About the Author

Tonya is the wife of 21 years and the mother to two amazing teens. Tonya is learning to recognize the beauty of her story in community.

Recent Posts

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Thank you. I am in that story, is there really hope? I so want to believe that but I’m so very scared.

    • Oh Ruth, He hears you friend and He knows your fears. Better than anyone. Reaching out and holding your hand today. Praying that you will find the courage to take that first step sister. There is hope. Wounds can sometimes cut so deep we wonder how we might ever recover from them yet in Christ there is always hope.

  2. Yes! Healing happens, courage is found, and dreams breathe right in the middle of community. Every soul needs support! Love this, friend!

  3. Jennifer,

    Thank you friend. I love that “Dreams breathe right in the middle of community” – I feel like I have found my breath in THIS community. Blessings to you today.

  4. Tonya, even your response made me feel fear, but thank you for it. It tells me that I want to be in a place where God comments like yours no longer terrify, but bring peace

  5. If it weren’t for my children, I wouldn’t be “darkening the doors” of my church. In fact, I spent my first 15 years out of high school out and away from church altogether. I allowed my fear of judgment, the knowledge that many in the church believed I wasn’t good enough, keep me away. It is still a struggle, and I actually still wonder if I don’t need to change churches, but, through prayer, I know that He wants me to seek out His people, His community. Thank you for this post Tonya!

    • Amber… Praying you find peace in your community. It is a daily struggle, making ourselves vulnerable and choosing to live in community. I am so grateful that we don’t go at it alone. He is knows your fears friend, He knows.

  6. Such beautiful words…friend, I am so very thankful that you are part of this community. Thank you for the reminder that we each have a place. 🙂

  7. This story is ME!! And I want to tell everyone that there can be pain in being vulnerable and honest, but it doesn’t compare to the healing and love found in a safe community. Praise God to helping me find Him in those around me! For anyone struggling, don’t give up. Healing and joy come softly in time.

    • Oh yes… nothing compares to His healing and how He uses community to heal our wounds. Thank you for your sweet encouragement to others here… blessings to you today friend.

  8. Having lived and breathed through my own version of this story, I can only nod in silent communion with you and say yes, community can heal. Even if it has been a source of pain, He can work a miracle and have it reach out with welcoming arms and turn the rejection into an embrace. So blessed to have discovered this community and to share in it with you. Lovely words friend. I’m so happy to read them here with you.

    • Rejoicing with you Rebekah that you are feeling the embrace of community and I am so grateful that you are part of my community. {Hugs}

  9. Oh my, been there. Many times. I now realize the church is made up of imperfect people, and people who think they know what is best, who judge, people who wear masks and pretend everything is okay. Church should be a place where people can be real, but because of people who may not be there themselves, it often is not. But, hidden in the recesses, and corners are people who are real, who accept you for who you are and yet challenge you to become all who Christ intends for you to become. Who don’t have trite answers for your pain, but listen with their heart and still love you, and you can love back and be safe and grow….I also pray I am that safe place for other people who need a haven.

    • Joanne,

      We are all beautifully messy. And Christ and His glorious grace makes us all beautiful. Standing in community with you sister as we work with Him to build a safe place to grow and love and encourage.

  10. Oh my sweet friend… we were MADE for this! For worship and community and living our live real and risky and open and honest and how you bless me in boldness and being brave! I am so thankful for you and all of your grace-filled words! Honored to call you friend and truly mean it – and live in community here with you! (and soon – oh so very soon – we meet face to face!)

  11. I’m already on the verge of tears today and then I read this. I need and want to be in authentic, vulnerable community with other sisters in Christ but can’t seem to find it. I feel so alone. Is it me, is it “them,” how do I find it? Sorry for the pity party…

    • L.? Friend? You are His, first and foremost and you are Beloved, right where you are. Praying that in your deepest pain right now, those hurting pieces of your heart that you would feel Him near. I am also praying that He would begin to show you a community where you can feel safe and feel like you belong.

  12. I needed this today. As a family we have stepped back into community, but I have hung back. To many things are like that old place… the place that hurt me. But Papa has lead me here. And given me a few friends I can be safe with as I walk out this new path.
    Thank You for your words of courage for us today.

    • Danyalle, It is so scary isn’t it to step back into community when you feel so exposed and open? I know. But, more importantly, He knows… It’s easy to let the past dictate our future and to let old wounds be our starting point. Friend? Praying that you lean in hard on Christ, He is your solid rock, your firm foundation and He will show you how.

  13. Excellent Post! I am living proof of that.

    I am pretty much home bound due to disability and have always been a loner. A few years ago I found (in)courage and really came out of my shell and FELT feelings with the women and God that I had not felt for years.

