About the Author

Bonnie Gray is the author of Whispers of Rest and Finding Spiritual Whitespace, wife, and mom to two boys. An inspirational speaker featured by Relevant Magazine and Christianity Today, she’s guided thousands to detox stress and experience God’s love through soul care, encouragement, and prayer. She loves refreshing your soul...

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  1. […] I had to chuck my idealistic mindset about Christian community – when I found myself sitting at a large round table, heads down and hands folded at a very peculiar prayer meeting… ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ …To read the rest of my story and see what happened next – click here and jump over to DaySpring’s (In)Courage website, where today’s post is published. […]

  2. I’ve been in a covenant community since 1990, and before that I was part of other communities. I love being in community- it’s an extended family. But the best part is, I view community as a an ark, where we are not only protected from the world and the influence of the world, but it is from where we can help others be saved, when we pull them into community. My community is also part of a worldwide community of communities. When brothers and sisters immigrate to other countries, they can be connected to another community and continue the way of life we have.

    • Family is the reality we call home as a community. I never stop getting goosebumps, meeting people for the first time who are part of God’s family and feeling like it’s a reunion! Thanks, Patsy!

  3. Community is hard for me, I find myself guarded from being hurt. Building a wall around me is a stronghold that I have and need to break away from.

    • I understand, Val and feel the same way as different seasons & people come through my life. As we grieve the hurt and open up, even if to one, we can heal.

  4. I struggle greatly with community…. not from lack of desire but because I have a hard time letting people in to see the real me. As a leader of Children’s Ministry and a daughter of parents who raised me to keep the real me hidden so people wouldn’t see the struggles and the raw of real life, I have a hard time letting people in.
    I am praying about this exact issue in my life!

  5. Oh, that quote! Community is hard for me. I think I try too hard at times to be something they want instead of what God created me to be. I see the need to sit back and let God lead me in relationships instead of diving headlong into something that will, in the end, cause me to question why I did it. Does that make sense? Goodness I’m rambling here. I love your attitude of humility. Thank you for sharing what community really is.

  6. LOVE this, Bonnie!

    The carefully offered prayer request sparking a mini-sermon cloaked as prayer….oh my my my.

    Really appreciate your insights about the idealized community required an idealized you. Also, an idealized me <gulp?. I need to extend a lot of grace to my sisters/brothers. Also to myself. We are – all of us – being molded. I have needed to learn to trust God to shape and smooth others as much as I am counting on that for myself. We need each other. It is just so easy to back away these days. "Oh, I'm staying in touch on FB." I don't think so.

  7. As a retired chamber of commerce executive I have learned that developing a strong community means concentrating on the good things that bring us together, not the negative things that tear us apart. Community is a very important and necessary concept, but it also means putting the needs of the sum of us ahead of what’s only important to me. It can be awesome, but it can also be scary – nonetheless we GROW.

    • Thanks for adding your voice here, Dee. It’s encouraging to know even someone like yourself who is gifted at swimming in a community to lead still finds it scary!

  8. Love this ….“Christian brotherhood is not an ideal which we must realize;
    it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer”.

    I am continually learning this in leading small groups. It is not an ideal we strive for, but meeting people where they are, joining our hearts together and moving forward together towards becoming like Christ!

    • Hi Stacey! I love how you express this. Blessings as you take a place of creating that place of community with others and being faithful week after week!

  9. Beautiful Bonnie, I needed your words today. Thank you for bringing us all back to truth, to reality, to a place of grace with God and each other. I’m so thankful for your friendship and the way you serve up faith to all of us! Miss you!

  10. Community is so hard for me-as is transparency of any kind-I always fear that if people see the real me..they will not want to know me-that is even how I feel in my personal relationships-fear that ‘me’ is never enough. I am in a new church now…which is a blessing-they encourage community but as of yet I have not joined any small groups or prayer groups – I did start to go to a Sunday School class..so baby steps. My husband is like me also – I am hoping and praying that we both let down our guard and become a part of our church community.

