Creating Community: A Tradition that Gathers and Celebrates Friends

Seventeen moves, 6 times internationally, has found me alone and lonely so many times. Starting all over with a church, being the new mom in the neighborhood, trying to find at least one friend for every single child, getting a good piano teacher--and the list goes on and on.

So, as I prayed over the years for someone--just someone--to invite my family over or to reach out to me in a new place, God put it on my heart, that I was supposed to be the initiator.

A part of owning my life and taking responsibility, I learned, was to figure out what my needs were, so that I could survive one more move, and then to begin to put anchors in place in my life so that some of my needs would be met. I realized early on that I was expending myself in the lives of my children at such a pace that if I didn't refuel and take time to fill my own soul, there would be nothing for my children to draw from when they looked to me for life.

So, about 6 years ago, I started a small Bible study group in my home for moms. I needed a group, so I started a group. Come to find out, a lot of the other moms needed a group, too.

We would meet once a month in my home and people would share a snack and take turns and then after a while of just talking and catching up, we would have a Bible study together that I had prepared.

Hot Spiced Apple cider, decaf coffee and Christmas tea, with plates and plates of delicious food!

The first Christmas, we decided to have a Christmas tea. Each mom would bring a favorite mug or cup and also a heavy appetizer (pizza, small sandwiches, meatballs, pita and humus, etc.) and also a sweet to share.

Now, six years later, we gathered again--and some have been coming since the very beginning, we gathered again, and had 79 people.

People sit in every room in the house--

Last night, we had lots of sweet babies,

Sarah holding a sweet baby whose mom needed reprieve to eat!

When all of the chairs and couches are gone, friends line up on the stairs or sit on the floor.

With so many moms gathering, it takes a lot of friends helping to make sure everyone is cared for!

One friend is the parker and helps women find parking places up and down the driveways and streets.

Another friend, that I had not seen in a while, stood at the door and passed out name tags and helped welcome all of our new mommies and told everyone where to put their food---boy did we have a feast.

Two friends organized the food, drinks and left me with 3 cans full of Christmas cookies from the leftovers.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is always the study or our Christmas devotional.

Now, these 6 years later, I have such friends, such memories, so much fun and feel like my own cup is filled because of these precious ones who take the time to gather.

"To have a friend," my mom used to repeat, "one must be a friend."

And so, I am blessed over and over again. Instead of loneliness, I have sweet moms who gather to celebrate life, eat and talk and talk, and then focus our hearts together on Him who is the source of all of our strength.

This is a great time to start a new tradition, don't you think, of asking God to gather in your home, other women who are longing to share life together, and gathering friends who will strengthen and pray for each other through years of the seasons of life as a mom.

Each year, I store up sweet memories with friends, and remember just how full my life is to have been blessed with a community of moms who, over the years, have made the time to gather and each of whom has blessed my life and made it so full. I am indeed so very thankful.