Community in the World of Women

Is community more important to us women than it is to men?  Many would say yes.  Many years ago when I was bringing my then three-year-old daughter to nursery school, I was invited by another Mom to a women’s Bible study taking place during nursery school time.  I was terrified at the thought of going into a room with others I had never even met and a Bible study, another first?  That first study that took all the courage I could pull up was titled “The Friendships of Women”. That took some scariness away but by no means all.  I am not one who ever had many real friendships.  There was the friend I went to church with sometimes as a youngster, she lived 3 doors down the street and was my only friend.  There were other girls in the neighborhood, but they didn’t really accept me.  At age 56 I still have not learned the art of making and sustaining true friendships. People tend to look at me incredulously if I voice that.  For most that is just instinct they grew up posessing.  I pray God will show me what I lack to make the kind of friendships most have and that study said are a natural  need God built into each of us women.

Other than the blogging community I keep in touch with some acquaintance/friends, a couple deeper friends.  A recent post on (in)courage.com was about community and it hit me that I have a safe, online community, sort of; I read others’ writing, sometimes comment when something touches me, some read what I write and do the same, but is that community?  I started reading blogs for money-saving, couponing ideas and such and was amazed at how many of the blogs I came upon were written by Christian women.  As I’ve broadened my scope of interest I still find that most I go to are Christian-authored.  I see this as God leading me to some kind of community.  I can read these and know that these women and I share a most vital relationship-with our Lord.  What I read is uplifting, thought-provoking, encouraging, challenging.  And I’ve found I’m not alone among women of faith who are in a wilderness time of lacking in real  life community. Another excellent post by (in)c0urage is Why You Need to Find Community {even when you’re really hurting}.

I blame my current state largely on  fear of rejection that I’ve always had to some extent or another. Being chronically ill, with the state of my health fluctuating but never really good is part of my insecurity.  The last several years I have had more times of acute chronic issues than I had for some years before that.  Currently, I’m in one of my acute times and God has seen my need.  My church is community oriented and there are ministries of men who do things for people who can’t do them themselves that are usually men things to do.  And there are women’s ministries who do likewise.  We were blessed by both during and since my recent hospitalization.  The first week I was home, we had dinners, very generously portioned dinners, delivered to our kitchen Monday – Friday.  What a blessing! We also had help from men in a needed repair hubs couldn’t do alone.

In past times of better health I took part in that women’s ministry on the giving end.  You learn how to receive in times when you need the help and it’s such a blessing for the giver.  I’ve been home two weeks now and yesterday someone called and asked if we’d like a pan of ziti.  Would we?!  It’s delicious, again very generous, and we’ll eat meals from that gift for a time.  The cook is a woman whose Bible studies, real Bible studies, like the book of Daniel, I participated in when in healthier times.

So why am I so lonely now?  I can only blame myself. I look healthy when I am at rest,  and that has to make it harder for others to “get it”.  Or so my insecurities tell me. My level of asthma most people never see, much less experience. It’s a rare thing to find an asthmatic who needs a power wheelchair and oxygen.  Well, the chair is partially because of the severity of issues in my back, but they’re invisible, too. And now, after the hospitalization with high doses of corticosteroid therapy intravenously to knock down the extreme inflammation of my airways, steroid myopathy has greatly weakened my muscles so I again have an odd reason to need a wheelchair.  I can’t attend anything on a regular basis when I’m in this level of chronic illness, so I don’t see anyone, and I’m too chicken to pick up the phone and call others who are very busy with their own lives.

I had been healthier just before I caught the infection that put me back into acute mode than I had been in a long time.  I went to a fund-raiser supper at the church for the first time in years, literally, and I did it without the wheelchair or the oxygen.  So people saw I was alive and still wanting to be part of the church community.  Maybe that is why I got cards, phone calls, prayers, meals, etc., but probably not. It didn’t surprise me how much it all meant to me.  I hope I have been able to convey that in my thank you notes.  And I hope to be encouraged enough by these acts of love to move toward keeping community a part of my life.  After all, the church mission statement is: “Love God, Love Others, Serve the World.”  And one of my favorite scriptures is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,”plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Advertisements

About craftythriftydecoratingwifemom

I thank God for all the wondrous gifts he's given me daily. Reading many of your blogs has inspired me to get busy and stay busy doing things I used to enjoy and just fell away from. And you've given me courage to try new things I've never done before, things I'd have been afraid to try a few months ago. Thank you for your unknown contributions to this woman's life.
This entry was posted in faith, health and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Community in the World of Women

  1. I agree, it’s an easy thing to be involved in a community of women believers through blogs. It can turn into “friendships” over time. Blogs are a great way of connecting when you aren’t able to connect with others outside the home, it can’t take the place of real, face-to-face interaction, but it’s close to being the next best thing. I can understand that your limitations have hindered your ability to make friends, but whoever you see face to face, who knows, they could become your friend! Would you feel up to hosting a bible study in your home? Then you could have the fellowship with other women, and be able to stay home and conserve your strength.

    • I’ve thought about hosting a Bible study. Not quite there yet for multiple reasons, among the top: an autistic adult son who is home and interrupts a lot (they’d understand, at least to a degree, he’s active at church, but it would be an added stressor to me), Hubs is also home and won’t do studies in groups, 3 large, loud dogs that don’t obey “quiet!”. Making excuses? Yup. But that is where I am now. And I’m really weak from steroid myopathy, sure appreciate prayers! Thanks. Janet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s