I will never forget that warm Minnesota summer day. Sunny, mid 70’s. Yet it felt dark to me. I was on my way to pick up my son from daycare and knew I was going to fall apart any minute.

My heart ached from the discovery of yet another relapse.

I was tired and weary of fighting for my marriage. I was tired of saying the same thing over and over again. It is accurate to say I was at the end of my strength and had completely given up fighting for my marriage.

Apparently, I was wearing all of these things on my face because the moment I walked into daycare for pickup, my friend (and daycare provider) took one looked at me and I fell apart crying.

This happened for weeks… Picking up my son was the only place or time I felt emotionally safe enough to cry.

It was during one of these breakdowns she turned to me, looking me straight in the eyes, and said, “I will never stop fighting for your marriage.” Those words burrowed into me. When those sunny days turned dark, those words would rumble from the recesses of my mind and revive my soul.

Proverbs 18:24  says, “there is a friend who stays closer than a brother.”

You never know what type of relationships you are building. Then one day you turn around and find that you have found your tribe. The ones who stick closer than a brother. It was during these pickups that I found mine.

It is thanks to this friend of mine, a few others, and the small group I joined who kept me going. They spoke life, hope, and healing over my soul and my marriage.

God gets all the glory for any of the healing we have experienced in our marriage. But God uses people. And these people make all the difference.

Find a friend who will fight for you when you have given up. Someone who is not afraid to speak truth in love. Find someone who will stick closer than a brother. One day you will need them, but more importantly – one day they will need you.

Still not sold on the idea of community?

Here are two lists of how community has benefited my life:

  • A safe place to feel and express the hurt of trauma
  • A sounding board to keep me accountable towards a heavenly focus
  • Healing through hugs and tears shared together
  • Laughter! A lot of laughing.
  • The felt presence of God through the loving voice of friends.
  • Greater depth of love for people.
  • Encouragement
  • Good food
  • Wonderfully surprising gifts
  • Great coffee
  • The opportunity to serve someone else.
  • Eyes off myself and my problems

During seasons of my life, I haven’t had a community I can rely on.

The things I learned when I was alone:

  • My mental health will slowly spiral into dark places.
  • More space to hear the lies of the enemy: that I am the only one suffering.
  • Anxiety increases
  • Poor parenting
  • No desire for self-care.
  • No one to hold me accountable to stay in the Word of God.
  • Decreased desire to step out in faith with the plans of God. 

Looking at these lists it’s clear to see that community is worth the risk of vulnerability it requires. If you haven’t joined a community yet, Live Free and Live Free Wives are great places to start. If you’re ready for a small group Small Groups Online is the place for you!