June 10, 2013

To Stay in the Hard

Community is hard. 

That's exactly why I've never had real community in my life. I was always the girl who had friends for a season. But when dreams changed or things got hard, I found new scenery. I have been wounded by community, and found early on that running was much safer for my heart. 

When we transitioned to middle school, I left my elementary friends in the dust. When my "new" friends got too cool for me after sixth grade, I found a group of friends who accepted me in. 

When they decided in ninth grade to pull me aside in the hallway to tell me "the group" had decided that I was out, I survived by befriended the new girl. I also made friends with the PK (pastors kid) and immersed myself neck deep in youth group friendships. But my junior year, when I started dating a non-Christian boy, I was quickly made to feel unwelcome in my unevenly yoked sin. When me and that boy broke up, his friends, who had become our friends, went back to being his friends. 

I stumbled through my senior year, secretly alone. With a co-op that meant I only spent a few hours at school, then left to spend my afternoons in trade school and my evenings and weekends at my job, I'm pretty sure that no one noticed just how alone I was. 

A new boy came on the scene just before graduation and I dove deep into his world. He went away to college so I spent nights on the phone and weekends heading off for a visit. I managed to reconnect with a childhood friend and was convinced that I had finally found "the one". You know, that friend who you grow old with. That friend you know you'll have by your side when you get married, have your first baby, battle tragedy...

And she was that friend. She was, until I got mixed up in a lifestyle that was no good to anyone. A life full of late nights that turned into mornings and some less than desirable company. She wanted nothing to do with the trouble I was getting into, so she walked. Again, I was secretly alone and this only drove me deeper into the party as I searched for someone to love me. 

Then again, I thought I found it. I thought I had found someone who loved me and accepted me for me. Maybe he did. I don't really know. What I do know is that he loved his addictions much more. Leaving him, might be the one time in my life that running was the absolute right thing to do.

Then it happened. I realized that all my life I had been searching for someone to love me, and God had been there, loving me all along. As I placed my life in His hands, He pushed a man to the forefront of my life who had also been there all along. A man who would love me. A man who would commit to me. To never leaving. And we spoke that commitment before God and our families 2 years later. 

Yet even though I had an amazing husband, fast forward to 2 children later,  I was still lonely. I had one friend, and she had moved to Europe for her husbands job. 

So I prayed. I prayed for friends. I prayed for community. I prayed to no longer be lonely. And God gave that to me. He dared me to step out of my comfort zone and when I said "Yes!" He provided me with exactly who I needed in my life. 

It all seemed so wonderful! We got to really know each other on a deep level, we shared dreams and fears. We laughed and shed tears. We ate popcorn and cheesecake. 

Then it happened. 

It got hard. Feelings got hurt. Sin and pride got in the way. And this girl wanted to bolt. I wanted to turn off my iPhone and forget it all. I could find new friends. I've done it before. 

Then I remembered how we had promised we would always be honest. I remembered when I said "I commit to you that I will stay." I remembered the tears as we dreamt of something so much bigger than ourselves and I knew that I couldn't run anymore. 

Instead, I did the opposite of what I wanted to do and I stuck my heart on my sleeve and I entered back in. 

Community is hard. It gets messy as we walk with each other hand in hand through life. But running is not the answer. Staying is what we are called to do. To love. To confess. To forgive. To rebuild. To encourage. 

To stay. 

Even when it's hard. Even when it hurts. 

Commit to staying. Choose to stay. 

To stay is true community


  1. Oh my friend... I love this so! So often it seems we fall for the whispering lies that running is easier - but it is not... staying is hard but the pay off is worth it when we fully invest! So glad you stuck it out!

  2. This is gorgeous friend. Your transparency and honesty... this is the stuff that benches are made from. Love you and your heart!!!

  3. Kelly I so wish I loved closer to you. You are such a wonderful woman of Christ. I am blessed to have met you and get to watch you and read. This is perfect for the season in my life. I too said I wouldn't run! So I staying in thank you !!!

  4. Just, yes, and yes and more yes. Honest, real and such truth. Love what Tonya said "This is the stuff benches are made from".

  5. "I'm pretty sure that no one noticed just how alone I was." I noticed. So did your Heavenly Father and just look at the wonders He has done! You have written beautiful words. As always.

  6. Your words today, those were extra strong bolts God was securing in our bench. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for saying yes to our community! I love you!!!

  7. Thank you for your tender heart in sharing the "raw" with us. God is doing a great work in all of us and I'm so glad you didn't run from the bench. ((hugs))


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