About the Author

Arianne is a mom of three boys and a baby girl. She lives in Phoenix, AZ, and sifts through the Legos and fluffy cloth diapers hoping to one day catch up on sleep. Her heart is healing and thriving from living life as a mom of kids with autism and...

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  1. God moved us from California to Arkansas; back to California again and then to Colorado. Each time has been an incredible time of growth. We especially realized that “family” can be a lot more than the one you’re born into. Though it takes time and hard work…friends, new & old, can fill that hole in your heart. He always gives us His strength and courage and grace just when we need it the most. Enjoy your adventure!

  2. I was reminded this year of Exodus 14:14 “the Lord will fight for you. You need only to stand still.” ten months ago we uprooted from our community of 13 years in redwood city, ca and we moved 10 hours south to San Diego for my husbands job. One month later he lost his job due to the sale of the company. Our rental house fell down litterally . Our kids were missing their friends their old rooms, even our dogs were depressed. We felt confused and alone. We couldnt figure out why God had us here. Our rental has a huge fence in the back yard that blocks our ocean view. I was so frustrated with that fence. But that fence now has meaning. As I sat out in the back yard crying out to the Lord I was reminded of the entire chapter of Exodus 14 when Moses cried out to The Lord and the lord was like “‘why are you crying?’ just hold your hand and staff out and I’ll part the sea. ” (duh.) for me our fence was my sea, I was so swallowed in our trials that little did I know on the Other side of the fence was not just the ocean but also two of the dearest families that we couldn’t imagine life without them and they have stretched our faith to greater heights. They have wrapped there arms our our family and reminded us that God did not let us die in the dessert he fought for us and is for us. Community is everything for us and he’s shown us that he will always provide, even when we can’t see what’s on the other side of the fence. Cheers and may your journey be rich.

  3. Arianne is my cousins pretty name. It’s a rare one.

    I discovered myself without friends a few months ago when I changed churches and due to some other events in my life. So, I realized quickly that I needed to go find them. I asked my Pastor about a small group and he placed me with two single ladies which was exactly what I needed because so am I. The Lord has plans I just need to follow.

  4. Arianne,
    I hope you have an uneventful move! It sounds like fun but also scary at the same time! My anxiety would have gotten the best of me most likely. God brought me community right here in my own church after 2 1/2 years of attending and I still felt alone. He brought me one person , then another, then another and now I feel right at home 4 years later! I stayed with the new girl at school feeling and still have it to a degree. God loves me just as he loves you and he will give you awesome friends. I know it. He has a wonderful way of picking those people who are just perfect for us!
    Lisa

    • Lisa, let me tell you sister – I’ve had to wrangle and wrastle my anxiety, taking the mantra “just do the next thing” so that I wouldn’t be drowning. God has been so faithful, honoring me just *wanting* to surrender, that the actual surrender hasn’t been so hard. I LOVE your story, and am so encouraged by it. Thank you!

  5. I’ve come to the point where I’m not sure community actually exists. I read a quote recently that said something to the effect, “Community is the word people use when they are in it.” Right now I feel as if I know people from a distance. And honestly, I’m learning to be okay with that as well. Not that I am giving up on having close friends, for I have a few online friends that fit that category, but irl it’s more of a “I’m on the edge” type thing. There are circles around me, but I don’t really fit in any of them. I’m merely on the edge, and for right now that is okay. And honestly, I wonder how many other people feel that way as well but think it should be different. I have wandered too long in my life wanting to be in the “in” crowd to the exclusion of others. Now, I want to pick up with those excluded. I don’t know if that even makes sense. Maybe this entire comment needs to be reconsidered and blogged one day soon. But for now you can simply see my insanity in it. heh

    • I totally understand what you’re saying Stacey. I felt so similar, very very recently. We were hurt deeply by our church last year and it’s been hard to believe again that God created us for community. But I very much do believe that now. I also believe that sometimes He has us in a dry spell, for His glory, and His purposes. Don’t give up, ok? Perhaps that nudge in your heart to reach out to those excluded is your ministry in the making. Praying for you. xoxo

      • I don’t feel as if I’m giving up, but I will stay on guard to make sure I don’t. I feel as if I am settling into a contentment with where I am. But I have to admit that there is hurt behind the baggage which has brought me to this point. Thank you for the encouragment.

    • Stacey –

      Your comment struck a chord with me because I have so been there. My husband and I had moved 10 times in 11 years (move 11 in 13 is ahead of us) and there was one place that we got to where I thought “this is it. I’m done trying to find a community to belong to, I just don’t fit here.” But God nudged my heart and put in there the concept of not having to belong to a community to actually “Be” community. I began instead taking leaps and reaching out to others and modeling what a community authentic is suppose to be. Gradually, my heart softened and true friendships were built. So I think where you are now is where I was … reaching out to the excluded and forming community. That’s beautiful.