    • Hooray for baby steps, Rita! For each step, I pray you will find hand of God’s encouragement through the hands of real people, welcoming you. Even if it’s not perfect, I hope those glimmers of real connection assure you it’s worth it! Because it is, even with the imperfections. 🙂

  11. Bonnie, your last line gave me a profound picture. What bride knows exactly what she wants for her wedding, for her wedding day? How many times do her ideas change before she walks down that aisle and takes her vows? I feel so schizophrenic myself, and I watch others in my community reinventing the wheel, tweaking this and that – but if we are all members of one Body, all part of the Bride, then it is the Spirit who is making us single-minded for our Bridegroom.

    When we interact with our spiritual community and grow together in the Spirit, we become more of one mind, and this is a part of a much bigger plan.

    I love your posts. I don’t comment nearly so often as I should. 😉

  12. Dear Bonnie,
    I loved this! Just this past Sunday, I found myself sharing a testimony to have someone give me a criticism which felt like a dart in the middle of my search for encouragement. What was my choice? I chose to free them and just ignore their remark and press forward with the testimony, leaving them with God and then turning to God with what happened, instead of them. I like His response to you: Be humble. Yes, that is clearly the answer. Pride would want us to defend ourselves or prove we are worthy of their noticing who we really are. But, the truth is, when they don’t know our hearts, and when God hasn’t given them a revelation of Himself in us, we can still love, cause it’s never about us. And, yeah, what a God moment to learn more about who we really are when confronted in these ways. I was to love others and deny myself. Such moments are bringing me the cross and reminding me that my Savior is now my life. God bless you, girl!

    • The cross is a great addition and extension to what community really is. When Jesus called us to follow Him, He meant into loving others and carrying our cross. Amazing how you let that dart whiz by with your shield of faith, Christine!

  13. Thank you for your words, Bonnie. Spiritual community is love; human community is acceptance. So often we strive for and settle for acceptance, when what we really want and need is love. May we encourage one another in true spiritual community.

  14. I’m thinking about this. Wondering if there is something inherently spiritual in social networks. Not that we always experience it that way. But the Trinity seems to me to be a kind of mini Social Network. 🙂 And the disciples too. And the Church. As if it all spiraled out from that original three-in-one.

    Like I said, just thinking. 🙂

    • Oh, I love how you think, Laura! 🙂 Spiritual community in perfection ultimately includes social community, as it was originally designed. It’s that vision of knowing God will fulfill it that gives us the confidence to lay ourselves down to each other on this side of heaven. And makes taste sweetly sacred when we do find friendship.

  15. Wow, the Lord is working so diligently on me right now to see Him. I am struggling so so much with this exact thing. I have experienced a loss that has caused me to retract and close everyone off. No one has been able to break the code, not even the hubby. Therefore causing us to be in complete turmoil. I have started going to a bible study where He has revealed a part of Himself to me each week. Last night’s discussion was on humility and being humble. Your words and everyone’s comments has ministered to me like you couldn’t even imagine.

    • Rebecca, be kind and gracious to yourself as you take time to heal. It is completely okay to be in a season of grieving and finding your way back into His arms. God is capable to break the code. He is in it right with you, in fact. And He will nurse you back to health. It’s wonderful you are taking steps into Bible Study. Your faith will be rewarded, as you depend on Him. I have been there where you are and have complete confidence He will take you through it! Thank you for such an encouraging slice into God working in your life!

  16. I used to run from community… now I run to it. It is a vital part of my Christian development and growth… my personal development and growth. Even when I hear the hard stuff from others, it is still life-changing for me and helpful. So grateful to God for creating community!

    • That is so awesome, Jenny. You are perfectly positioned to encourage others, especially having walked through it and still continuing to experience it as life changing!

  17. This was perfect timing for this post. I haven’t really gotten to know anymore at my church. This was the perfect reminder that my decision to go to the small group meeting tonight is a good thing.

  18. A timely word indeed. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I have been out of community since moving four years ago from a vibrant urban area to a very small rural one. Just this past weekend, the Lord spoke to my heart about the need to reconnect and the first step revealed is to attend a Sunday School class this coming Sunday. I know it will not be easy to be the ‘new’ one walking into a group of people who have known each other since they were kids. Your word from Him, “Be Humble”, struck a chord deep in my heart this morning. My prayer is that I will be able to put away my idealistic mindset of how I think they should be…and to accept them for how they are…friendly or not. Trembling already at just the thought of it! Thanks again.

