This week has had a running theme: love. Not romantic love, although I love romance, but the love of the Father and love of friends - community, again.
I am SO very grateful for my friends. I have found true community here in this little town and in this church. I am surrounded by women who make me feel safe, loved, and cared for. Many women go through life without this - and that is not the plan God has for true community in your life. To have a group of women who continually want more than you can give or who make life unsafe for you can be debilitating. Run from those women. But run to women who will speak truth to you, who will push you to be what God created you to be, who are not afraid to love you well. Don't be a user, though, seek to return the favor. Be authentic with your wants, needs, and struggles. This is good for your soul.
After a conversation with a friend this week, I am reminded of how God loves us. It is not because of who we are and what we do - but because HE CHOOSES TO LOVE US. Period. It has nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with Him. We see this played out in our relationships as well. I have three kiddos. They are good kids - but they are also bad kids (don't tell them that I said this!). I do not love them because of their actions. I love them because they are mine. I choose to love them. And hopefully, they choose to love me in the same way. My actions as a mother and a wife are not always deserving of love. But my family loves me despite those actions. We choose to love. Then we pray for God to increase that love. And we seek to have a home that encourages/enhances/invites that love to grow.
This is, hopefully, true of my deepest friendships. I love these women, not because of who they are (although that is probably how we became friends - she or I did something that invited friendship), but because they are the community God has given and I CHOOSE to love them. Unconditionally. This is something God does in my heart. He cultivates community in us. This love is not based on me and my friends, but on the love of God. And I am grateful for that. That takes the pressure off of me to perform (to keep my friendships) and them to work to earn my love.
Now there is still tension here. I have God's love for these women (and they have it for me), but I don't have this same love for everyone. It is a group of women who have given me freedom to be me... no strings attached. And they call out something in me that I know God wants called out. It is a community that He has miraculously placed me in. IF you do not have this, pray for God to send it. This will require vulnerability on your part - you have to seek like minded women that call out God in you. But when you find it, you will know. This is not affinity for me - it is community. Are you looking for affinity - people in your current life stage? That may not be the right place for you to look. Maybe you need to find people in the same spiritual life stage as you. Start there! Start spiritual conversations and see who you connect with. I am grateful that I did.