We gathered together around the table, five times a day. Making it through the grueling re-feeding process in my anorexia recovery would have been impossible without the community of these ladies journeying with me through treatment at the Laureate Hospital in Tulsa. Alone, I was weak and unable to finish what seemed like an impossible task in front of me. Together, through tears, encouragement and support, things which seemed impossible became attainable. But that was only the beginning. I needed support when I came home from the hospital, and it came, in large part, from my church family.
Through the women’s ministry at Council Road, I began to participate in a book club a couple of years ago. I was invited by a close friend who had been enjoying her time with the other ladies so much that she encouraged me to go with her. The first time I went, I was nervous and hesitant to even try something outside of my eating disorder support group. My support group “got me” and I didn’t feel judged because we were all going through the same struggles.
In book club, I didn’t want to accidentally say something which would allude to me having a problem! But even more so, I didn’t want to not give this new group a chance. I had to lay my insecurities aside and give God the freedom to help me grow by being part of a healthy community within my church home.
As that first evening unfolded, I began to see that my fears were calming down and that the ladies who shared were doing so for support…support from one another just as God intended. Through studying God’s word and learning from one another’s experience and wisdom, coming from all ages and backgrounds, I have been able to be transparent and share what God was and is teaching me during this time of healing in my life. It’s a messy process to obey God and get better, but when we don’t share what’s truly going on in our lives, we miss out on what God has for us. But guess what—so do others! We were meant to live and grow in Christian community. Without accountability, without being a part of a group, and without doing life with others, it’s easy to “slip through the cracks!”
I am learning from those who are younger and from those who are “more mature.” Our experiences blend to make a beautiful picture of what God intends for the body of Christ to look like and be. Romans 11 pictures our belonging and participating in this community, in God’s family, as a branch being grafted into an olive tree. Grafting is the gardening technique of splicing a broken or cut-away branch into the trunk of a healthy, growing tree. The flesh and sap from the trunk surround the grafted branch, begin to provide it nourishment, and give it life. What was once on the outside is now brought in—into the family, into life.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. —Ephesians 2:13
God is using this community, within the family of God I’ve been grafted into, to bring new life and healing.
Council Road Women are starting new Summer Book Clubs this month. Books are available now at church as well as info on how you can find a group. Join us, won’t you? We really are better together!
Meet the Author!
Lover of diet coke and long strolls at the mall, Stacee Goetzinger is an author, speaker, wife, mother, daughter and friend. Psalm 118:17, "I will not die but live, and proclaim what the Lord has done," is her life verse and describes her passion to allow God to use the pain of a lengthy battle with mental illness and an eating disorder to write and speak words of hope, courage and life.
Connect with Stacee at Speakoutloud.me.