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Community Takes Margin

Winter storm Jonas cleared our full calendar over the last few days.  And I think Forced Sabbath is just the best.  We enjoyed a family movie night, made Valentines mailboxes and homemade cards for each member of our family, delivered dinner to a neighbor who recently had a baby, played games, went sledding down the biggest hills in our neighborhood, and the kids drank probably a gallon of hot chocolate.  I haven’t worn make-up or real pants in four days…which is pretty much heaven.  We’ve had my husband home and in full awesome-daddy mode since Friday morning.  This translates to mommy sleeping in, delicious big breakfasts, epic games of hide-and-seek, and our very own pastor for family worship this morning.  But perhaps best of all, we’ve spent a wonderfully exorbitant amount of time with friends.

We live in a fantastic area of town.  The houses are old and full of … shall we say… character!  Every sidewalk eventually leads to a park or a coffee shop and many of our friends live nearby.  Under these favorable geographic conditions, you’d think we would see our friends all.the.time.  But alas, life happens, schedules don’t align, and weeks go by without meaningful interaction.  For example, due to a series of crazy fortunate events (a.k.a. the over-the-top sovereign goodness of God), one of my closest friends on the planet met a guy online who lives right behind us and she MARRIED him nine months ago!  It’s like every girl’s dream come true.  My husband could throw a football and hit her house, but due to her work schedule, my kids, and just life we have to be super intentional to see each other.

This weekend we’ve spent hours playing in the snow with sweet friends.  We’ve ridden tandem with each other’s kids and caught each other’s little ones at the bottom of the hill.  We’ve shared boots and snow pants and gloves and snow shovels and K-cups and cans of La Croix.  Our families devoured a huge pot of chili and they witnessed our kids completely lose it after staying out too late.  They prayed for wisdom and helped my husband get our car home after we were stuck on an icy hill.  I lugged my yoga mat and 5-pound weights down to my girlfriend’s tiny living room just so we could work out together.  We ventured to Krispy Kreme together so our kids could have Panthers football donuts.  We’ve had meaningful conversations about God and have had so much fun together.  It’s been a delightful picture of Acts 2:42-47 in which the Church was committed to sharing their time, their food, their stuff, and their God with one another.

Something happens to us when it snows in the South.  Entire cities shut down, grocery stores run out of milk and bread, and we have time and space for one another.  Here’s the thing I’ve realized this weekend – cultivating true community takes margin.  We won’t have wide-open lazy days like these very often, but God forbid it takes another epic winter storm for us to enjoy community like we have this weekend.  Let’s make space for one another.  Let’s prioritize connection over efficiency.  Let’s love well.  And let’s expect for God to move mightily when we live as He intended for the Church to live.

Ashlee Johnson

Ashlee is the wife of a pastor, mom of two busy little ones, and a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Seminary. She is passionate about communicating the truths of Scripture to women and magnifying Jesus as the All-Satisfying Treasure and Almighty Redeemer. She has lived in North Carolina for most of her life and loves making the most of the sidewalks and parks in her 1940s neighborhood. Ashlee enjoys healthy eating and exercising, but finds it nearly impossible to resist homemade cookies!

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