    • I’m trembling right with you, girl! … and smiling because you now know that we know… and well, God knows. Just breathe and call it an adventure! 🙂 Let us know how it goes, if you feel inspired. 🙂 I have a sticky note prayer for you, Fonda!

  19. Community is tough for me. It’s pretty easy being friendly and getting acquainted, but it’s hard for me to let people in past a certain surface level.

    The rewards of prayer and support make spiritual community worth the effort, but we’re in search of a new church right now and I’ve been ill, so that’s a you could pray for.

  20. Well, today I was challenged to know that a womens fellowship was coming up and I needed to trust that God was with me and that the group is loving and recieving…mind you this is my 2nd fellowship i would attend. So as God has a way of doing things I read my emails and read this article and it just confirmed and opened my eyes to various things of how I see myself and others. So i wanna say thanks for allowing God to use you with this article.. Proverbs 3:5 tells me to trust with all my heart about community…Thanks again and keep sharing!

  21. Bonnie, this was so good to read and be reminded of what true community, spiritual community, looks like. I was just talking about this with a friend this morning… thank you for sharing!

  22. ah, the “c” word, community. strikes terror and seemingly permanent knots in my stomach at just the slightest thought. my favorite quote is from Charles Schultz throught the Peanuts character Linus when he declares, “i love mankind. it’s humans i can’t stand.” i am socially handicapped in general so that doesn’t help. i the type that needs 23.45 hrs or re-coop time for the 15 min of time i just spent with one other human being. that’s just the way i’ve always been. i do have better moments. then my frustrations with the “how we do church” came along and i found myself sitting in the pew with the most awful things going on inside of me. i took a break from that church for a while but grew closer to God. now i feel the need to pray for getting back into community again with a fresh heart and a fresh attitude and trusting God to help me deal with myself. i don’t want to but i feel the Father’s urging. so i am praying for that “gift” of community once again, especially since my youngest just moved out of the home. it is so quiet here. this morning my soda bottle popped and i nearly fell off the sofa because i was so startled by the noise. i loved many things you said in your writings but one that seems to apply especially to me is “Spiritual community confronts the limits of our humanity, so that we turn to God.” it isn’t enjoyable to face your limitations especially when they seem so vast and overwhelming. thank you for your post. blessings.

    • Being connected can mean something entirely different from person to person! God sees your heart, and not your actions. God says He is pleased by our faith, not the result or performance or how many people we talk to. 😉 We each have our different personalities and preferences for socialization. I see amazing faith in your attitude of freshness to return. Go, Judy! Simply be you!

  23. It’s dangerous, it’s scary, and we need it desperately! It gets messy and mangled as we get vulnerable, but we can’t love as He loves with all the walls in place. We are “safe” but isolated. Not what God has in mind for His chosen generation, peculiar people!

    Great post, Bonnie. Thank you.

    • “We are safe, but isolated.” Love this, Jason! Totally not what God had in mind and it’s amazing how He can bring us back. And then, we in turn encourage and comfort others.

  24. Thank you for this reminder that seeking perfection in community is as unrealistic and destructive as seeking perfection in myself or in individuals. I needed to be pointed back to the God at the center of it all.

  25. Hi Bonnie!

    I know it pleases God when I attend church each week & apply what I heard in the sermon to my daily life. So trying to please God is what encourages me to be in spiritual community.
    I must go every Sunday to connect with God and my church family or I feel sorta disconnected all week. I loved the verse from John 13:35. It’s so true. Blessings to you and I pray for you often. Your posts are so enjoyable to read.

  26. Right now, community is difficult for me. I am nervous about opening my heart up to others because of some recent hurts I received in a friendship. Also, I find that my time and energy are sapped in taking care of my 4 children. These are excuses though, and I’m trying to take advantage of the opportunities God places in my path. Thanks for this great post, Bonnie! 🙂

    • Oh, girl. My circle of community has definitely “focused” since becoming a mom of two boys under 5. It is draining to civilize these little blank slates. 🙂 I talked to some “experienced” moms whose kids are adults as a reality check and they were like, “You young moms just want to do everything! I was happy to just get through a day with food on the table!” Just keepin’ it real right there with ya’, Melissa!

