Around the holidays every year, I try to listen to what God is whispering to my soul about the upcoming year. Some years I pay more attention to it than others. Some years I let the words make more of a difference in my life.
We have been back in the US for a year and a half now, after living in Spain for 12 years. Although it has often been a difficult transition, we are confident and peaceful that we made the right decision. Our kids are happy and thriving in every way, and that is a true blessing. They are doing really well in school and have made some great friends.
Community has been quite a bit harder to come by for Troy and I. In our life together we have experienced deep and real community, and once you have tasted that, it's really difficult to not have it. But it's a challenge, because when you move into a new place, people already have their lives pretty well full. They have routines, schedules and commitments, which are all good things. Basically their lives are working pretty well for them.
Since we moved here to Chicago, I have joked that we need to create a "friendship resume" so that people can see what we have to offer. It's a silly thing, but it got me thinking on a deeper level. Community is a two-way street, and Jesus has been speaking to me about encouraging others, and about building community where I can.
Sometimes it's hard. After 12 years in ministry, at times I long to just "take" and not have to give anymore, at least for awhile. But that's not what it's really about, is it?
Jesus also reminded me that I have good friends who are flung all over the globe. While it can be hard not to have a bunch of bffs who live next door or down the street, He reminded me to cultivate those far-off friends too. And while I don't want the internet to be my main "friend" platform, it has allowed me to become true friends with people I have never met in real life. That's pretty cool.
To balance out the internet aspect, it's my hope this year to write a hand-written note to someone for every day of the year. I am allowing myself the slack to write several in a day if I need to, but every day has someone on it.
I also hope to blog more, but I'm not going to stress about that one. :)
Here's to encouragement, and to community, and to getting off your butt and doing what Jesus tells you to :)