    And then my world shattered and I stepped away. For 3 long years I was all alone on my own again. I can handle it!! I can do it alone. I have for years, Silly me!

    I did look for (in)courage a few months ago but the timing must not have been right. I could not find it (I am thinking I did not look hard enough ~ Google ~ Hello!)

    But then about a month or two ago I ran across bloom somewhere and found my courage, I mean (in)courage again. My life is not the same. I am filled with joy everyday with this community. You have welcomed me back with open arms.

    I no longer sit all day, starting at the monitor or TV or facebook. I have God back where he belongs (where he was all along waiting for me) and I have you and joy and love and peace!

    Yes we do need community and I praise God everyday for all my friends here… the posts are all wrote just for me 🙂

    Love,
    Patty

    PS Even the ones about marriage are wrote for me LOL! I just look at them a bit differently.

    • Patty,

      I am so grateful that you have found your way back and that God has shown you joy. Praying for you friend as you continue to build relationships in community.

  14. Love that you’re a part of this community of sisters sharing in the hard work of making room and finding place and welcoming each other with all of our hurts and insecurities and shortcomings. We all belong. And SO happy to see your beautiful words showcased here at (in)courage. Love you, friend.

    • Friend… tears here. And well just the most heartfelt thank you for being THAT person. Who knew that God could be orchestrating all of this… certainly not I. I love you!

  15. Tonya, so beautiful and courageous–how you’ve re-entrusted your heart and your healing process to Him. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us here, friend. May you continue to find Him trustworthy–committed to you beyond your wildest dreams.

  16. A beautiful display of relatability. This story represents so much bitterness in the body of Christ but in a way that negates to bring shame and instead offers a way out. I love it.

    • Lauren Anne,

      “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
      You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy…” Psalm 30:11

      Dressing in His goodness everyday friend… Thank you for your sweet words here.

  17. Sometimes at night, I turn on my side, slip both arms out under the pillow cradling my head, and allow one hand to hold the other, thinking and feeling it’s Jesus’ hand I’m holding.

  18. Tonya…I can’t wait to love you like a Christian sister should. Failings and flailings…lets walk this crazy path together, shall we? Bless you.

  19. Tonya: I don’t know who “she” is. Perhaps she’s in each of us, covering our wounds, vowing never to be hurt again. But the truth, that we were made for community and relationships. That He can woo us back and provide the most loving, supportive “sisters” to help soothe and heal. Lovely!

    Christy @ A Heartening Life
    http://www.ahearteninglife.com

  20. So proud of you for sharing your heart, friend! and so glad that God drew you back! I’ve loved meeting you in the online community and am looking forward to real life community at Allume!!!

    Thank you for building in to my tender heart!!

  21. Oh Tonya – your words are a balm to my soul. That hurt, it cuts deeply. But, for the love of the sisters who help you drown out doubt’s screeching – you lovely ladies in this community do that for me SO often. I am so thankful for your words here, friend. They remind me that a new beginning is on the horizon any time I allow myself to be wooed back into His arms. Beautiful.

  22. Tonya, I love your heart, the hope of redemption in this story. Thank you for being one who echoes God’s own call to commune, to share with, to be with, to suffer with, to love. I am thankful to call you my friend through story. Grateful to know you and to be growing to know you more. Beautiful piece, friend. So happy you’re here at (in)courage today.

  23. Thank you for this story! I often have these feelings/experiences. We moved to three different states in the past 9 years and it has been hard to find a sense of community and entirely trust people. There is a lot of gossip and negativity that I don’t want to be a part of. It is hard not to get discouraged, but to remember there is hope!

  24. I didn’t want to read this after glancing at the title. “Oh, community. People. I don’t need that. That’s for another type of personality.”

    I read it anyway. And then boom. My story. Like someone was standing on that gravel road with God and I last year when He spoke so clearly to me. My story. My pain, my questions, my hope, my slow lesson into relearning community despite how much pain that can cause.

    Thank you. I needed that.

  25. Your writing is intriguing and inspiring. It captures the mind and draws people in to your story.

    As a young adult out of High school, I kind of dropped out of church for many a year. Sure I pretended it was ok and acted as though I was a Christian. It was many years later that I darkened any door of a church. I guess during that time I felt I didn’t fit in with church people.

    Fast forward 20+ years and I find myself loving church and community. I have a nice small country church with a great pastor and people hungry for love and God’s word. We bond in small groups and pray for each other.

    I pray everyone could find such a church filled with the love of Christ. It is my heart’s desire!