About the Author

I'm the mother of two little girls, the wife of an amazing husband who'd rather play the guitar than anything else and I love to write. I spend my weekends watching my daughters ride horses and play soccer. I blog daily and my greatest wish is to see women healed...

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  1. Sarah,

    Your words resonated deeply with me for many reasons you already know–we left our church over a year ago, long after our hearts told us it was time to go. Spending a year finding the new, “right” one ~ and then finding it! ~ required intention and heart-seeking…only to put off investing in community there because of our year+ temporary assignment in Germany.

    And we’re DOING what you suggest here: we’re trying our best to live as locals! We don’t want to bring our culture and country here and set up shop, so to speak. We want to learn and BE with the people in THIS community.

    And it’s going well. In spite of vast differences, we see God’s hand in all of it in a few short weeks! SO stinkin’ exciting.

    You’re a kindred sister; your experience, though not easy, has allowed you to speak a great truth to many (like me). Keep telling your stories; they beg to be heard.

    All for God’s glory :).

    xo

  2. Lovely post, Sarah. Thank you for these insightful words.

    I am trying to be someone who connects with people more, despite the messy that goes along with it! God’s timing is always so perfect:)

  3. Gee Sarah, that was good! No, great!

    I feel stuck in a community that I want to leave. My husband resigned as pastor of a church in this town over 3 years ago and we stayed put because of our HS aged teens. Now, I don’t know why were still here. {Besides that whole WE HAVE A MORTGAGE thing!} We’ve lived here 10 years. But if we left tonight, I don’t think anyone would notice.

    I miss “belonging” somewhere.

    • Wanda,

      Praying that you find the right community for you and your hubby. Feeling like you belong is wonderful & God wants that for all of us!

      Perhaps soon God will send you to a wonderful community of loving, caring folks.

    • Oh Wanda,

      I’m right there with you!! Same story, except it’s been 3 months, not 3 years. Tough place to be. I cannot WAIT to move. Everything within me CRAVES to find a safe haven. Praying for you!

      • Kelly and Wanda,

        I hear your hearts! We desired community and were met with rejection. We hoped to help create community, a place of belonging and acceptance, and yet our experience was not at all what we had hoped for. We also craved finding that safe haven, yet I can tell you that God asked us to stay because He wanted us to know that wherever we are and whatever circumstances we are in, He is our safe haven! Once we really understood that we are always safe with Him, it freed us up to find His heart in all of it, and now He is moving us. We leave the door open for restoration and reconciliation even though He is definitely moving us to a new zip code. Praying for you both!

  4. Sarah,
    Yes, I feel the continued desire, the infatuation of lifting up roots and flinging into a new adventure. Every few months I have to make a conscious decision to stay, to look around and love the ones given to me.

  5. This was so good! I totally agree about the seasons and how hard it is sometimes to tell between when the Lord is leading you into something new OR you just want an escape hatch because the community you find yourself in is hard. So hard to tell the difference, I think. For us, we have moved tons during our married lives– I think my poor 8 year old daughter has lived in 9 houses already. And I typically am one to dive into community– do the dinners and playdates, etc. Here lately, though, it’s felt like building community is more about saying goodbye than sticking. So many come and go and come and go that I think it makes people unwilling to reach out. Which makes it hard to connect long-term. And I find myself losing the motivation to invite . . .

    In fact, I had a lady tell me when we first moved to Asia that I should lie and say that I was planning on staying at least three years or else none of the other missionaries would want to be my friend and would give me the cold shoulder. What? Yup, though, not kidding.

    Anyway, thanks for the reminder and the encouraging words.

    ps- have loved reading your words and experience of Peru, too. 🙂

    • wow. thank you so much laura! building community comes easy for some people but not for me. the whole thing about “lying” about how long you would be there is interesting. but i get it — its hard to invest in someone when you know they will leave soon. praying that you find community in the here and now regardless of when you leave or stay! thank you for your words of wisdom laura!

