18 In Community

Simply Loving A Community

I have been fortunate to have a large community of people around me, especially over the last 17 years.  We come together during the week, and on Sundays, to give praise and glory to the One who is worthy.  We serve one another, with arms extended, and hearts exposed.  It hasn’t always been perfect community, but then again, people are not perfect.  Some would expect perfection within the boundaries of church community.  But I disagree.  We must be allowed to show ourselves as we truly are — imperfect, messy, selfish and dissatisfied — and we must be allowed to do so without being judged, without being made to feel inferior, less than, or undesired.  I am fortunate that I have found such a place.  Have I been hurt in this community?  Absolutely!  Have I hurt others?  Probably so.  But life is lived in the tension, and without it there is no stretching of the muscle of love that holds a community together.

About five years ago, I came upon another community that I am privileged and honored to be a part of.  We write, we create, we do art together.  We encourage, pray and lift one another up.  I come, continually to the table of this community and eat until I am satisfied. Although this community can never take the place of my communion with the One who gives me all things, this community has satisfied an ache deep inside my heart to belong.  For this one who felt as if she had no voice, no craft, no way of expressing the vast array of feelings that flowed deep within, she has found her voice in this community.

We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community. — Dorothy Day

As I continue to work on my One Word focus this year, one of the things I am learning is to simply love.  There need be no place of striving among a community of women whose main purpose is to bring glory and honor to God, and whose secondary purpose is to encourage the heart of another woman.  As I come and partake of the richness of that which is laid before me in words, my heart is fuller.

But how do I give back?  How do simply love a community, especially that which is unseen, yet fully heard?  These sisters, several of whom I have had the honor of meeting “in real life”, yet there are others whose necks I long to hug, like hers, and hers, and hers and oh there are so many.  I have been given a rich blessing from this community of women who have opened their arms wide to me, and welcomed me in.  They have encouraged me through comments, emails and prayers.  Some days I’m not sure if they will be there in the morning, when I log on, but they always are.  They show love and acceptance to this one with the ache deep inside her heart.

To simply love a community, one must be willing to be vulnerable, to open up her own life, to expose that which is imperfect and messy.  One must be willing to take the time to build and strengthen the walls of community that has been so richly laid before her.

As a step in this direction, I am so excited to be attending my first (in)courage IRL conference!  We, from all over the world, will come together via webcast on Friday, and then we will meet one another across the globe at various locations, to simply love on one another. I am so honored and privileged to get to spend a day with this one who has so encouraged my heart.  There I will meet, along with others, laying my heart bare, exposed, allowing myself to be simply loved as I simply love others in return.  If you are in Northern California, you can register to be with us.  But if not, there are many other meet ups happening all around the world.  Click here to learn more about (in)RL. Click here to register.

Will you take a moment to watch the video below, to see how women are coming together all around the world to simply love on one another?  I hope you will come along and allow this community of believers to simply love you right where you are!

 

Linking with (in)courage today and Melanie for our One Word focus check in.

*This post is part of a challenge to blog every weekday in the month of April.  You can read more about it here.

Life In Bloom

18 Comments

  • Reply
    Amanda
    April 16, 2013 at 5:58 am

    Hi Barbie! I’m clicking over from the incourage linkup, and love this cozy space you’ve made here. 🙂 I love your words about finding your voice and being vulnerable. I think as women, those are some of the hardest things we can do, and also some of the most important! Thanks for sharing your story and your encouragement.
    Amanda recently posted..A God who sees, a people who see, & being “in”

    • Reply
      Barbie
      April 16, 2013 at 5:16 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Amanda. Looking forward to visiting your space soon!

