Over the past three years, my husband and I have walked through what has become the most difficult season or years of our lives. Three years ago, my husband and I began trying to grow our family. What began as a fun and exciting and highly anticipated season of joy quickly turned into a long-haul through grief and loneliness and stress and disappointment.
For almost the first year of our infertility journey, we were attending church but not invested in a local church community. We primarily kept our sufferings to ourselves and relied on one other to get through it. That year was marked by isolation, wrestling with doubts in my faith, and shame for not “counting it all joy” (James 1:1) in the midst of our trials.
Within that first year we became members of a local church body and were strongly encouraged to join what they referred to as a “community group” with the goal of being known, loved, cared for, pursued, encouraged, and challenged to be more like Christ. We hesitantly joined. Not because we believed those goals were bad, but because we were intimidated by the vulnerability of being fully known and challenged by others. But, knowing God calls us to live in community with other believers, so we joined anyway.
Over time, God, in His kindness, showed us His grace, mercy, generosity, and provision for us through our community. We now had friends within our local church who not only knew of our struggles with infertility but were walking alongside us. And we didn’t even know how much we needed them.
Our community persevered in praying for us when I didn’t have the endurance to keep praying. They helped us keep the health of our marriage a priority in the midst of stressful testing and treatments. They sent meals to our home on our heaviest days. They helped us process difficult decisions while we aimed to be faithful to God in every step we took. They grieved alongside us, celebrated with us, and faithfully journeyed with us.
Our season of isolation became one filled with rich community. A season where the body of Christ acted as His hands and feet for us. God showed His love and care for us through the community we had within the local church. As we gathered, as we did life with one another, and God’s presence was so evident. He was surely among us.
Week 3 Challenge:
Make this week intentional by inviting your small group to your house to share a meal, and encourage them while they are in your home. If you don’t have a small group yet, invite some new friends to your house to get to know them better. Look for ways to encourage them with God’s Word while also seeing if there is an opportunity to serve them or help meet a need.
Week 3 Reading Plan
Week 3 Memory Verse
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