  6. 8 years ago I found a wonderful church community that is so supportive & loving to everyone. That was when I married my hubby and went to his small (50-100 or so members). Wasn’t sure I would like small, but it has grown on me. I really get to know the people and celebrate with them on milestones.

    On the other side I want to lift up roots at work. I would love to fly far, far from current position into one more suited for me. I know it’s all in God’s timing. I’m being patient, praying and waiting for Him to respond.

  7. Sarah,
    Thank you for sharing that honest post 🙂 It got me thinking about the source of my own disquieted spirit. And I think my issue is the competing desires to stay put but have a new adventure, at the same time. I’m a stay at home home (formerly a high school ESL teacher before the triplets were born) but now that the kids are in full day school, it seems both the right time (and needed time) for me to look into working again. A big half of my heart wants to continue to stay put, be the mom who helps with all the class parties and shepherds the neighborhood kids back to their houses when the school bus drops them off. But the creative and entrepreneurial part of my heart wants to jump into the places that haven’t been explored, and more significantly, the places where I sense God has been preparing me to explore. He’s been doing such wonderful work in my life over the last decade and I really am chomping at the bit to see where all that work is leading me to. But my mind is conflicted…how do I go on the adventure, with all it’s time and place requirements, but maintain the community and role I am so happily part of now? I still get just 24 hours in a day 🙂 More time with Him is needed, seeking His way forward and trusting that His plan continues to be a good one for us.

  8. Loved this post…I felt God tugging me to leave my community about 8 years ago and after a time of pushing back I gave in and the move + the giving in to the new community He was leading me to = the most trying but strengthening growth and closeness to Him I have ever experienced. My life and community are often messy now but always real. I see the path His hand lead me down and the knowing I wouldn’t have taken it if it wasn’t for His persistance makes me sad to think of all that I would have missed. I look back at the journey, even the rough, the hard, the ugly parts and smile deeply knowing even now I wouldn’t trade it or change it.

    • Thank you for the encouragement Amy. We too have struggled with pushing back, but we feel we can embrace Egypt where we are at or we can respond to God’s nudging and embrace the Promised Land. The familiar and comfortable of our current life is so enticing, yet I don’t want to look back and wonder what I would have missed.

  9. I miss community, I miss belonging somewhere. We’ve lived here 10 and 1/2 years pastoring a church that we resigned from 3 months ago, but long before that I had been feeling out of place. This has been and IS a TOUGH season. Great blog post! Praying for a job for my hubby so we can move, and move ON.

  10. Wow, so many church comments. I too, have one. Caught in the tension right now. Wanting to leave the denomination more than our local church, keep feeling the urge in my spirit, little signs, that now is the time to leave, or withdraw my own membership, but hubby says no. Then sometimes I pray for awakening and obedience among the church members. It’s just when they are silent, hard of heart to hear and obey that frustrates me, but then I’m not Jesus (meaning both that it frustrated him and that he’s the one that knows their hearts). We’ve been in this town for 3 and 1/2 years.

  11. Your post speaks volumes to me this morning. For us, we believe it is time to uproot. We stayed because God asked us to stay even though we too were dying inside. It has been much prayer and heartache for us as well, but I believe God uses that to nudge us to where we are supposed to be, to the destiny He has called us to. We are overwhelmed at the changes that lie ahead, yet we know God is with us, leading us and loving on us every step of the way!

    • i agree. and i all too well understand the “dying inside” feeling. God is with us, yes. thank you for being brave and leaving such an honest and vulnerable comment.

  12. My husband & I are currently conflicted about our church. Its a good church and everyone is nice but we don’t feel that sense of community that we first felt when we joined. And now the main pastor retired, and he was why we joined in the first place so we don’t know what to do… We are going to pray about it and see what we should do.

