Aaron and I have been super blessed to have surrounded ourselves with a community that hasn't changed much over the past couple of years. In the above photo, four of those friends have been with us for longer than any other friends in our lives have been with us.
When Aaron and I moved to Tennessee from Texas in 2003 Steven Bush (far right) and Jimmie Ingram (baseball hat) went with us. They were both single, out of college, and were beginning to play with Aaron in his band, Spur58. That summer we drove all over in a beat up motor home as one little community. Me + five other guys + our dog (not the one above) touring the world and living the dream. Oh did I mention, that I was pregnant? Yes, so I guess technically it was me + 6 other guys if you count Cayden in my belly.
Over the next few years those guys got married and Laura (green shirt behind Story) and Maris (next to Steven) joined our little band family. I was over joyed to now no longer be the only girl in the band. Our band family, which is what we call ourselves, was growing as we started adding kids to the mix as well.
What this family has meant to me is something that can't be put into words. It's a community that understands each other, challenges each other, cheers each other on, and loves each other.
Over the years the band family has grown and changed. I would be lying if I told you that growing and changing hasn't been hard for me. It's been super hard. Adding new band members means adding new wives, and sometimes us girls are a bit territorial with things we love.
When we moved to Austin we added Philip (far left) to our band because we had no drummer. For a while the wives, myself + Maris + Laura + Kim, were our own little community within a bigger family. We have been through a lot together in our lives. We've added babies, journeyed through adoption and foster care, walked through marriage problems, personal problems, etc and we had a good thing going.
When Aaron mentioned that he wanted to add Kyle (on Aaron's left) to the band I was not excited about adding another wife. You see joining a family is hard work on everyone's part. I wasn't interested in opening up myself to another person. I wasn't interested in allowing another person the authority to speak into my life. I wasn't interested in another band wife to the mix, but I'm not in charge.
Community is wonderful and life giving, and it is hard work. Adding Kyle, brought along his wife, Annie, and looking back now I'm embarrassed about how much I didn't want to open up the band family to another person because Annie has brought so much to my life. God knew what I needed when he put her in my path. She's without a doubt one of my number one cheerleaders in my pursuit of walking with God and following his plan for my life.
Throughout the years our little band family has changed, and now Steven and Jimmie are no longer in the band. They both moved on to do other things within the church. Steven is the lead storyteller, and Jimmie leads worship at different campuses throughout our church. When Maris and Laura were no longer apart of my little band wife family, it was a very hard transition for me. These girls have been through a lot with me. I mean for the love we all packed up our belongings and moved to another state together six years ago.
Community is one of God's greatest gifts to me in this lifetime. I will always say that the only way I'll persevere to the end of this lifetime is through God's word and his people.
Building community is hard work, and sometimes it seems easier to not open yourself up to yet another person. When community changes, it's even harder. Both Maris and Laura have moved on to new communities and although they will always hold a very special place in my heart, God has gifted them with new girls to walk through life with. Our walking through life together just looks different now, and that's okay.
I am beyond honored to have allowed all of these women the authority to speak into my world and help me pursue God with all of my heart.
How has community building been for you? Has it been hard to build, and what about when people move on?
Hi Jamie! I enjoy reading your blogs and listening to you podcast so much! I had a question about community. I was so fortunate to be in a great community in college but since then, it has been very hard to find something similar. I’m single and have no children and have tried various bible studies, ministries, and Sunday School classes in the years since college. Any suggestions on how to find community? Thanks!
Hi Jamie, great post! I adore your podcast an never ever miss it -the one with your husband was hilarious! Since hearing the conversation with Beca and Maris I’ve felt so called to become a foster mom and since you are talking about community I was wondering if you could please connect me to some friend that is fostering to talk to? Thanks!
My name is Meghan and I know the exact spot you are in! I’m a single, childless, professional 29 year old. Jamie and I couldn’t have been in different spots when we met and became friends. Amos had JUST come home to live with their family, she was new to the church and I was in my 2nd year of teaching, doing all I could to survive this new life routine that required me in bed early and with limited time.
Jamie and I would not have become good friends if we had not been serving at church together. In fact, most of my dear friends (that I’ve made post college) usually link up to some time of serving within the church together. Jamie and I taught 5th grade girls in Kids at The Austin Stone and would get lunch sometimes after church with the kids and our friendship slowly grew.
Community doesn’t always just “happen”. It requires stepping into others lives willingly and with limited expectations….and waiting. Some weekends I would pick up two of the boys and take them bowling or now I take Story for girl time.
I have a great mix of single friends, married friends, married with kids friends and I LOVE that we can all hang out. I love that I can invite myself over for dinner and hang out with their whole family and do their routine and it be messy. I love that their husbands will willingly take the kids for a weekend or night so we can do fun girl outings. If I want friends who are married with kids, I have to fight for it.
Just as Jamie talked about in this, community does NOT stay the same. I do know that for sure now. Through a lot of changes, unmet expectations, new life stages the Lord has shown me he does have specific people in my life for this season for a reason. I will not always live down the street from Jamie and be able to stop by after work. I’m trying to pour in deep where I am and in that moment. Which is stinking hard.
I encourage you to keep serving, keep going to bible studies, keep connecting…the Lord will bring the community around you that He wants around you as you are faithful to Him.
And…it never hurts to genuinely love on people’s kids and help them with routine things. : )