The Beauty of Community

As the beginning of May drew near, my wheels started spinning about how to celebrate my hubby’s upcoming birthday- the big 40! If any of you are familiar with his last two birthdays, let’s just say they weren’t full of rainbows and sunshine- two years ago his birthday consisted of he and Jason being detained in the Mexico City airport, and last year, a fever and horrible head cold stole his day. So, as we thought about this upcoming birthday, we joked that of course, something would have to come and ruin it! 

Well, sure enough, a few days before his birthday, we woke up to our girl Addie throwing up every 15 minutes all night long. The next day, the nasty virus would take down our other daughter Ava, and finally, our newborn Hudson caught it as well. Those days leading up to his birthday were filled with cleaning messes, pitiful and clingy kids, running to the bathroom, forcing Pedialyte and trying to keep kids hydrated constantly. So lo and behold, the thought of being able to celebrate my hubby’s big day grew dimmer and dimmer. 

However, this is when God would show himself so good through the beauty of community. In that week, people showed up in more ways than we can count. Going completely out of their way to take our two healthy kids to and from school, feeding them dinner and taking them out of the house so we could focus on the sick ones, bringing us essentials we needed and the list goes on and on. Finally, the staff at the school came together and organized a big surprise party, renting a beautiful house on the ocean, full of swimming, his favorite Mexican meal, and good company. I didn’t initiate it. I didn’t plan it. I didn’t do one thing. They just showed up and did it all.

When I thought of the ways our sweet community came through, it reminded me of this verse in Exodus. 

“But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.”

Exodus 17:12

This was at a time when the Israelites were in battle against the Amalekites.  God had given Moses the primary and essential job of being behind the scenes in battle, busy in prayer. If he didn’t keep praying, the Israelites would lose the fight. Though this was Moses’ work to do, it was more than he could do alone. By himself, he could not win the battle of prayer. He needed others to come alongside him and strengthen him. Aaron and Hur came alongside Moses and literally held his hands up in prayer. They helped him and partnered with him to get the job done. Their help was successful and his hands remained steady. 

In the same way, during that week in May, it was my primary job to take care of my sick kiddos. As their mom, that’s just par for the course, what’s expected of me, and I gladly wanted to do whatever I could to help them get well. However, it was more than I could handle alone. I didn’t have enough hands to hold sick and fussy babies. I was exhausted and sometimes lacked the energy to keep going. But our community came alongside and shouldered our burdens. They freed our hands up so we could focus on the tasks ahead. Because of their help, our hands remained steady and we made it through. What a gift it is to see God’s people surround one another. What a joy it is to witness the beauty of community the way God intended!

-Megan Herring, GEM Co-founder