  13. I grew up as an army brat, and then moved another double digit times after marriage, so I swore to myself that when I had kids, I would stay put. Yet, I put so much effort into the staying put part, I missed all the ques of when I should have left, and taken them elsewhere. Perhaps it is not so much in the pre-determined decision to stay where we are or to leave, that is important, but as the listening to the Holy Spirit’s guidance as to when the time is right and when it is not. There are pros and cons to leaving and staying, to trying new communities, and staying ones. Only God knows our past and future, so I believe prayer/s has to be what we base our decisions on. And if it isn’t what we want to hear, at least we know He never wastes an experience or painful time. With Him, all things will be redeemed. My heart goes out to all of you who feel out of place. We need to also be mindful that others may feel the same way, and in reaching out to others, we often find a friendship we may have otherwise missed. We’ve been praying for over 6 mos. about whether it is time to leave a church and attend another so as to allow my husband to share his gifts, but yet it is our present church that has supported us through numerous trials and we love our pastor. I just know that unless we get a clear answer, we should stay put…or embrace two communities simultaneously – but that is an investment of an enormous amount of time and energy. So, perhaps it is also why we sometimes embrace a community such as this – it fills that void that exists in between communities.

    • that is so hard when you are torn between two communities. my hope for you is that you find the right place to dig into and share your gifts, and receive the community. so sorry that it is difficult for you right now.

  14. This is my first comment on this site, and it’s because it resonates with my experience as well. It was surprising to read comments ahead of mine, because I hadn’t thought that there might be many others in a somewhat similar situation as my own. I too, am married to a man who was the intern high school pastor at our church. I’ve been there for 16 years, my husband for 5. We’ve known and loved the people and the community deeply. Coming from a big church, I realize community isn’t always spending time with people, as much as it is coming together to worship the same Savior…the familiar faces, the smiles, the warmth of greeting. With some it will go deeper, but there is a certain depth that comes from familiarity and gathering in the same place…

    Anyway, our experience culminated in December, and my husband was basically asked to leave in a messy way…we did have the final say, and it was a very difficult decision. We’ve continued to attend our church, because God hadn’t yet told us to leave. More and more, we feel ready to step out, to take a chance at another church, to risk our hearts with a new community…Thank you for the inspired words. We are choosing to trust Jesus at this time, believing He has been sovereign over all our sticky situation, and waiting to see the great and mighty things which we do not know.

    • i’m so sorry for your pain and your loss. i can’t imagine the difficulty you underwent.

      i am, however, very glad you are here and that you were brave enough to leave a comment. thank you SO much jacqui!!

  15. Just some random thoughts: Father, Son and Spirit are community, so is Christ and his bride. God told Abraham to go ( dislodge from family and community) to a different place to build a new and better (eternal) community. Jacob moved his community to Goshen near Egypt when there was famine in his community and Moses led them out while they were in slavery there to a new community. All believers have the capacity to hear from God and be lead by the Holy Spirit. Some should stay and some should go when things are difficult depending on what is being built in them and in the community.

  16. Lovely words… we too struggled with leaving our church home- it had been my church home my whole life! 36 years and God called us to change. It was very hard but here we are on the other side- 3 years later and it has been an amazing journey. God has blessed us with an awesome church family that has wrapped us up in some serious love. The community we are in now has brought healing to some parts of me that were deeply wounded at our old church. God is so good like that. I am glad we stuck with it through the uncomfortable parts and grew through them.

  17. We, too, are in between church communities right now. I have to say that it made me feel better and a little sad to read posts above mine that could have been written by me,
    (to the letter). Better because it made me realize that more people than I knew go through transitions like ours and we are not alone, but sad because I wish NO ONE had to go through it. “Church” shouldn’t be as hard as humanity makes it out to be. It’s def. not what Jesus was talking about when he said trials would come our way because I think he was referring to trials caused by the lost world, not fellow believers. Transition is hard but I am praying that there is a blessing waiting on the other side of obedience.

