My first experience with the power of community did not begin in the church. As a Sunday School teacher in the throes of alcoholism, there was no way I could get “real” or be “real” with the people there.
They’re “church people,” after all. They could never understand my shame, my sin; they weren’t sinners, I was.
So, I kept the secret, showing up every week, terribly hungover (sick) and ashamed.
As much as I prayed to be delivered, it didn’t happen.
Today, I realize that God was pushing me toward help, people who not only related to my burden, my addiction but were open and honest about their own journey.
It was the beginning of true community for me. People (mostly women) who accepted me as I was and only wanted to see me free from the horrific effects of the years of addictions.
Within this small community, and later in the larger gatherings, I began to shed the pain and shame of many years of hiding, pretending, and searching for remedies.
I began to grow spiritually, emotionally, and mentally (and physically)–transformed by God’s Grace and Love through the guidance of others who, like me, desired healing and fulfilled lives.
When I became honest, reached out for help, and became a part of a community, the Holy Spirit began His work in me. Through the process of recovery, I became the woman God created me to be from before I was in the womb. (Jeremiah 1:5)
I came back into the church a different woman, delivered, forgiven, and free to share my story so others could heal. This could only have happened with others, not alone, not “me and God”–He’s the one who graciously steered me to those angels with skin on for help.
We need each other, now more than ever. Long-term isolation brings pain. Secrets keep you stuck, robbing you of the abundant life in Christ.
We are made to gather together. Jesus created a sacred community with His disciples and others. He is about honest, loving, and genuine relationships through believers like you and me.
Real community is a hearts-to-hearts connection. There is more power, more strength together.
Community is more important than ever, especially when gathering together is challenging, and for some, non-existent.