  • Reply
    Debbie
    April 16, 2013 at 6:18 am

    Thanks for the reminder on the One Word check in. And I plan to tune in for the (in)courage conference this weekend. Last year was such a blessing for me. I still wear my t-shirt from that event.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

    PS. I am also thankful for our blogging community. I cannot tell you how many times a post written by another will bless me or be just what I needed to read. And how I’ve been encouraged through private emails from bloggers. And I have to add how sweet it is when I get to meet in person a fellow blogger …like you Barbie.
    Debbie recently posted..Grateful for Tender Moments

    • Reply
      Barbie
      April 16, 2013 at 5:16 pm

      So glad you get to tune in! It’s actually NEXT weekend, the 26th and 27th. I am thankful that I got to meet you in person. You are truly a gift.

  • Reply
    Rachael
    April 16, 2013 at 9:06 am

    I soooo wish I could join you for the conference! I am not far. I grew up in the bay area and am only 3 hours away! Maybe next time! I have a ladies “community” tea going on that afternoon for my own church. I really should be there. Blessings to you, Barbie! I find such truth and comfort in your words! Love, Rachael @ Inking the Heart
    Rachael recently posted..5 – Minute Friday –

    • Reply
      Barbie
      April 16, 2013 at 5:17 pm

      Oh girl, would love to meet you. Perhaps we can plan a day when we can meet up half way. I’ve done it with other bloggers and it’s such a gift to meet in person. Have a blessed week.

      • Reply
        Rachael
        April 16, 2013 at 8:38 pm

        Would you really????? I have all summer off. I grew up in San Jose/Gilroy. I can come to you no problem. We will talk more when summer gets closer:)
        Rachael recently posted..5 – Minute Friday –

        • Reply
          Barbie
          April 16, 2013 at 10:28 pm

          Absolutely! Oh how fun. Let’s touch base then as summer draws near! Woo hoo!

  • Reply
    Child of God
    April 16, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Hi Barbie,
    Opening up and being vulnerable is tough indeed. Have fun with this online community meeting.

    Blessings sister
    Child of God recently posted..Winter Is Not Over Yet

    • Reply
      Barbie
      April 16, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      It is hard, but God is showing me that even in blogging it takes a certain level of vulnerability and transparency. Love you girl!

  • Reply
    Rosann
    April 16, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Oh Barbie, how I wish I were close enough to be a part of your in(RL) community. I must agree with you that the blogging community is indeed special and has written its way into my heart as I’ve grown close to so many amazing writers. Yourself included! 🙂
    Rosann recently posted..When Cancer Shakes Our Family…

    • Reply
      Barbie
      April 16, 2013 at 10:30 pm

      Oh Rosann, I pray one day the Lord would have us to meet. You’ve been such an encouragement in my life. Thank you for taking my hand and walking this journey alongside of me.

  • Reply
    Missy
    April 17, 2013 at 5:29 am

    I am hosting one at my home, here in NH, and I am SO looking forward to it! There are, seriously, only 3 women out of 12 that I know. So this opportunity to broaden my community is exciting. I so wish I lived in CA, though. I”ll be sending virtual hugs to all of you ladies!
    Missy recently posted..We Need More Sock Puppets

    • Reply
      Barbie
      April 17, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      I’m so glad you are having a meet up! Praying your time together is a blessing!

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates
    April 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Such a lovely post Barbie! We are blessed by some of the amazing communities we are part of – and of course they aren’t perfect! Your posts have been wonderful as always! Looking forward to (in)RL!

    I finally got a challenge recap up, so come on by and link up when you have a chance!
    Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates recently posted..Stop And Write A Blog Post Mid-Month Recap {April Blogging Challenge}

    • Reply
      Barbie
      April 17, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      I linked up to the recap! Have a blessed tomorrow!

  • Reply
    (in)courage
    April 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Yay!!! So glad you’ll be part of (in)RL!

  • Reply
    Lisa @ four simply living
    April 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    This is EXCITING! I meant to comment when I read it, but got lost in retreat stuff. I am so inwardly jealous of you… how super fun! You are such a blessing, I hope you are blessed by your (in)RL time 😀
    Lisa @ four simply living recently posted..Lean In, All is Grace

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