  27. How convenient that I can echo Melissa’s comment right before mine! I am having trouble opening up in relationships because of a huge hurt from a mentor/friend. For the last year I ahve found that when I am home, I long to be out visiting with people and having ‘community’ but then when I do actually get out, I long to be back in the safety of my home!!! haha I suppose this is because of my idea of an ‘ideal community’.

    I am also sapped on the energy because of 3 kids and being pregnant with #4. I feel like it is a huge effort right now to work on developing community…recently read an article in ‘Real Simple’ mag titled “Can I Call You Back in 15 Years?”. That pretty much sums up how I feel right now about community and the energy it takes. Not good I know.

    Amy

    • It is so normal to need recovery time after being hurt. Our hearts are just real. And so is our physical strength! 🙂 It’s so challenging for us mommies to just get through a day. Community to us might mean having one other mommy to “zone out” with while the kids are running around, even if just once a week. I especially need one on Wednesdays. Thanks for being here today, Amy!

  28. Bonnie, the timing of your article is a true gift from the Lord. I am speaking on Saturday night at a women’s event on the topic of unity, at their request. Until this past summer, it wasn’t even a subject I formally considered. Yet in such a short time, the Lord has revealed to me the necessity of community and blessings of unity within the Body, not only through the Word but evidence in the lives around me. Unity is what forms community. It is paved through humility, bathed in love, and clothed in forgiveness. The journey to the cross requires unity in the body of Christ, which He uses to form the communities that sustain us during trials and enrich our lives during seasons of blessings. It is a beautiful gift from God! (Psalm 133).

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here. It is confirmation that I’m on track with the Lord, especially evidenced by so many comments from your readers!

  29. Oh Bonnie, I like to say I’m a reformed ‘people pleaser’. I love community but find myself at times disappointed. It often takes time for me to feel like I fit in and then there are times when I just don’t. So often even in Christian circles there are cliques and expectations from others. I always try to remember that not everyone will like me or approve of me. I want to remember that God is the only One I desire to please.

    However, I do love the body of Christ. We all have our warts and all. Nobody’s perfect. I go to church alone and so I’m sensitive to others who are alone. I used to want to sit in the back but now I’m comfortable by myself. And do you know what? I have made many new friends simply by reaching out and introducing myself to others.

    I’m at a point in my life where I’m less intimidated doing things alone and meeting new people. I guess age and experience has much to do with that.

    But I also have been so encouraged by the community of bloggers I’ve met. We share our hearts, our hurts and even our insecurities and questions and we grow to love one another. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many bloggers in person and I’ve never been disappointed. One day Bonnie …I hope to meet you.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

  30. “The degree to which I can accept the truth about myself and others in love determines my ability to enjoy true community.”

    Over the years and in various seasons, I hesitated opening up to community. Living authentically (being real) and being open to others doing the same encourages me to stay connected with true community. More times than not, when I ask for it, I receive the courage needed to push out of my “hide-out” into community.

    Thanks, Bonnie, for sharing wise words here.

  31. Um, it’s easy at first, because I love people and am so grateful for their attention and their encouragement…but then of course it gets hard. Then I do my falling out, whether directly (if the person can engage and we can move deeper) or indirectly (taking a break from associating for a while to catch my breath). I guess it comes of having a Greek mother (fiery) and an American born Chinese husband (no description please!). Hopefully I do the right thing, but there’s no telling. Indirectly I have a good time for prayer or for falling prey to the wrong thoughts whispering in my head. But I do need community, do highly value a good friend. Perhaps I just persue too many of them, hoping that they’ll all go deep bit by bit?

