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In 2017, I packed up a suitcase for myself, my baby and left my husband to pack his own (which in hindsight was a poor decision). We then spent a lovely Friday evening together without our 9-month-old (she went to the grandparent’s house).
This weekend kickoff date was not like many others we have shared. We spent our parents night out, inside our home lifting up furniture and cleaning out the bottom drawers of all our cabinets. Fun was had by all.
You see, we live in Houston, TX and the weather reports were calling for a bit of rain that weekend from Hurricane Harvey. We wanted to be prepared in case our house (which flooded for the first time in 60 years just two years after we moved in), took on water. We made plans to spend the weekend at my parent’s house since their neighborhood doesn’t have a history of flooding and their house is elevated 3.5 feet. After the furniture was raised as much as we could, we put the suitcases in the car and drove the 10 minutes to my parent’s house.
When we were able to return to our home 4 days later (because they were using the exit ramp to our neighborhood as a boating dock), we found that over 18 inches of water had come in our house. Furniture that we thought we had protected just wasn’t raised up high enough to survive that much water. Our garage had gotten well over 2 feet, which was enough to upturn our fridge out there and allow it to float around knocking into all sorts of stuff. Our floors were popping up and the paint on the walls was already peeling off.
I hope that none of you have experienced flooding in your homes, but more than likely, you have experienced some situation that just knocks the wind out of you and leaves you wondering how you are ever going to pick up the pieces and move forward. These moments can overwhelm you and they truly are more than you can handle on your own.
But that is why the Lord encourages us to live in community. Because life on Earth will leave us with moments (probably more than one) that will leave us on our knees struggling to stand back up without the support of another.
The day we got back into our house, several of our friends reached out asking how they could come and help. They coordinated with each other and showed up at our house with tools, fans, and dehumidifiers and got to work. In 3 hours, with the help of about 30 people, our house was emptied of waterlogged furniture, packed up, and all soggy sheetrock, flooring, and insulation was removed.
It was incredible y’all. At some points, I didn’t even know what to do because there were so many people that all the work was covered. We were blessed beyond measure.
Community is crucial to our wellbeing.
I am sure you have heard the phrase “it takes a village” in the context of raising children. But I would take it farther to say that it takes a village for all of us to make it through life, kids or not. There are so many trials that I have experienced, that would have been absolute hell if I would have had to go through them alone. Yes, we have Jesus who is our ultimate strength and source of comfort. But I am a firm believer that Jesus sends us comfort through our friends.
And it does take a village! I would probably still be at my house tearing up floors if I didn’t have a group of miniature Chip Gainses show up yelling “DEMO DAY”. We would also be way less full if someone hadn’t started a meal train for us so we didn’t have to worry about dinner between, insurance adjuster and contractor meetings. And even with things unrelated to natural disasters, my marriage has benefited greatly from spending time with lots of couples who have more experience and great advice to share.
As I am sure you have realized, a good group of friends isn’t something that just happens magically (anyone else have a super awkward freshman year trying to find new friends in college?). You have to put in work to grow that community. Just like in any relationship, there will be give and take.
3 ways you can Invest in your Community
- Schedule consistent intentional time: I don’t know about you but I seem to imagine that I will just bump into all of my close friends on a regular basis just by happenstance. Similar to how we used to just find each other in the dorms at college. But with kids, and husbands, and jobs, it just doesn’t seem to be happening like that! So schedule that time with your friends. Try a monthly supper club where everyone takes turns hosting and providing dinner.
- Support them in their times of need: You have probably always heard that “Actions Speak Louder than Words”. That is especially true with friendships. Being there for your friends when they need you will mean the world to them and strengthen your relationship ten-fold. Whether it is just dropping off coffee when their kid is sick or if they even need moldy sheetrock taken out of their house, it is going to be highly impactful and will really show that you care about them.
- Be Encouraging: Take every opportunity you can to encourage those in your community. Send notes via snail mail or even just text them funny pictures or memes (humor is my love language). Small things can go along way.
My hope is that each and every one of you has an AMAZING community that you love and that loves you back. IF you don’t, visit your local church and check out a list of their small groups (life groups, house groups, community groups – whatever creative noun they put in front of “group”). God intended for us to live in community so what better way is there to do that than in His own house!
What is something that you do to invest in your community? OR tell me how you have been impacted by your community in the comments below!