stage, with the promise that “it gets easier”

The friends that are where you once were, who allow you to speak encouragement into their lives.

The friends that mentor you, speak the hard truth to you and teach you through their words, but most importantly, through their actions.

The friends that don’t take “fine” for an answer.

Community is comprised of the people around us, who if we allow them to, can administrate God’s love to us and to them through us in a myriad of beautiful, imperfect ways.

No judgment, no expectations, just love and friendship and acceptance.  Living out real life, the good, the bad and the ugly.  That is real community.

Are you a part of a real community?





  1. Beautifully said!

  2. Kristine McGuire says:

    Wow. I can relate to everything you’ve said in this post. Isn’t it funny how we close ourselves off to the very people who are meant to walk the Christian faith journey with us? I love how God works these things out in our lives too. Great post!

  3. A beautiful post, Melissa! I love your authenticity. I’m sure you’re a wonderful group leader. I don’t know what I’d do without my Christian community. They make such a big difference in my life.

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