Ever since Ken and I were first married, we’ve talked about how important community is to each of us, individually and collectively. We believe we were created to be in community, a place where real life happens. Where real relationship grows. Where authenticity + brokenness walk hand-in-hand. A place of freedom.
Over the years, this has looked like Ken and me hosting + facilitating various small groups at churches in Washington + Alaska, coordinating outreach opportunities at our places of work (I used to plan monthly young-adult lunches for all new + current employees at a large nonprofit organization as a way to connect), and as Stephen Ministers through Bethany Community Church during our time living in Seattle.
Stephen Ministry is such a special memory for me because those hours of rigorous training + a two-year commitment equipped me to begin the healing process in many deeply wounded places of my own life. I learned how to set healthier boundaries for myself, and how to love and care for the hurting people in my family and my community, in better ways. By choosing to listen to people, without responding right away with my ideas. Creating a safe space for those grieving cancer, loss of loved ones, divorce, miscarriage, job loss, depression and loneliness – to in essence, share their stories. I learned how to sit with people in their discomfort + pain, and choose to be present, not offering platitudes ingrained in me over the years, destructive phrases that can do more harm than good.
I have realized through hosting Bible studies + community groups, that so many people just really want to be seen. To be heard. To have a safe space to share, who they really are. We are all broken in some ways, and I’m so thankful for the gift of life-giving community in my own life. In this season of life, it’s looked a lot like walks with Ken on the beach, or a meal out with a dear friend. Marco Polos to my closest friends, where we leave extra-long messages with juicy details chronicling our latest adventures, struggles + prayer requests. Phone calls and FaceTime with my family + friends who just seem to understand me so well. (Thank you Isaac + Kristina for letting me share my heart on Saturday morning, and giving me space to grieve my heartache.) And then once a month, I host these very special intimate outdoor gatherings for a group I call “The Mom Collective.” These are some of my closest allies, the women in my life who have helped me to laugh, to cry, to grieve, and to process life during this season of pandemic. I praise God for these women. I find myself a bit teary-eyed as one of my dearest friends from The Mom Collective here on Maui is moving to the mainland for a season, she will be sorely missed. (As you read this blog, sweet friend, please know I will be saving your seat at the table!)
It is my heart in the years ahead to grow this unique ministry into a means for connection for more women. I dream of hosting + facilitating small groups here on Maui geared toward women longing for deep connection and friendship. A space for healing, for growing, for being present with one another through life’s many seasons. The Mom Collective, what a precious gift you’ve been.
Community. Fellowship. Friendship.
I praise God for sending Ken + me life-giving community in each season of life, in every state we’ve lived, we’ve found dear friends who are willing to make space at the table. To love us well, to help grow us into our giftings. Friends who let us weep + mourn in our brokenness and rejoice with us in our hope + victories. Ya know, #reallife. The good stuff.