      • Angela, good golly girl. That is a lot of moving. I thought I had moved a lot, but you beat me. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Truly though, that is the hard part for me but the part I know I need to be doing more of. The reaching out. I’m working on it, but it’s a struggle. Thank you for the encouragement to keep going.

    • Stacey, thank you *so* much for your brave comments here. I agree with you ~ I think many women {maybe most?} have been in your shoes in one season or another. Or more. I know this gal sure has. {Weak smile} Like Ari said, sometimes God allows for a dry spell so we can learn lessons in the waiting. It sounds like you are very aware of this, and you are finding a peace and contentment in this waiting. That is no easy task, is it?

      I’m praying now our good God opens up fresh avenues for you to find good community. You are so. very. appreciated here, Stacey. Thank you for being in this (in)courage family! You BLESS.

  6. It’s interesting all the different posts I’ve been reading about community lately. It seems to be on all our minds/fingertips. Ha!
    I just wrote a post about my word for 2012: Fellowship. My thoughts so far about it and yet see the irony in that I signed up for IRL when the sign up first began and there are actually 2 of us in my area. I’ve tried to reach out the other but she has no email or Facebook page listed. So I left a comment under our meeting place and haven’t heard anything. I wanted to reach out in a new community and think I’ll be watching and participating alone.
    Good luck Arianne on your move to Arizona and blessings to all of us looking for and experiencing community!

    • Oh Cindy, I feel ya! Because of the timing of the move I’ll be watching alone too. I’ll be thinking of you – and remember we (you and I and everyone!) can still very much participate on Twitter. Hugs xoxo

  7. We are making a big cross state move too – to a place where we don’t know anyone at all! It’s a bit closer to my husband’s family, but we are leaving a wonderful community behind. It’s the job my husband has dreamed of and that we’ve prayed over for a decade…just not the spot we ever thought of… Yes, this topic is heavy on our minds… Knowing that if God places us there, He must have something good for us there!

  8. Breath deep. Trust. One foot in front of the other.

    After making 4 BIG out of state, not knowing anyone moves, I’ve learned to trust. Your BEST friends come with you, no matter where you go. Even if there’s a season of silence, you’ll pick up where you left off in no time.

    And PRAISE GOD, He is with us always! Even in seasons of no local community, we were able to stay plugged in with God through great online resources, “doing church” at home, and learning so much. I think it helped prepare our kids for mission fields I’d never dreamed they would see.

    I’ll be praying for your move…for your hearts and eyes to see Him at work around you, and through you. That you find where He needs you to be in community, and that you grow through this in wonderful ways. Be blessed!!

  9. God called us to Colorado in December and I understand the feeling that you won’t have a community….it’s scary..BUT I am learning to use this time, of wilderness as you called it, to focus on my relationship with him. To let him make me a BETTER friend so that when that community comes along…our hearts are ready! We were badly bruised when we moved…our community in our former home hurt us deeply and the wounds are just starting to heal..BUT I KNOW he has big plans for us! He called us and moved us and now he’s letting us rest. ๐Ÿ™‚ BTW Arizona and Colorado are close you know! So, though we’ve never met, you have a sister close… ๐Ÿ™‚

    • We are in a time of healing, and you are so right and wise to remind me that we need to be praying our hearts are ready for community. Thank you Misty! xoxo

  10. God moved us from Nashville, TN to Opelousas, LA last year. I left all my family and friends in KY/TN. It has been a whole new world, but we would be nowhere without our new church family. Although, the church is 45 minutes away. We are in a very small town that in order to find any conveniences that we were accustomed to you have to travel at least 30-45 minutes. To help make real connections. We have started opening our home every Saturday night to those that we meet and would like to get to know better. It is a standing invitation. We have some that never miss a meal and others that only have been able to visit once. Each week with a different mix of people, the conversations change and we learn more about the people that are attending. It has been great. We have some that travel as much as an hour to our home just to visit.

    • Incredible – you’re having church every Saturday night, breaking bread with folks and showing them real community. LOVE! Thank you for sharing.

  11. I have had several communities in this area I’ve lived for 17 years. A rather new community is right here on In courage. Community, to me, is anywhere you find people you can relate to & talk with just about anything.

    I love my small group communities soo much that I hate missing our weekly get togethers–Bible study, church, Emmaus, friends & family on-line. God made us to bond with & meet people as often as possible. It encourages, & brightens our day.

