My last post mentioned I lived with 14 girls at one point. Well, actually it started with 18 girls and ended with 14. I thought maybe I should address that because most normal people would balk at the idea of living with that high of a level of hormones, emotions and beauty products.
Fourteen girls, five bedrooms, two bathrooms, five mirrors…I will let you paint the mental picture. I’m just playing, it really wasn’t that bad. I’m not kidding when it comes to the size of the house though.
Every bedroom had at least two girls in it and strategically placed bunkbeds. Angel, R and I definitely hid out in a closet one night just to eat a tub of ice cream without having to share.. Yes, we ate the entire thing. If we had put it in the freezer it would have been destroyed by morning.
Why, would I do this? Who in their right mind would consider such a situation where you have no privacy, no space, no “me time”? Why would you do that to yourself? Are you crazy?
No, I am not crazy. However, I would love to share with you the beautiful experience I call community living.
August 2010, after a life changing encounter with God, I decided it was time to get my life “back on track”. Enough messing around, enough depression, enough partying, enough disliking myself. I was ready to figure out what God had in store but only after running for a few years. I went to work, put in a week and a half notice, packed up my stuff and moved to Humboldt County where I would attend Bethel School of Supernatural Discipleship. I had no idea what was in store for me, who I would meet, how I would change or what supernatural discipleship meant. My parents live in Humboldt and are directors of the school so I thought I would just live with them, no big deal. I could go to Jesus School and avoid everyone, no one had to know about what I had been doing the week before I moved…Wrong. I was informed community living is part of the school and into the girls house I moved.
I met someone I connected with right away. I will call her R as I didn’t ask for permission to use her name. We decided to pick a room together. Our reasoning for our choice, less bunk beds, more closet space! Win. I want to say it was the first night and there we were sitting in a pile of shoes (not kidding it was seriously a pile of shoes and accessories) telling each other about ourselves. She shared so much and all of the sudden I was not alone. I was not the only one who had been living a crazy life right before a moment with God that had me ready to run straight into his arms. She was the first person that made me feel like I was okay, I didn’t have to be ashamed and there was hope for me.
A few weeks later, this bright eyed Canadian girl came to visit and while everyone was saying she wouldn’t stay for school I felt Holy Spirit saying, “Make Room.” So , I started making room for her. What I didn’t know was that I also needed to be making room in my heart for new family. A few days later she moved in and became my bunk bed mate, my Angel friend, the person I can share everything with.
Over the nine months of school we went through all kinds of silly drama and wonderful times. There was the great meeting called so we could resolve who ate the last banana, my mirror was taken several times, my curling iron taken and stealthily put back , mysteriously wet toothbrushes, strange spots on things, and I still do not know what happened to my blow dryer. There were many tears shed, hurtful things said and mended feelings. On the other hand, there was great emotional healing that took place, laughter and joy like I have never experienced before, exponential personal growth, and friendships formed that will last, for some of us, the rest of our lives.
Community is not just a city you live in. It is not just what happens when you hang out with someone or go to the same place all the time. Community is knowing others without any walls. In true community you know you can’t just stop answering their phone calls or go home. You will have to face them again. You will continue to live your life with them in it even after confrontation. The walls around your heart get knocked down and it is terrifying for a moment. Then, you realize, in front of you is a person you never truly saw before because you could never take the time before to understand them. In community, your only option is taking the time to understand those in it with you. When you do, there is freedom because there is no longer anything to hide! You have to deal with whatever may arise and it ends in complete beauty.
We jokingly called our bedroom the treasure chest because of all the stuff you could find in there at any given moment. I find it appropriate now, because I truly treasure the time I spent there, even the not so fun times. I came out of it with family (literally, one of the girls married my brother! haha).