She likes anything outside, the water, Superman ice cream, and naughty teens (a perfect friend, right?). Julie is also a writer who lives in North Carolina (another bonus!). Today Julie shares with us about community and whether community makes you clap or cringe, this post will draw you in, and then make you want to reach out.
Community is often the best and also the weirdest thing going on in my life.
It’s the best because it involves people, and it’s weird because it involves people.
I didn’t grow up using language like “community” to describe a group of people doing life together; I thought the word only described the neighborhood where if you “did life,” it was with your grocer, the lady at the post office, or the bank teller.
Living in community with people who actually know you is a daunting, yet it's a favorite pastime of mine. Community is exhausting and scary, but I love it. Deep down, I really want people to know me, and I want to know them, too.
I want you to know that I love to paint with kids, and that this is freeing for the girl who was once afraid of art. I want you to know that I love teenagers, especially the troublemakers. I want you to know that Superman ice cream is my favorite, because it’s from Ohio. And, I’d pick trains over cars any day.
Of course, I want to know what kind of pizza you like and what books you read over and over. I want to know who has been an influence on you. I want to know what you would do if you could do anything.
This sounds pleasant, doesn’t it?
But how do you do life with people when the bottom falls out, when you lose your job or you’re broken hearted or you struggle with your family? Do you end up talking about what kind of pizza you like?
All of the little things about me and you, they are important, but we also experience big things, really hard things, like brokenness and sickness and hurt, and smoothing over them doesn’t work. I know what it’s like to want the little things to work. I know what it feels like to swallow back tears and to try and do life on my own, without your help, thank you very much.
My first real encounter with community changed me forever. About seven years ago, moving to North Carolina dished out a bag of crazy and I had no one to rely on but the people I met at church. It was strange and beautiful to open up to people there and when I did I learned two things: people stuck around and there was freedom in bringing things into the light.
Community of all places is where it is okay to lay down your mess, where determined, strong people can surrender their strong wills. This is something I learn and relearn.
It seems I must always practice the act of remembering. Or I suddenly forget how God has done so much. I see through eyes of grace and joy when I remember.
And when I don’t, I’m this callous person who forgets I need people and once again I become Miss Strong.
I forget everyone is human and that humanity starts with the little things.
You want to know the best and biggest thing about me? It’s not my secret desire to go back to Europe someday, but that I’m His daughter. And you are, too. You’re His daughters and you’re His sons. And my steps are lined with grace even through the times I see more pain than joy, more chaos than peace. My steps are lined with grace as I remember the gift He gives in each other, and my vision shifts for me to see clearly again.
Community often starts through becoming interested in the small things about one another. What is something small you can share about yourself today?
Bio: Julie loves words, cranking up the music in her car, and telling stories. She believes life is good and worth living to the fullest. Talking about advocacy and adoption, Jesus, and you gets her excited. Julie writes at mercynotes.com.
Others-centered organizations Julie is wild about:
The Mentoring Project. Before she was a counselor, Julie worked in mentoring.
Forgotten Voices and Pure Charity also rank high with Julie.
Want to know why these are Julie's faves? Check out the comments.