My friend Marianne was talking over the coffee grinder as we continued to chat non-stop about where life has taken us in the past year. Those of you who are regulars to Vintage & Soul Co. know who Marianne is. We had a little podcast called "The Lipstick Campaign" back in the day. The premise of it was a conversation over coffee with a friend to chat about everything from holiday preparations to matters of social justice. It's been a while since we got together, so we had a lot to catch up on.
If you don't know my friend Marianne of @whitepeachpottery, you need to! It's impossible to leave her home without feeling blessed, loved, and shaking a bit from all of the good coffee she makes. As a former professional barista, you just can't get anything better in this town!
Our conversation was refreshing to the soul and uplifting to my creative being which, if I am being honest, has been a bit starved lately. The daily grind of sleep, wake, kids, meals, house, work, commitments, and errands can leave you feeling like a machine.
Our conversation really inspired me (and believe me, it's hard to step away from Marianne without feeling inspired) to continue to pursue the things that have been on my heart lately---this page being one of them. After experiencing the refreshing breeze of time spent in community, I was reminded of how much we need it!
While the blog is a place to pour out the journals of our hearts, this page is a place where we get into the everyday with each other. From recipes to meals plans and DIY projects to family vacations, life is happening all around us all the time and nothing makes it more worthwhile than journeying together. The sharing of experiences and ideas inspires us in our own interests and goals. When we can't think of one more meal idea or well up with tears when we can't take one more day of potty training, the people in our community can lend a hand, be the voice of reason, share ideas, and offer tissues and chocolate.
Community in a deeper sense is precious and necessary! We have a blog entry coming down the pipeline soon about a woman whose world was turned upside down and how her faith community walked with her during that really difficult time. Her written piece makes the perfect case for why community is so very important. God even says in His Word that "two are better than one." He created Eve because He said that it wasn't good for Adam to be alone. We weren't just created for fellowship with God, we were created for fellowship with other human beings.
But there can also be barriers to having deep community. Barriers that we put up ourselves or that have come from past experiences.
I would encourage you to seek community where it can be found even if it's online. In our modern day and age, there are many groups that conduct online bible studies and forums where women from all walks of life can connect over shared beliefs, challenges, and to help meet needs whether spiritual, mental, physical, or emotional. And while community in close proximity is the goal, I know that many of you live far away from family and friends. After we started the podcast, a friend of mine reached out to tell me how much she enjoyed listening to our chats. She shared that she had been feeling very isolated after moving to a new town and felt encouraged by hearing a familiar voice and being able to relate to the conversation. If you are in a place of experiencing loneliness in any way, I pray that this website becomes a source of joy and encouragement to you. I also pray that you find community even it its just one friend that can become your "person."
There are other barriers like insecurity and comparison that can keep us in our shell. We live in fear of being known, seen, and exposed. Community is meant to be a safe place where you can open up and just be yourself. When you go into a social situation with other women, lead with love. Allow yourself to be real and vulnerable and I guarantee others will feel safe and do the same. I've seen it happen a dozen times. Determine in your heart to be "the friend" and don't worry about rejection, just respond to the people who respond well to you and focus on those relationships. It's hard when you feel hurt or ignored, but you don't need friends who are going to be like that. Remember how your mother said, "Marry the nice guy!" I think the same goes with friends. Be friends with the nice girls and be the nice girl.
As I contemplated writing this, I thought about what God's Word says about friendship. There was one scripture in particular that I felt spoke to the very core of what our attitude should be as we approach our respective communities, and it's this:
"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” ~Galatians 5:13-14
It's that simple---just serving others and treating them the way you would want to be treated. This can act as a filter for how we approach a local mom's group, our neighbors, or even how we interact on Facebook.
In what ways do you seek or have found community? Tell us about it in the comments!