  12. Good luck with your move. If you are moving to the Phonix area check out Life 180 church. The youth pastor from my church in MN went to help plant this church and it is pretty amazing, God is doing good things and creating community!

    http://life180.org/

  13. So funny I moved from Arizona ( where I found my hubby ! ) fr California now we are in new England ( we moved 6 months ago fr AZ) ! I totally know how you feel ! I’m still trying to find my community as well it’s been quite some time since I have felt community , some place where I belong. It’s a process ! We do hope to settle back in Cali though someday. God brought us here to new England for a reason .. Just trying to figure out what that is lol ! Don’t know if you have a church set in Phoenix but I attended Phoenix first assembly Tommy barnett is the pastor ., it’s a huge church but once you settle in .. It
    seems small! I miss it! I highly recconmend checking out kingmaker program led by kristi estrada. She is an amazing! Good luck and enjoy your new journey !

  14. Hello again Sisters in Christ! We who read this blog are a community! We share ups and downs , trials ans joys. I am nearly 2000 miles from blood kin and old community. One day I sat deep in prayer, needing something desperately and not knowing what it was. I was in a very legalistic church and we ladies were not even allowed a Bible study of our own. I was invited to a small community church and sat wondering if it was ok to change churches. I mean they were “trinitarian” and it was against all I had been taught. Well, let me tell you, I got an answer! One sunday and I knew I was home! I took the membership class and joined right away. Those wonderful Christians welcomed me with open arms and hearts. It has been 2 1/2 years now. They have become friends, close family and we women study the Bible together. I think about going back “home” but I do not want to leave my church. So I signed another year lease on my apt and am staying put right here where I belong!
    I hope and pray each of you has a community as wonderful as mine! Much love, Susan

  15. How incredible for me to find this massive community of sisters all thru that wonderful book, A Thousand Gifts….which I have regifted several times!
    I am curious..the address at the bottom of the web page is Siloam Springs…which one of you lovelies lives there? I live in Arkansas. Just wondering.

  16. We to have gone through the same thing. Moved from TN to TX in August 2010. Away from all our family and friends to this palce where we know noone. Now that I am beginning to be ok here and just starting to make friends, my husband’s job is moving us to Atlanta,GA. Although this move will bring us closer to “home” it’s once again a new beginning and I’m battling the anxiety. This time here in TX has been very hard but also very good for us. I have grown, our marriage has grown and we have seen that God always goes before us and is always with us. His grace comes with each new day, not for tomorrow or three months from now. And this is what He reminds me everytime my stomach tightens and it’s hard to breath….I am with you and I will give you grace with each step you take. I have gone before you and have prepared your way. Fix your eyes on me and everything will be ok.

  17. …praying for you and your move. God always uses all for his good and his plans are perfect! Excited to hear what he has for you and your family in AZ.

  18. God has shown me the blessing of healthy friendships with women through the Women’s Ministry program at my home church! He’s shown me that there are people who are there to support you and genuinely care about you not only as a person but as a child of God. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love my women’s ministry group and appreciate everyone involved in the ministry! I love my church as a whole too! God has really been moving in my life and restoring me as He removes the issues and paranoia that’s kept me at arms length when surrounded by community. He’s shown me that no one is an island and no one is perfect and that when we work together in community, the Body of Christ (believers in God) can do great and mighty things in His name and there’s a healing that takes place, a restoration of the soul when you join a sisterhood of women on fire for the gospel of Jesus Christ! ๐Ÿ™‚ And the result is breathtaking and beautiful…. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. How did our good God stretch my community? Originally, by taking this same-small-town girl and arranging it so she’d fall in love with an Air Force man. ๐Ÿ™‚ I so get all your swirly “new kid at school” feelings about this move, darling. Praying right now that Arizona is a place of fresh starts and beautiful community, that you *feel* Him leading you to something far better than what you left. I love you so much, friend. Hugs to you, friend.

  20. Having a husband in the Army means my idea of community is wherever we’re stationed! It can be such a blessing to meet so many new, great friends I would have never met otherwise, but it is so scary sometimes. Especially this last move from Texas to Japan when I was 35 weeks pregnant with our first child. It’s hard, but those hard times, the times when all you have is God to get you through, can turn into such an immense blessing! Praying you will find that community to make your new city home ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Ariane, I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I also love to blog. Although it is getting into our hot season, the winter time is the time I especially love living here. But I guess you know that if you lived here before. Thank goodness for air conditioning!

    I am going to subscribe by email to your blog so I can follow along.

    There are many Arizona bloggers. I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of them. So know that there is a warm and loving community right here. You won’t be alone!