    I’ve been needing a Biblestudy because it was so great over the summer when I woke and drove 20 min to my friend’s breakfast study at her house. But now the school year has started (and I mean for my professor husband) I can’t do that. Most moms go to a morning study but that’s prime time for homeschool at my house. So I hope to start a tea-time study with 3 neighbor ladies and send them home with simple meals (two of them work and the other’s chronically ill) made in the crock pot while we study/pray and our kids play in the neighborhood. I hope they can join me. I hope we can actually study and pray. I hope we can make it through difficult times. Directly!

    • Dear Beth, I wll pray for you. What you are doing is what I would love to be able
      to participate in. It sounds wonderful and especially for the gal that is chronically
      ill. I suffer from a chronic illness and I wish someone from the church my hubby
      is attending would start something such as this (I am not well enough to go to
      church). How compassionate you are and sensitive to other women’s needs by
      making a crock pot meal. Do you have any idea what a blessing that will be for the
      gals that are going to be so blessed. Please let me know how it goes and I will up-
      hold you in prayer. Many blessings, Chris (oh I am 60yrs old but my mind feels like
      I am still thirty).

  32. I do need my Christian Community which is Our Bible Study Group, which has been together for 20 years, and my Christian Woman’s Club for 20 years as well. We have all learned to depend on God’s Word as He Speaks to us of His Love,Guidance and Direction and His Pain and Suffering on the Cross for our Salvation. We also have lifted each other up during Life’s Hardest challenges and Praised God together for Joys and Blessings he has given to all of us. We have Agape love for each other,makes the World a little easier to take and easier to tell others outside of the community that faith in the Lord keeps us strong and connected to each other and most of all to our Lord,
    Love,hugs and Blessings to all,
    Jan Belzer

  33. Community has ALWAYS been hard for me. I am so reserved and timid to share parts of myself.

    My friends would laugh at those two statements, even roll their eyes. Because once I’m carefree and past the barrier, I’m my silly, goofy, open, talk too much, self. I will say that if I am comfortable with new friendships, it’s because God has prepared me to receive them and to be open.

    The times I’ve reached out to initiate community, have been the biggest risks and the best blessings thus far.

    So glad to have YOU in my online community. I have no doubt that our worlds will collide someday….

  34. Community is great and hard work! Like a family, you get your feelings hurt, you hurt other people’s feelings…Seems like when you are out and about walking in righteousness, all is well and you even have all the “right” answers (kind of become selfrighteous) about your walk and your relationship with the Lord…maybe is just me…
    But when you stumble and fall and get dirty, IF you are so brave that you don’t walk away and hide and actually take the risk to be real and stay in a community where you “expose” your true self and where you are at, watch out! Its like everyone has a word for you, knows exactly what you need to do and has a word from God to you that “God JUST told them to tell you”! Let me say this before I get misunderstood: I have been in both sides. I have judged and been judged. I know how both sides feel and well,..I might be a masochist but I LOVE living in a community of faith. of believers. I love them! my brothers and sisters in Christ! How can I not? Christ in me loves them madly and yes, so we are not perfect. we have to learn how o love one another, for love covers a multitude of sins and to forgive one another, to look past the affinities or not and see everyone through Christ and well, I don’t have to like them to love them right? LOL
    Through living in a community I grow. I grow in love and grace, I judge less and well, I love more. We learn to forbear, we learn to make “allowances” for one another’s shortcomings..and after all..isn’t that what Jesus does for me every second of every day?!!!!!!!
    Be blessed. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  35. I had an incredible community in college, and I find one of my struggles now is trying to replicate that same level of sharing, authenticty, fun, challenge, love, and encourgament. (Your post by the way helped me just realize that this is probably part of the core issue of why I havne’t found a new community to really sink my heart into these past six years.)

    But I’m currently on a journey of taking baby steps toward putting myself out there and letting go of expectations of myself and othes so I can be open to what God has to teach me through others and what he may want me to also give.

    I’m learning that even if I’m new to a group I don’t have to take a back seat to cultivating community. As much as I long for someone to reach out to me in a genuine may and open up their heart and life, I have to believe that other women are longing for the same thing. So, as God leads, I’m seeking to be that initiator, and so far, I’ve been so blessed by the process.

  36. I have never thought of my relationship with Jesus as a spiritual community. But I love your reasons for needing it. Real truth there.

