img_2752For a brief period of time we lived in Kansas City. While there we experienced community on a level we hadn’t really experienced ever before. It was beautiful. People were real with who they were & what they had gone through. They also genuinely wanted to know who we were. We in turn learned how to be genuine people. We shared our testimony for the first time, which was terrifying! But it was the most liberating thing we had ever done & we were thankful for it. We gained so much. It gave me this insatiable desire to relate with people on a level that isn’t normally done. I couldn’t get enough & craved transparency.

Isn’t it weird that I had to leave my hometown to find myself? Sometimes I think time away from a place where you’re well known offers space for you to really breathe, to let go & give yourself a chance to be you without all the perceived thoughts or labels already placed on you. A chance to start fresh w/out anyone knowing any piece of your past, until you tell them & they don’t care because they just met you & they love you for being real. When we moved home I mourned as I realized I wasn’t going home to a community. Yes, I had wonderful friends & an amazing family to return to, so I had a community of sorts, but it felt different. I didn’t have a tribe. I never really pursued a tribe before, but upon returning, realized I needed one.

Before we moved to KC, I lived a facade. I felt I couldn’t be me. I believed the lie that I was “less than” because I made mistakes & no one should ever hear about them because then I would be a failure. And it was embarrassing. I was mostly disappointed in myself rather than other people, so if I disappoint me therefore, I will disappoint others. So I never gave people the chance to love me deeper than I was willing or to help me. I was broken. I wanted deep relationships. To have someone truly know me, but I didn’t have that deep connection I had been longing for because I had been really good at holding people at a distance. I had never really trusted people with my heart. I’m a words person & I had been hurt by words spoken over me or by unkept promises by untrue friends. The catch was that I allowed others words to affect me. So since I allowed that why would I share with others… what if they say something? In the midst of all this my saving grace was that my lack of trust in people consistently drove me to run headlong into Jesus. Even though I was broken, I knew He knew me. I told Him everything. Even though there was much in my heart to heal, mainly self inflicted heart ache, I knew I had Jesus to walk me through it all. But yet, I was lonely. I always felt I didn’t have that person (besides my hubby) that buddy with whom I could share everything with. So I yearned for people. People I could truly be me with all my flaws. Where I could be honest with them & they with me. When we moved back I was scared to be me. Terrified. Wondering what people would think of the me I had hidden for so long.

Well I had to start somewhere, so I set forth with a friend to start a group with the sole purpose of providing a place of community for women. To build a tribe. To have a place to come & be loved just as you are, a place to be heard & to speak truth to one another. My journey to find my tribe started here with this wonderful group pictures above! Our group was the launchpad for me to start in a small safe place, to get my feet wet so I could get used to being me in a place where I felt out of place. These women were gentle & caring with me. I am so thankful for them! But it didn’t end there. As I’ve prayed for ones to do life with, for kindred spirits, I am happy to say that God has grown my tribe & it includes family & friends alike. 4yrs after moving back & now I am becoming more & more me. More & more free. With people who love me for me. And it’s because God worked on my heart in our time in KC. He showed me the value of community & being transparent & just how healing that really is to have people to do life with!

Everyone needs a tribe. People to love you along the way, to be with you when the road gets bumpy & point you to a God who loves you so deeply. So if you don’t have a tribe, start by finding just one person & allow the things you’ve held onto for so long to fall off. Because if we keep things in that dark “safe” box… the enemy wins. Don’t let him win, let that light in.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

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