I have mentioned numerous times in the past the apartment home communities that seem to be very popular out here in North Carolina. They are not separate apartment buildings but a neighborhood of multiple buildings, with multiple streets and amenities unto their own. In our old home town in California you could compare them to one of the larger retirement communities in the city. I can’t say that I have even seen a stand-alone apartment complex in either of the two cities that we currently live in the midst of!
There is a new “Ultra Luxury” (as they are advertising it!) community going up just down the road from our neighborhood. We’ve been watching the construction ever since we’ve been here, as we pass the site on our way to the Super Walmart or our daughter’s home situated just a few miles north of us.
It has been interesting to observe the regular progress that they have been making. For a long time it looked like an exercise of somewhat organized confusion as they seemed to be working on three or four unrelated, differently styled buildings at the same time. It was hard to see how all of it was going to fit together… especially as an “Ultra Luxury” neighborhood!
Now after many months of work, the plan, purpose and design of the project is more visible as the majority of the buildings have their exterior facades in a more completed form. It is a lot easier to see the multiple apartment home buildings, the multilevel parking garage, the floor to ceiling windows encased recreation room which looks to eventually have an indoor pool and the office center. The project now resembles what Paul said in Ephesians 2:21 in the King James Version concerning “building(s) fitly framed together…”
That construction project down the road from our soon to be past residence, when put in reference with Ephesians 2:21 got me to thinking about the “Communities of Faith” that each of us have developed in our lives. The business world might refer to these groupings of family, friends and acquaintances as our personal network of contacts. Think about it for a moment… You have a group of people and a personal routine that you live within on a daily basis. You could call it your own little world that you have (knowingly or not) established over the years.
My wife and I watched a Hallmark movie over the weekend about a long term married couple that was about to become “empty nesters.” They had one child off at college and another who just graduated high school and would be leaving for an out of state school at the end of the summer. The movie centered around their various discussions, trials and tribulations about if and how they would handle the big change that was looming in their future.
When the movie was over I began to consider that my wife and I never really had an opportunity to discuss and plan for that change when it came to our close knit family a few years back. The attack on my wife’s health was definitely a game changer! Suddenly I found myself without any of our kids at home, my wife having physical and mental difficulties so that we couldn’t communicate with the same methods as we always had before and a former network of family, friends and acquaintances that was totally different than before we had left to live and attend school in Oklahoma three years previously.
It was like we were left over puzzles pieces to the greater puzzle of life! Most of the time it felt like we were square pegs trying to fit… or be forced… into round holes! And you know… that hurts and can leave bruises!
Now that we have closed the deal on a new home… the first home we can really call our own since the early 1990’s… I am beginning to realize the Lord’s handiwork in our lives! Ephesians 2:22 takes the idea of the building spoken of in the previous verse and relates it as a part of our lives saying: “Through him you, also, are being built in the Spirit together with others into a place where God lives.” (God’s Word ©)
Looking back I can see the old “Community of Faith” or network that we lived within for many years. Our family’s life was deeply incorporated with our church and ministry there, our extended family, our homeschool group, the neighborhoods we lived in, soccer and ballet, my outside jobs and all the people we all interacted with within that framework. Most of that either wasn’t a part of our lives when we returned to California or had changed in purpose and vision… as had we, after Bible School and the shocking revelations of what was happening with Piper.
The last year in North Carolina has been exciting and yet a bit un-nerving as we have begun to make our new home on the other end of the country. Throughout it all though, I must admit that we have had a great inner peace and the definite sense that we are "home." With the new house, as I stated previously, I am beginning to see God’s hand in the beginnings of the foundation of a new “Community of Faith” for us. With the home as an anchoring point, I see our new neighborhood, town, community involvement and possibly a church closer to our home as the pieces of the building of our lives that are being “fitted together… with others into a place where God lives.”
You know… I’m kind of excited and in great and wonder-filled expectation about all of this… just as you should be about your life in Christ as well! God has wonderful and wonder-filled experiences planned for you. Remember that our “Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the things that we cannot (yet) see.” (Hebrews 11:1 God’s Word ©) So don’t give in to the not so positive things that might be knocking at your door. Keep your expectations on Him and His Word. Always trust His Word in deference to what opposing circumstances may attempt to project toward you and your family. Because you understand that it is always “Through him you, also, are being built in the Spirit together with others (in your “Community of Faith”) into a place where God lives.” (Ephesians 2:22 God’s Word ©)
Have a great day! Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or in Whom am I expecting my “Community of Faith” to be built?”