    I’m going to start participating in a small group Bible study on Monday. Already thinking how transparent I should be…. will they accept and like me….. can I use what the Lord has done in my life to encourage others in my group…… such pressure I put on myself. Silly me. I feel the Lord wants me to be a part of this group, at this time and for this particular study. So, I guess I should go with joy and expecting some great stuff.

    Oh and by the way – I too have used the Shapie pen trick on picture frames. Also, belts and shoes. 🙂

  37. Honestly, finding community was pretty difficult for me for some time. I had a carnal mindset that females brought catty-ness and drama so I steered clear from being amongst a group of females. It was not untl God gave me heart change and made me see thing through a different eyes. Being with a group of females of different backgrounds and spirtitual levels is something I needed and longed for. So i kicked that carnal mindset to the curb and Now I am apart of the womens ministry in my church and we have a great time being with each other and hanging out and growing together!

  38. Ouch! My hands burned as you caught the hot potato.

    Community can be difficult for me, but I desperately need it and therefore, even when I don’t feel like doing the community thing, I force myself to try and take part. Sometimes I walk away on a cloud. Other times I’m disappointed, but always I know I need the support of others to make it.

  39. God loves worship. I just gave my life to him. He love true worship from the faithful. I alwwalways pray for faith. I felt presence behind me after I sang with all my heart and in my mind I was before God.In reality I was in my kitchen. I politely begged the angels to help me worship him and the happily did. They knew the words to my made up song. I was doing all this in faith and I meant it. I danced as I did the dishes. I skipped me brothers and he said do it for me so I did it. Before all that I had seen something but I won’t put it out. He hears all prayers but I believe the more you put ur heart to it the more he does.back to kitchen reality reality I sang and magnified his name and then I closed my eyes and he revealed himself. I ran out of fear to the living room. I felt the angels decend. The anoiting from to much. I quickly tried to go only to tell a christian pal but I decided to call her instead but no one picked up.I felt them. I wanted to run my pastor but he said don’t. He said. He is the voice. In my head. He made me lie on the carpet and I found myself repeatedly saying. Thank you jesus. The anointing in the room w

  40. Was too much. I had started cryin uncontrolably after he tried to reveal himself. It is God I believe. I screamed jesus. Back to me on the carpet. I don’t know how to narrate it. He is waaaaaaaay beyonce powerful. Jesus is the most kind hearted. He came. I was scared to open my eyes. God forgive me but I wish someone was with me. I closed my eyes tighter and found myself repeatin thank you jesus. He did not step on the carpet. My eyes.were closed but I could see the living room clearly and the was our lord. He is alive. The power is stronger than ever. The is blood in his face from wearing that thorn crown. Heis soo good. He toned down the light and came closer so I could see his face. He did not say a word. I blessed their name without stuttering even though I couldn’t think straight. It was far from easy. I remember blocking the view from fear because without a ord I asked him to come closer. I was too scared because I was conscious in all this. and a very fast fireball pop into my head. I was too real.He look like he meant business. Nothin too white. He toned it down. At first he stood infront of my father’s door and showed me only his head because I just he knew I was too scared. I thought I would pass out. Jesus is alive. The holy spirit is swift and he has head and the rest is cold wind. And I believe he is fire. He did not come to me. He look like he was in the middle of something. Believers they are very powerful. I know there is war going on and pray to God and bless his name. The is powerful. Jesus died but he has risen.Angels make way for him. He is fearful from all that power but the love is too strong. He is Lord. Be scared and pray to God and thank Jesus. From what I deduced and I don’t know what I deduce mean, I think Jeus is loved by all the saints.Its all about him. I am filled with fear but I know I should be happy.no time to rejoice. Be serious. The end is near. About 3weeks since I gave my life to him in truth and this is just one of my testimonies. Am I scared to pray,umm no because he is fearful but he showed strong love.

