Part One: Behind the Scenes. Felt like I needed to share where I was coming from before I gave my thoughts.
Part Two will come soon. :)
Have you ever found a church where you attended weekly and felt like it just "fit?" Then life changes and well, everything changes. Just like life changes so does your "community." Here's a blog post I wrote about fellowship that corresponds with this one. Read it first if you don't know my/our history of community/fellowship.
When Jon and I first got married we went to three different churches (not intentionally). Long story but depending where we were there was a different church to attend. All three of them were great (are great). We weren't able to focus on "community" and getting into a small group but we were busy with other things. Jon was still in school and I became a nanny. Then we got involved in a small group with our friends who all got married within 15 months of each other (and the group grew from there). It was fun to have married couples in a group together (no kids yet for any of us).
Then Jon got his job that moved us to Cedar Rapids. One of the things that popped into my head was, "I'm about to have a baby. How will I meet people? What church will we get involved in?" For those of you who don't know, when you move to a new place two hours away from family and friends it's not easy. Especially a home body like me. Then put a baby in the mix and it makes you stuck in an apartment for a cold winter. This Momma was stirring with all those "Who will be our friends?"
Our trusted Pastor gave us a good suggestion (and might I add five minutes away from our apartment)! We felt like it fit us the first week. There was no question. We went again to make sure....and nothing made us question. We got involved in a small group and gained "community." Our friend's parent's live nearby and took us in as if we were their own kids. My new "mom" helped me get involved in a women's BSF and took me out to eat. She got baby cuddles and I got mom-chats. :)
Then Jon quit his job and we moved into my parent's house while looking for houses in Ames. Couple weeks after starting his new job we found out we were expecting our second baby. I didn't go out much (in case you need a reminder why). When I started to feel better (then miscarried) we got involved with the church I attended before getting married and into a small group. We gained community while Jon was constantly driving back and forth to Ames. Then we bought a house. Then we got pregnant with our third baby. (Can I add here that this paragraph is less than four months of my life?)
Life got hard. I was caring our baby. I was sick all the time. Then the unpredictable happened. Just give me this moment to say it. We saw our little baby on the ultrasound.....no heartbeat. [If life gives you lemons, try to throw them at your gut.]
but anyways, about community. I eventually got "better" where I could be around people. I needed community. We were returning to our small group like normal and we had people to hang out with. My parent's babysat Ellie for us so it allowed us more time to just unwind and relax kid-free. It was great. Meanwhile I was helping Jon with getting things ready on the house to move in. But in the back of my mind I knew....I just knew it. Community would again become a focus. How do we find community in Ames again?
We both knew we needed to search around for the church that "fit." The church we attended in Ames when we first got married, didn't quite fit what we were looking for now. (Note: We're not saying it's a bad church.)
And this is where Part Two of my Community posts starts and part one ends. :)