When I think of this verse, I imagine being so grounded in my faith, nothing can shake me. A goal to be rooted in the great I AM. I’m hoping that as I grow as a Christian, my rough edges will be a little more polished and the negative will be replaced with more positive. It is in this struggle where I long for community so we can sharpen each other in our relationships with Christ.
When I was going through our marriage trial years ago, I had a hard time keeping my attitude in check. At first, I wanted to blame outward without looking at my own shortcomings. I was convicted of my sin when I read the book “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers. If you’re not familiar with the book, she writes a historical fiction piece based on the book of Hosea. I felt more like Hosea in the book and questioned God as to how much I could handle. I worked hard on my own attitude and character during that time. God stretched me and grew me. [I wrote a piece on The Joyful Life Magazine blog if you’d like to read more.]
I read about strong women in the Bible. I had a hard time seeing some of that play out until I read more of Rivers’ books. We, as women, can use our relationships to sharpen each other. It’s in these relationships, this community of believers, that we can be real and authentic.
In the book of Ruth, I admired Ruth’s commitment to Naomi. Esther had bravery that surpassed anything I could imagine at the time. I longed for godly women to come alongside me to do life with. I craved a community to help keep me accountable in my roles as a wife, mother, friend, and writer.
In the years since, I have cultivated communities that support me in each of these roles I occupy. My dear friends encourage me and challenge me to be a better wife and friend. I also see an amazing counselor who helps me be a better me. There is a whole community of moms who cheer me on and support me as I navigate motherhood. I found other adoptive mamas who understand the unique challenges of parenting my son. I am part of several writing groups, both online and in person. I found my people who understand this desire to put word on paper and encourage others.
Community. We cannot live without it. I’ve learned how important it is to work on me in order to then reciprocate the support in these precious communities.
So whether it’s a community of writers, friends, or other mamas, I understand how important it is to lift each other up. In order to pour into healthy relationships, I need to be in a place of health. I think of the quote “We rise by lifting others.” by Robert Ingersoll.
We can create an upward spiral of better relationships when we focus on developing our character and model after Christ. I find that reading good books with godly women characters helps me focused on my development. It’s one small thing I can do.
Francine Rivers is one of my favorite Christian authors. She pulls the emotion out of Scripture in writing historical fiction. Here are a few of my favorite books she wrote along with two books from Joanna Weaver. These books have helped me strive to become a better Christian woman, wife, mother, and friend. They are uplifting and convicting all at the same time. I hope you enjoy them. If you have read other books that have helped you in your character development as a Christian, and in turn helped strengthen your community, please share.
- Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
2. Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers
3, 4, and 5 are a trilogy (The Mark of the Lion) but can be purchased separately.
3. A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers
4. An Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers
5. As Sure as the Dawn by Francine Rivers
6. Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver
7. Having a Mary Spirit by Joanna Weaver