  41. Look brothers and sisters. I don’t even know what follows the book or Eclessistis in the bible and I probably didn’t spell it right but I believe. Pray to God to show you if you have doubts. I say to you. Becareful what you ask for. Do not go in a doubtful heart. He is God he knows if you believe. So make yourself believe. It is not lyin because he is the truth. I can tell you what I did but that was from my heart so you pour your heart. Posssibly if u are alone. Let ur heart reach him. Show him real love so he will show it back. be inspired. Master courage. It is very scary but ask him for courage. We are all sinners. Don’t let it bother you. One time I asked. Please forgive me but He said forgive yourself. If satanist worship the devil and some kill for their God why can’t you worship urs. Do ever

  42. Do everything you can to look good before him not man. Preach to food in faith.things people call crazy. Be alone if possible. Vision old man very fit in a cartoon. Very clean. He is holdin a gun shooting at things I can’t see. He is who I believe is God. So I thought oh.God is not giving orders. He is infront of the battle with his men. Angels in disguise I guess. Then I looked closer and he was the only one shooting and fighting the war. Make something of it. My name is jefferey. Please remember me in your prayers. I’m not goin to tell one individual because they might think I’m crazy. Here, I might find atleast one believer. Never gain grace from people. It is written. Father please help us.

  43. Bonnie, I understand completely. I have gone rounds with myself and my brothers and sisters in Christ because of this. Over and over I experience disappointment only to realize that I’m probably the problem because I have hugely high expectations placed on… well… everything. Bonhoeffer’s statement couldn’t be more true of how it is.

  44. Bonnie, I thought I was alone on these feelings and emotions. Then I started reading the posts. There are so many of us in pain but still trying to go around ourselves and our self inflicted imprisonment to get better. I started going to church in my community, helping out and cleaning, bible class. Then I became ill, I stopped going, started looking at my faults and those of others. I became a prisoner to these thoughts. Didn’t want to go anywhere because I lost so much weight, afraid to eat because I don’t want to be made sick by food again , I became frozen. I read your article on PTS, so scary and so real. I just want to send you a hug, keep trying and so will I. Jesus is with us. I used to write too, came from a family that had many problems that resurfaced when I was 56.
    Everything has been stripped away, now Jesus has to put it back together for me, I can’t anymore do it myself anymore. My word for 2013 is “Don’t”. Don’t do what I wanted to do. I carry your word “Beloved” with me instead. And I stopped trying to control the outcomes of
    anything. Thanks Bonnie~
    Thank you, keep going one step at a time, one day at a time.

  45. I know this post may be a little late, but I just came across this blog and this topic. And it is so close to my heart right now that I want to post. I just finished a 4 month missions program, and it was the first time in my life I’ve experienced a real Christian community. I lived each day with people who became family to me more than some of the people I’ve lived with for almost half my life. I went from an isolated teenager who had literally no community in her life, the few friends and family members being non-Christians, to suddenly living in community. Learning lessons about team, realtionships, how to love and be loved. Learning that I AM loved….a lesson in progress. Praying together. Working together. Having such an incredible amount of intimacy and transparency. And then it ended. And I think my soul is crying. I have dreams almost every night about my team. It’s physically painful to be away from these people I came to love so much. These relationships that were far from perfect and went through a ton of trials. But that’s part of living in relationship, learning to have grace and to persevere, to choose relationship continually, even if it makes us bleed, just like Jesus. I know I am called to do the Lord’s work here, and I will continue to seek out more community. I stay in contact with my team as much as I can. Some of them have chosen to stay in touch, some have not. None as much as I wish they would. I have this incredible amount of grief. Community is so hard. But so good. This was my first experience; I hope it is not my last. Authentic Christian community is so hard to find. It just doesn’t happen in Sunday morning services, as nice as everyone is. I want REAL. I have a lot of trouble with relationships. I have a hard time with attachment. I’ve had some major loss and trauma in the past that this latest experience has really brought back, but also given me the chance to begin to work through. I don’t entirely know where to go from here. But God does. Sometimes it’s best that we don’t know, so He can lead us where He wants us and we don’t get in the way so much. I miss this strange but wonderful family I got to be a part of for a short amount of time; I will let my heart be open to whoever God puts in my life next. I will keep choosing relationship. Even when it makes me bleed. Just like Jesus.