Girlfriends & Bookends

Girlfriends & Bookends ~ What It Is

Happy Thursday Girlfriends! If you are reading Legacy from the Leather for the first time, we are reading from Becoming A True Spiritual Community by Larry Crabb.

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Today we have a picture of Laura curling up in Hawaii, where she lives. Funny thing is, she didn’t show us her face. Maybe later? ANyway, I am hoping she will be able to jump on here at some point and share what the chapters are speaking to her.

The chapter opens with the first line capturing my attention. “The church is a community of people on a journey to God.” I love it. And Larry says a bit later, speaking of intentional time spent with loved ones, “Like manna, our time spent together was food that nourished us…stirred a hunger for more.”

We are inclined to help answer one another’s problems. It is what comes naturally to us. When we love someone, we want to be able to offer something, anything, to help.

I love how Larry encourages us to really learn to listen to one another. To really hear. To pay attention to where God is leading. Not just leading the other, but first, leading me. When I take the time to prepare my heart before God to enter my relationships and be led by him, only then can I be sensitive to where God is moving.

I will be challenged by his quote of CS Lewis – “Put first things first and second things are thrown in.” If I make hearing God and being led by him and my worship of him my first thing then I will be able to approach the second things, the harder more complex things knowing it is the “first thing” that will carry me through. And it will carry those I do life with and love as well.

He closes the chapter with a question. Asking why this type of community is so rare. He says “I suspect it has to do with the requirement of brokenness. We’d much rather be impressively intact than broken. But only broken people share spiritual community.”

Plain and simple. That’s the kind of community Karen Trigg longs for. A community that is NOT perfect. A place where we accept one another’s brokenness and invite one another to walk toward God together.

How about you?

What spoke to you this week?

 

 

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Girlfriends & Bookends – It’s Worth It

Hello Girlfriends!

We read this week about developing community not being so easy to do. But we’re also encouraged though it’s not easy, it’s worth it.

If you didn’t get a chance to comment on last weeks post, please feel free to go back and share.

Feel free to “reply” to comments others have posted as well.

Kristy took time to stop in to Dunkin Donuts to grab a cup of coffee and a donut while she turned the pages this week.image

Larry opens the chapter with the comment “We need each other, never more than when we are most broken.” He goes on to say “A central task of community is to create a place that is safe enough for the walls to be torn down, safe enough enough for each of us to own and reveal our brokenness. Only then can the power of connecting do its job. Only then can community be used of God to restore souls.”

Isn’t that what God is all about? Restoration. And as much as was written referring to one another in the bible, seems to me God wanted to use us in relationship to help facilitate the process of restoration.

I think the thing that spoke most to me from this chapter is that we as Christians aren’t comfortable with the struggle. Our own or others. For ourselves we think we need to get it right and not show it if we don’t. For others, we think we need to fix them or lead them to the answer, because we are the ones who have a list of answers. When really, we could be just be sitting with them and listening. Or walking with them and asking questions instead of trying to have or be the answer. I’ve been the one who thinks I need to have an answer. Why is that? When I know what I really need in community is someone who will really see me. Really hear me. And in order for them to do that I need them sometimes just to “be with” me. The simplicity of letting me be where I am and caring enough to just recognize where I am struggling. That somehow gives me permission to begin to work through the struggle. For me to begin to ask the questions.

This chapter, for me, reminds me that our job is not to be a community of fixers, but challenges me that the real and critical thing we all need is more people who are willing to walk with us toward our true source of hope. God. Not our own answers. Our own ideas of what it might take to fix the problem.

Sometimes we just need someone to sit with us. Just sit.

We think its most important to have the answers when really what we all need most is the discernment of the Holy Spirit rather than moving and thinking and speaking on our own. I personally am desperate to be led by this discernment. It only comes when I take the time to allow my thinking to be changed (transformed) by being in God’s word and prayer. {Romans 12:2}. I want to be led from this place rather than what seems “right” to me.

We agreed in our Gathering Place Group that it’s healthy that we don’t necessarily stand in agreement with some points that were made in the chapter. We talked about those points. Feel free to do so here as well. Let’s always turn it away from pointing fingers at others and instead turn back toward ourselves and ask what am I learning from this.

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

Grateful you are here.

HIS,

karen

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Girlfriends & Bookends ~ Don’t Expect It To Be Easy

Welcome Girlfriends!

Thank you for joining us to turn the pages of Becoming a True Spiritual Community by Larry Crabb. We will spend the next 17 weeks or so sharing our thoughts and maybe even asking one another some questions. We will most likely give each other some things to think on. If you’ve chosen to read this book with us you I can guess you already know that finding and growing in community is not something that happens easily. Since we are all here to learn more, let’s dig in and get started.photo-3

If this is your first time reading about Girlfriends & Bookends, we would love to have you join us. You can order your book or kindle copy here and jump in with us. Comment here on the blog post and let me know you would like to get started.

Will you take time this week to get someone to take a picture of you curled up in your favorite spot read with us? Here are the Girlfriends who curled up on the worn leather sofa to turn the pages with us.

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“I ponder my experience and I recognize once more that the way for us to be in the world is  to focus on the spiritual life. – Henri Nouwen” (From Chapter 1).

Larry Crabb begins to ask questions to consider on page 191.

He says “Confusion and disappointment are inevitable on the journey toward spiritual maturity. But the up side of confusion is openness, and the upside of disappointment is that it inspires hope by making it necessary.” He goes on to ask “What disappointments have you encountered along the way, disappointments that God is undoubtedly using to grow your faith and make you mature in Christ?”

I can relate to the confusion he speaks of. I’ve had my share of disappointments and hurts over the years in my attempts toward spiritual maturity in relationship with others. The disappointments were not always by others – some were brought on by my own choices.  I’ve found that if I can be sincere in my  desire to grow and in my commitment to struggle well, that’s more than half the battle.

The safe community he speaks of that offers healing power, I believe is cultivated over time. Although it takes intentional effort, it is well worth the investment. I need a safe place to be able to share that I don’t have life all figured out. A place where it’s ok to have questions that may never be answered this side of heaven. And I need to see that others struggle too. I am grateful God uses our disappointments and confusion to lead us to Himself. I’ve had to learn over time, and still need to be reminded…it’s not the answer that is most important, but that the questions might lead us to Him…that’s what really matters as we work to understand true spiritual community.

Join me in sharing your thoughts. Will you?

You may want to touch on my comment, or you may want to bring something completely different to the discussion. Please let the little keys on your keypad give us a glimpse into what has spoken to you from this chapter.

One little thought…let’s keep it to what we are learning about ourselves in the pursuit of community. I know it might be tempting to touch on where others have let us down in our pursuit.I know we all want to better understand what it takes to be healthy in community.

Please share your comments below.

As you share, your name will be entered to win a copy of this month’s Book Giveaway – God’s Dream For You: Finding Lasting Change In Jesus by Matthew Barnett from The Dream Center in Los Angeles, California.

 

Join us for Girlfriends & Bookends

Girlfriends & Bookends -1I am excited to invite you to turn the pages with us over the next couple of months or so.

Watch this video to hear more about a community of women gathering to read and grow together. We will begin Girlfriends & Bookends Online NEXT THURSDAY and post weekly inviting your discussion. Watch here for more detail.

Order the book – Becoming a True Spiritual Community by Larry Crabb

Leave a comment to let us know if you would like to join us.

Welcome Lisa, Jennifer, Kristy, Elizabeth, Lauren & Sarah!

So excited that you have already signed up to turn the pages with us. Be sure to watch the video for details.

Please contact me with any questions.

HIS,

karen