As we’ve been working through the Gospel According to Mark, we’ve discussed the power that a single encounter with another person can have in our lives. We asked some of our members to share what this has practically looked like in their own lives.
I have always fought change. Growing up in a family that moved to a new city every few years not only forced me to adapt to change, but it also became one of the few constants in my life. Every time we would move I would desperately try to hold on to friendships that I had worked so hard to cultivate. I felt very loyal to the girls with which I had bonded and shared so many of my life experiences. Friendship for me had always been about keeping in touch and maintaining relationships with those who knew everything about me. These women knew the details of my life: my likes and dislikes, my most embarrassing moments, my favorites movies, my ex-boyfriends, my love for basketball and Virginia Tech football. Although knowing the details of my life is wonderful and very important, I had elevated knowing things about me as the only way of really knowing me.
I continued to believe that those who held the details of my life were really the only ones who could understand me. After all, experiences shape who you are, right? This continued to be my mindset when I first moved to Denver. I thought to myself, “you can always make new friends, but your new friends will never fully understand you because they haven’t experienced your past with you”. Because of this mindset and never really attempting to understand community as God created it to be, it became very difficult for me to build deep relationships in Denver. So much of myself was deeply committed to other relationships. Little pieces of me were dispersed all over the country and out of loyalty I was not willing to share those parts of me with women here.
Over the past three and a half years, God, through the Summit Church family, has shown me what it means to be truly known yet still loved despite all of my shortcomings. He has used the women of His church to teach me so much about community as He created it to be. He has radically changed the way my heart and mind view friendships and community. I have women in my life who truly know and understand my depravity. These women are deeply concerned for the health of my marriage and relationships, they ask difficult questions about how I am really doing and the condition of my heart, they pray on my behalf when I can’t find the strength or will to approach God on my own. These are all things I never imagined women in my community would do for me; details of my life that I never thought I would so willingly share.
For so long I allowed my own view of perfect friendships and community to keep me from deep, meaningful relationships. The women in Denver, who I have grown to love so deeply, may not know my favorite TV show in high school or where I was born, but they know me more intimately than I could have ever imagined and by God’s overwhelming grace, still love me!