It really can mean a variety of things. You can Google the word community and see how many different ways it is defined just on the first webpage. Click Here for Define Community
Welcome back. 🙂
So you’ve seen there are many ways to define community. But not one of them gives the definition as: an individual.
At different times we have our own definitions for community. Some we would rather not share.
I have had many run-ins with the thought, thank God this is not public information definitions for community in my own life.” Moments where I have asked God, “Can’t I just live as a recluse?” His answer was, “No.” He may allow us to be alone for a time while we work out some heart issues, but He created us for community.
Well community doesn’t heal you, but it is what God uses to bring healing more often than not.
I am a person with many trust issues. We all have them because we do not go through life with betrayal, unmet expectations, and much more from community. Due to those issues being rooted deeply in my childhood it has been hard to overcome wanting to be a part of community.
Some of my experiences with community are as follows:
I couldn’t trust my own father not to come into my room at night and use me again and again for nigh on seventeen years.
I couldn’t trust a friend of the family, that was babysitting me, not to rape me at nine.
I couldn’t trust an older cousin not to molest me when we visited.
Or my mother who was abusive as well. For instance every time she used the phone I would cringe because she always threatened me that she would call the people to come and get me if I wasn’t good. I wasn’t good every day.
Nor my ex-husband to come home and not verbally abuse me, and ask questions like, “I wonder if they have a class for husbands who want to beat their wives?” The man who held me hostage in my own home, took all the phones, the keys, and wouldn’t let me pick up my baby while she screamed for her Mommy.
And my friends who decided I wasn’t their friend anymore because I left the church to follow God’s calling.
More recently, the family who is rejecting me because I am telling the family secrets.
Still I Needed Community
One day after someone tried to molest my oldest daughter great fear came into my life. I couldn’t understand why, but then the nightmares, and even the inability to steer the car down the driveway from panic attacks began.
I had no choice but to reach out for help. So I went to a counselor. He began with tackling codependent behavior in my life.
I was addicted to trying to keep others happy and healthy at my own expense.
When He got too close to the truth of abuse in my past. I stopped going to counseling.
You Can’t Hide
That next fall, God met me at a conference with the testimony of abuse from a Woman of Faith speaker. I nearly fell out of my seat as I cried. I finally had to stop running from my past. So I sought a Christian counselor who specialized in Childhood Sexual Abuse. After about a year together she began a group for survivors of this kind of abuse and of rape.
As these women shared their lives and their stories along with me an unbelievable turn took place in our healing processes. Although each progressed on its own, for the first time we knew we were not alone. That someone understood the thoughts, the feelings, and the way it was affecting our lives and those around us.
Much of my healing came then. Until one day I displayed signs of dissociative identity disorder and they sent me to a specialist. Now it was time to trust another person with my past. I had special trauma therapy called EMDR to keep me from being a four-year old being victimized while trying to drive down the street or while taking care of my children.
During a few sessions the secrets of abortions I was forced to have came forward and I had to seek help at the local pregnancy center. There I met the director, and she encourage me to join a healing group. So I met with another group of women who understood the shame, the pain, and the lasting heart and soul consequences this choice has on women’s lives. Again, much healing. I cannot express the tears of gratitude due to those who shared their stories, their prayers, their grief, and their support during that time.
Because Using Your Voice Matters
Currently on this road to healing I find myself in another kind of community. A community of women who have taken a pledge to use their voice and tell their stories. Not because we want to scream we have been victimized to the heavens and earth, but because we want others to feel free to heal. We want others to know the freedom that comes from using our voice.
I still have much healing to go, but I’m not alone. It was hard, and a very fearful experience every time I had to trust someone with my story, and it still is. However, I wouldn’t trade the community who has embraced, supported, and cheer leaded me along the way. I also wouldn’t trade the opportunity I have to minister to women in different communities now.
How About You?
If community has hurt you. Slain your heart with brokenness. Please take courage. There are those who are out there that God will use to genuinely love and support you. People are meant to be His hands and feet. Not to hurt but to heal. Beloved, pray for God to lead you into the arms of healthy community. He may lead you to take the first step. Either way I’m praying for you.
Ladies and a Few Brave Men
I took the pledge to use my voice, and you can too. Jo Ann Fore has written a book entitled “When a Woman Finds Her Voice. The book releases in October. I have been given the privilege of reading it before the release date. And I want to share it with you because God is using her voice to carry me through this season.
A copy of the book is being given away here on Goodreads until Sept. 30th.
You can preorder it here.
You can take the pledge to use your voice here.
You can find more healing resources from Jo Ann here.
For more from the community of women who will encourage you to use your voice and find healthy community join us as we link up our stories about community this week: