We were made for community. Everyone wants to feel like they have a place where they belong. When we first started talking about moving down to New Mexico my biggest hesitation was leaving our community. It has taken me years to feel like I finally found a place where I belong. Brad and I are part of a wonderful small group. They feel like family to us and we know leaving them will be hard.
I have always longed to have the kind of friends that my children can call "auntie" or whose houses I can walk right into. I wanted friends who would come over at the last minute because we both have nothing to do so we might as well do nothing together. Friends who I could share my struggles with and know that they truly would pray for me. Friends to walk alongside me and just do life together.
Our small group is just that. We have found three amazing couples who encourage us and challenge us all the time. When we first told them about this opportunity they were nothing but supportive despite their own desires for us to stay here. I love seeing the people of God come together and forming their own family. I truly believe that this is how God intended us to live. I love my family but my favorite part of my family is the people who are not truly part of my family but have become like family to me. And I realize that is not something everyone finds. We are lucky. We opened ourselves up to others. We shared our struggles with them. We were honest with them. And they reciprocated. They didn't criticize us or cast us out of the group. They continued to welcome us with open arms and they opened up about their own struggles. They started to be honest with us. I love it when God's people live together in community like that.
That is no small feat. I know how scary it can be. It takes a lot of trust and vulnerability, but we have been greatly blessed because of it. It's not just our small group either. We have developed some really amazing friendships with several other families in our church, and even an old friend from high school. People who are a constant source of encouragement and support. It is so hard knowing that we are leaving them behind. Knowing that we will never find anything else quite like the friendships we have here. But it's also such an encouragement, knowing that we go with their prayers and support. Hearing promises of e-mailing and plans for days together when we return home. Even plans to come visit us. If we didn't have the love and support of our extended family I don't think we'd be able to do this. It has made this crazy adventure all the more a reality.
I'm not looking forward to leaving these precious friendships behind, but I am looking forward to seeing how we continue to grow in community while we are gone. And how we develop new friendships to add to our family. I am so excited to see exactly what God has in store for us and how He will continue to show His faithfulness.