Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. (1 Thess. 3:7)

By the time I was sixteen, my family had moved over a dozen times. With each new job my mom started, we unpacked in another apartment—complete with holes in the drywall and cockroaches burrowed in the carpet. And each time we moved, I found myself surrounded by a whole new community.

It was no surprise, then, that years later, I struggled to put down roots. Newly married and pregnant with our first child, I visited churches with my husband in the city where we’d moved, only to find myself shaking my head silently again and again as he drove us home.

When we did finally connect to a church, I wanted to leave at the first hint of conflict. It was then that I realized I had trouble committing to new communities because, growing up, I’d always been taken away from them within a few months. Yet I knew that God calls us to be a body, unified in his Son. And the Christians I respected most in life had been firmly embedded in such holy community.

I decided to share my frustrations at church. Soon I was sharing my insecurities, my vulnerabilities. Unknowingly, I opened myself up to be encouraged, to hear the testimony of my brothers and sisters in Christ. To this day, that church community remains one of the most important anchors in my faith and life.

Open yourself up to encouragement from the Christian community around you.

Lindsey Priest is an Indiana Wesleyan University graduate and lives in Arkansas with her husband and two sons. She likes to read to the kids, play video games with her husband, and refurbish furniture.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.