  18. For me the hardest thing about a new community is being willing to be vulnerable and open up. One can spend a long time in a new community and never open up. It can be hard to do, especially if you have bad experiences in other places. Will these people be the same? Will they be different in a way that I am afraid of? Can I trust them?, etc.
    My family and I have just gone through a change in the past year or so and I related to what you have shared here and your post about Christmas eve.

  19. community, it’s a tough thing. we want it so badly and yet, we want to be like Simon & Garfunkel sing, “I am a Rock, I am an Island.” Maybe it’s the fighter in me since childhood, being pushed with tumultuous waves–that this thing Jesus calls us into is a good thing.

    And through it, it’s hard to keeping there when the “newness” fades, or when I don’t feel like any change is happening, etc, etc. I agree & affirm you with your words. Thank you.

  20. The problem with community is me, I’m scared. What if people see the real me and don’t like it. I stay on the outside looking in but then feel lost and in desperate need of real friendship.

    We moved churches over a year ago and I only have to look at the way my teenagers are growing in faith to see that it was the right decision, yet I still feel lost. I know I need to make more effort but it’s quite an affluent church and I am far from it.

  21. Thank you for this post, Sarah, and for all the comments as well. I’m in a place emotionally where I long for the traditions and theology espoused by the church I grew up in, the one we left 10 years ago for many reasons. Now we’ve moved to a different place physically, and while we have a very loving church community, the worship and some other things are moving even farther from those things that I miss so much. Theoretically, the 2 denominations have much in common, but the place we are now has a very different focus. Mostly the things I’m not happy with are stylistic in nature, but a couple are of more import, and my husband is very comfortable with it all. The only church of our former denomination in this town seems to have been in a holding pattern since the eighties, and has dwindled down to just a few members. I want to stay where we are, but I so yearn for something more!

  22. So timely for me right now! We are just in the process of leaving a church we LOVE because my husband has been hired by a new church. I am apprehensive about this new place not measuring up. Thanks for the reminder that I need to just hunker down and look for the things (and people!) that I will come to love.

  23. I am grateful for my sense of community in my home, family, workplace and church. It truly does help you feel complete.

  24. I was just talking with someone last night about the need to stay put for a while in order to build community. I am in a season of moving at least once a year, for the past four years. This hasn’t been a season borne out of wanderlust, but simply doing the next thing that God puts in front of me. It feels like I have just enough time to figure out that someone would make a good lifelong friend before I have to move again and leave the foundation half built. I have just enough time to figure out the rhythm of life in a new city and a new church and a new workplace before I have to move again and cut off my heart from the song it was trying to learn.
    Now I feel like I have embraced being a transient – I’ll only invest in relationships to a point. To go beyond that would be to develop connection that will soon need to be severed. I don’t want to do that again. I don’t know how to open up my heart again to let a place and a people and a church in, which, in a way, means leaving before I am leaving. I’m tired of loneliness and unfamiliarity.
    Does anyone have words of wisdom for me? I don’t want to live this way.

  25. love this!

    the new testament word translated “patience” in the older translations comes from two words…”to abide, remain” as in john 15 & “under”…which is why most newer translations render this word “endurance”…like in galatians 5 as a “fruit-evidence” of the Spirit of God’s work in our lives…

    all healthy families & communities REQUIRE us enduring…just like you said.

    it’s not a natural-man thing…like being tough, but rather a Spirit-led thing…where we make room in the midst of our pain to LISTEN…then to HEAR the Spirit’s Voice…he sounds just like Jesus…reminding us that HE is there in our pain, sitting with us in the quiet, alone hours.

    your mom & i love watching your family endure together…collectively, you are fresh breath-of-the-Spirit to us both!

    all my love,
    dad

  26. Oh Sarah! This(like lots of other things you’ve written) is so timely in my life. Thanks for writing and being you…and being honest. God Bless you!