We have an elderly woman in our church whose name is Evelyn. I don't know much about her life, but I've enjoyed getting to know her. She is as spunky and as funny as they come. She always has a smart comment to make about the conversation that catches everyone off guard and then we all laugh b/c it is quite humorous, her perspective at life. She adds a lot of experience and perspective to our conversations.
She has attended our "lifegroup" (small midweek community groups) that Richard is leading. This lifegroup has become such an encouragement to us. We have people of all ages, engaged college couple, single college people, young families with kids or just starting to have kids, widows and divorcees, and older couples. A great balance and as we have met week after week a special bond of community is being built and it is awesome!!!!! Evelyn is one of the widows in our group that attends.
Life group has also been hard to manage with young toddler kids. It is hard a lot of times know what to do. No childcare means we have to figure out how to manage them on our own. It's hard some days to be engaged in bible study while I know my toddler kids are downstairs tearing the room apart and I have to be checking on them every 5 minutes, or watching them grab food off the counter non stop while I'm trying to hold a conversation with a friend. Sure at times I think it would've been easier for me to just not go b/c it was hard to handle the kids there, and I felt like I was expecting too much from them as toddlers.
But at the same time - I knew I wanted my children growing up knowing what "living in community" meant. I want them to see the bonds we have with these people, and I want these people to feel like they know my children, I want my children to feel comfortable with them. This group is a HUGE part of our lives and if I stayed at home with my kids, or left them there with babysitters every week they would not experience it!
I will say - as time goes on, my children are getting more used to the idea of what is expected of them, they are comfortable with the surroundings, and the other people are comfortable with them, and I truly feel like we are becoming a family - that in time can reach our community around us in LOVE b/c we love each other deeply. I have seen the fruit slowly start to show and this is the reason for this post!