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

  22. Arianne, I live in Phoenix. I attended one church for 2.5 years, but just never felt like I was part of a community there, even after participating in numerous Bible studies, a small group and a position of service. I felt the urge to change churches because I wanted more in depth study options that a large church offered. I started attending Scottsdale Bible church last August. The very first sermon was about how my pastor felt that his very large church was just like the Biblical model of a church in Acts 2. I found one Sunday school class, then another (yes, I have two now). They offer so many Bible studies that it’s hard to choose. But the very first day of my first Bible study a nice lady struck up a conversation with me, so we sat at the same table. This week we’re finishing the second study together. She also encouraged me to join the choir since she had joined before Christmas. Praise and worship music is very important to me, and the choir and orchestra at SBC is amazing. I feel so very blessed to be a part of this ministry. It is funny, but I came to this church because they had a reputation for having good teaching, which I knew I needed. But then God blessed me in so many ways with a number of new friends I’ve met in Bible study and choir, and the opportunity to serve in Worship and Arts ministry. I never thought I would feel comfortable at a huge church, but the whole congregation just seems to reach out to people in ways that make it feel like a small community. Just thought you might like to know one place to try when you get here. They offer so many Sunday school classes, small groups, and different styles of worship music, I believe you would find something you will love.
    May the Lord bless you in your search for new community,
    Laurie

  23. I want to encourage you to hope again. It is so easy to draw in our protective wall when we are betrayed and deeply hurt by those who we have drawn close to our hearts. It seems like so often our deepest wounds come from our church where so much harm can be done in the name of religion. Our family lost our church, our community and most of our friends in a very small community. We sought reconciliation for 5 years but were met with rejection and hostility every time. It finally got so crazy that we had to walk away from our dream home after two attempts on our lives. It was a season of disillusionment, tears and fears but all of this has driven us to the Lord. We as a family are grateful for our fiery trial for His word has become so precious so rich and deep. It seems like everywhere that God is testing his children and refining us because our faith is so precious to Him and He wants it to be securely ours.
    I had to remember that is God who started this work in us and He is faithful to complete it not only in me but in others. His faithfulness to work in me gave me the faith to dare to hope again and to deliberately reach out to other Christians. Now, he has given us a new community of precious fellow believers. I know that God has plans for you to give you a hope and a future and that you will discover His jewels hidden along your path.

  24. Oh my, I live in Pawleys Island, just up the road from you but I am from Phoenix. We moved to this part of the world and wonder if we will ever be back in the desert with our family and the only community that seemed real for us. I love it here, but like you, don’t feel part of community. I know that starting all over again and wondering and pray you find it in the place I know I did. Nice to meet you, and relate to your words like looking in a mirror.

  25. I also moved from the South to Arizona. We did not know ANYONE before moving. God planted us in Arcadia and with the verse from Thes. “rejoice evermore for this is the will of Christ Jesus concerning you” I pray that your life will be blessed with the beauty of the landscape, friendship of the people, and closely knitting your family’s heart as you all grow together.

  26. Transplanted Phoenician. Send me an email if you are feeling disoriented when you get back…I have a long list of coffee and tea shops and would love to share a cup with you if you need it.

  27. Perfect timing on this post… We move in a few weeks, too, and similar emotions have been buzzing through my brain. Blessings to you as God grows you outside your comfort zone!

  28. Hi, Arianne,
    I so relate to your feelings about moving. Over 40 years of marriage, my husband and I moved 13 times! Hard work! There is a wonderful resource awaiting you in the Valley of the Sun (Scottsdale, specifically). My dear friend, Susan Miller, who founded Justmoved.org and wrote “After the Boxes are Unpacked” lives there! There are Moving on After Moving in classes in many churches in the area. Please look her up through her website. You will not be sorry – and, if you join a class – you’ll have instant community.
    Godspeed, Arianne! In Him you live and MOVE and have your being!
    Praying for you,
    Sudie

  29. […] had two incourage posts in the past few weeks, one was about that community shaped hole in your heart, and the other one is about comparing yourself to everyone online. They seemed to resonate with […]

  30. GOD-STRETCHED COMMUNITY!
    Well my husband, 3 children (8 and 13month old twin boys) moved into a big beautiful red house in the role of house parents in an intentional Christian Community in the north end of hartford (the hood) on may 1, 2012.

    we are responsible for somethings on paper, but in our spirit we feel like God has made us responsible for something larger. we are growing, being stretched, and being shown what real community is.

    talk about sharing and caring for more than just you and yours!

    praying and celebrating the community God created for you in your new home!