we just celebrated five years of marriage last week and are currently living in our fifth house, that we are currently under contract to sell later this summer. which, you guessed it, means we will be moving into house number six in our sixth year of marriage. now that we are officially back in military world full time, our moving average should actually slow down a bit. but okay all of this to share – we’ve only moved within the same city once. every other time we’ve picked up our life and moved 150-500 miles away. uprooting from one community and putting down roots in another. in some cases, we really didn’t do so well and in others we managed to find lifelong friends in less than a year living there. but here’s what we know to be true form both scripture and experience: life was not made to live in solitude. we are made for community! We were made in the image of God who in himself is communal – three in one. we were made to be in relationships! YES relationships with a spouse, parents, children. and YES other believers through the church! And we also believe, YES, the community we find ourselves in for however long we find ourselves there. see, this is kind of multifaceted, right?
being part of our communities, we believe, serves multiple purposes. on the smaller scale we get to participate in unique parts of the places we find ourselves in. goat fainting festivals in small town Tennessee? oh for sure. Strawberry festival in the strawberry capital of our state? you betcha. we get to broaden our view of the world, His creation, and step into the reality of this place we find ourselves in while we’re here. i believe we can literally become more compassionate, more understanding people and followers of Jesus when we experience more of the local life.
but we get to, as a family, create memories and traditions through our community too. taking our family to the armed forces day parade every year is surely going to produce honor and thankfulness toward the men and women who have served our country. or letting our kids join us in service around the city – serving coffee at the turkey trot thanksgiving morning (because we are for sure not he family that’s going to RUN on thanksgiving 😉 ), dishing up breakfast downtown at the rescue mission once a month as a family, you get the idea. while we’re here, wherever here might be, i really believe we get to plant our feet and let those roots grow and B E here. ya know?
then maybe the most important part of it all – being in the community of other believers, doing life together. we’ve personally lived in seasons where our faith community was rich and vibrant and in other seasons we’ve lived without any. there is absolutely no denying the beauty of living life with other believers – serving The Kingdom together, sharing meals together, showing up with a survival bag when somebody’s got a sick kiddo, bringing coffee to new parents, taking midnight shifts to hold someone’s baby so they can get some sleep. there is a comfort in knowing The Lord is caring for you through the people He has placed in your sphere. thanks be to God for that.
but you’re probably like me, knowing all of the above is good and true but also… hard. right? lets not even talk about that sometimes there’s conflict, unmet expectations, miscommunication, hurt feelings and so on whenever there’s relationship. getting started in a new place is hard. so here’s what we’ve done that has proved to be helpful and i pray it is helpful to you.
-before you move wherever you’re going, start researching churches and listening to their sermons online. get a feel for the church so when you get to your new home you can jump right in and don’t have to spend months church hopping
-when you get to said church, JUMP IN. join community groups, moms groups, running groups (or maybe coffee drinking groups 😉 ), start serving on whatever team you can, wherever The Lord has equipped you to serve.
-make it a point to be out in the community every weekend. go for hikes, go to the park, attend an event, eat locally, shop locally. start getting a feel for your new city.
-maybe the easiest thing you can do, go meet your neighbors. whenever we move into a new place we make cookies and just take a plate to the neighbors with a card that has all of our names on it to let them know who we are! then whenever we walk the neighborhood, its so easy to just say hey while they’re out!
friends, i want to know how YOU build and find community. goodness there is so much more we could’ve said here about community – the value of it, how to find it, how to build it, how to participate well in it. but we would love to hear what you do.
stay rooted, friends.