Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Finding Community {On My Heart}

The tears in my eyes have been on the verge of spilling over all day.

I don't know why but today I feel weepy.

It didn't start out that way. In fact, it started out just like every other day {in a groundhog day like fashion}.

The kids were emotional. Little Miss shortened her nap by an hour. All I got done was folding the laundry but they never made their way into the drawers. {I did in fact make my bed which should qualify me for a gold star because that never seems to happen.} I got dinner on the table but the bathrooms were never cleaned. The "stuff" on the stairs seems to be multiplying but they are not making their way to their "proper" homes. I did unload and then reload the dishwasher. {Bonus points}. While the boys worked on their Summer Bridge Workbooks they began to cry because it was hard and that I don't know what it is like. Every time I put a toy away Little Miss promptly pulled it back out as if I was the one making the messes.

Then ... I sat down to watch the Bread & Wine book club videos on the (in)courage website. {Boy do I love me some Angie & Jessica ... and now Shauna too}.

Have you heard of the book Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist?  If you haven't check it out. It isn't what it seems. It is a love letter to her friends and family. It is her life around the kitchen table. It includes recipes!

I read the book cover to cover in such a short period of time and devoured (pun intended) every word.  I fell in love with Shauna's world; her friends, family, and vacations. The things in life didn't matter nearly as much as the people who were in her life did. She met her friends where they were and in turn they did the same for her. The doors to her home were open for everyone to come through, walk inside, share their hearts, and leave with their souls and stomachs completely satisfied.

She is surrounded by this amazing community who supported one another through everything; loss of pregnancy, divorce, new babies, new marriages, celebrated dedications, humbled themselves through seasons of jealousy, and experienced each new blessing with one another. No one was left out. Every one had a place around the table.

I watched each new video on the (in)courage blog with the fascination that Shauna's love spilled into her food and warmed her house for everyone to enjoy.

The tears that had been threatening to spill past my eyelashes were slowly making their way down my cheeks as I began longing for this type of community.

To be honest, I don't have that. For years, I thought I did have that type of community surrounding me. Little Man and I would go to each one of my friends houses to celebrate graduating college, new jobs and new boyfriends. He was so young then. I was still pretty naive. We didn't talk about faith or share with one another the darkest parts of our soul. We just lived in the moment with one another.

While I was celebrating my engagement, my community was talking behind my back. They knew I was pregnant with Little Miss and they all thought I was only getting married due to that fact. They didn't celebrate my engagement with me. I had my bridal shower and bachellorette party and they didn't come. They had more important things to do and because I was planning everything so quickly they couldn't attend. They didn't ask about my dress or about the details of the reception. They kept their distance. They came to the wedding and hung around one another. {I always used to feel apart of that group and now I just felt distance.}

Shortly after the wedding I had a baby shower. It was a time to celebrate a new little girl that was coming into my family. {There hadn't been one for 30 years.} My "friends" came but instead of celebrating me they wanted to talk about how one of them was pregnant too. I celebrated my friend and looked forward to coming to her baby shower soon.

After that day, my community all but disappeared. A lot happened in the last few months of my pregnancy, devastating things happened. I had no community to turn to. I just had me. I walked around my neighborhood trying to get a sense of balance in my life. My world seemed to be spinning completely out of control and I had no one to tell me things were going to be okay. My husband's grandmother passed away. I found out incomprehensible news resulting from her death. My grandfather then passed away a few weeks later. It felt like I was in a plane all alone and it was spinning towards earth. I was dizzy and sick of the circumstances. I needed my community but they weren't around.

I still get calls every once in awhile but I am just not in it anymore.

My "community" wasn't based on faith or love but instead on tearing down whoever was on the "outs" that week. I know that isn't what I need in my life but the rawness of how alone I am stings me every day.

I want a community of women who love one another. That will pray along one another. Hear the hurts from one anothers lives and love them more. Find out who each person is and love them anyway. I want their husbands to walk along side my husband. I want the husbands to encourage one another to be better husbands and fathers. I want the women to encourage each other to be better mothers and wives. I want to gather around a table. I want to feel that a place has been saved just for me. I want to be celebrated when I have something to celebrate. I want to be prayed for when the world just seems to  be too much to handle. I want to drop of meals and coffee to women who didn't expect it. I want my community to love the fact that I am becoming a little bit crunchy {making my own laundry detergent, buying produce from a farmers market, using homemade cleansers}.

So here I am, maybe you might be here too, in this place where lonely is the only word to describe it. I am going to stretch myself to find women like me. Women who pray. Women who go to church. Women who long to be a part of something special. Women who will meet me just where I am. Women who can sit around the table and love one another, making it a point to show who they really are.


  1. Oh Mindy! This post hits me hard today. I have also been longing for such a community... And yet it seems they are so hard to find. I hope you manage to find that connection and community full of love and prayer and laughter.
    Love Megan

    1. Thank you so much Megan! It is hard being in this spot in life. I know your heart and I am feeling the longing for a community just like you are! Thank you for stopping by today and leaving such a sweet note! Hopefully, you will stop by again soon!

  2. What a beautifully vulnerable post. I am so sorry that you were hurt so badly by those who had claimed the title "friend". I am impressed that you plan to continue to try, continue to search, continue to make yourself vulnerable to other women. That is truly Christ-like. I'm so glad I stopped by today!

    1. Thank you Elizabeth for stopping by today! It is hard be hurt by the ones you care so much about. Thank you for leaving such a caring message! Hopefully you will stop by again really soon!

  3. Hi Mindy! I'm clicking over from the linky at (in)courage, and I feel like we could be friends already. Bread & Wine also stirred that longing for close community in my heart. For me, it's been hard to remain close with friends during these busy years with young kids. Even when we do get together, I'm chasing my toddler instead of having deep conversations. ;) I'm so sorry you've been hurt by your community, and I encourage you to keep seeking friendships that will be a blessing! That kind of community takes time to build, but it's so worth it. :)

  4. OH Amanda ... it is like we are kindred spirits. I had my son 5 years before any of my other friends had kids. I was constantly chasing him, correcting behavior, and fighting with him to eat his dinner. Thank you for encouraging me today. I know that this type of community would be worth it and I am not going to give up. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today. I hope you come back soon.

  5. Thank you for sharing your heart, Mindy. I know many women feel the same way and this speaks to many hearts. Praying that God will bring women into your life and that He will be your common bond and life line.

    Wishing I could knock on your door and share coffee with you this morning and a hug.

    1. Thank You Paula! That is my prayer for myself. I would love if you came over for coffee and a hug!!


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