Written By: Tayler Cathrine
When you are constantly being uprooted and moving from place to place, how do you build a community?? Why is it so important?
This verse has taken on a whole new meaning for me:
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:4-5)
I used to think of the body of Christ as each person having unique giftings and strengths that were used for the benefit of the church as a whole. But I didn’t draw the connection between our unique and individual “functions” to creating community and friendships. In friendship, each of us brings our own strengths. You have the friend who loves to cook or the friend who is a great listener or the friend who knows everyone and connects you to just the right people. EACH of them has crucial roles in your life and vice versa.
The first thing my husband and I do when we move to a new place is research churches to visit. There have been times when my husband only had three weekends before deploying after moving somewhere new. So what did we do?! We would attend multiple services at different churches each weekend so that when he left, I would have a church home while he was away, which made a difference because, although being in the military typically comes with the opportunity to find friendships, there have been times when my husband was not part of a squadron or specific unit. I have been able to find a community that understood the importance of that. I know not every church is perfect because the church is made up of human beings- who are NOT perfect!
I don’t want to sugar-coat this process. I’ve found it to be easier and faster to make friends in the military world, but I know the importance of having a support system in faith, as well. It hasn’t always been easy to make friends, and it takes time.
When my husband transitioned from active duty to a reservist, we instantly lost a part of our community. So we got connected to a church. This transition was VERY DIFFICULT. The world outside of military life was very different. These ladies had been friends for a long time, and working my way into these established groups was not as easy as I had hoped. I did not give up, though. I continued to put myself out there. I showed up to many playdates where I felt so vulnerable and uncomfortable, BUT I did it…over and over and over again. It was not easy, but I know how crucial it is to do life together as a community. It’s been two years, and I now have an amazing support system!
My family has experienced some very difficult trials this year and even some very traumatic ones. The first thing I did when we faced those very very hard moments was to reach out in PRAYER. From there, God had people show up for us in ways that we could have never dreamed of. I had friends bring meals for the kids and me. I had friends send their husbands to collect our trash for us when our bin wouldn’t get emptied for whatever reason. I had friends connect me to resources we needed, and friends that were there for me when I was balling my eyes out. The thing is, I could not have made it through any of that with my husband gone and struggling to do my best to keep it together had it not been for my community.
I see how easy it can be to fall into the feelings of loneliness, depression, and isolation. We have to intentionally and actively choose something different. Rely on God and see the importance of sharing our lives. THE GOOD AND THE BAD. If you don’t have community support, CREATE it. SEEK it. That’s what I had to do. It was slow-going, but God brought just the right ladies to my life at just the right time. Don’t forget to be in prayer over this as well.
Written By: Tayler Cathrine