Finding Community at Fellowship
- Sharaze Colley |
- May 18, 2011
Above: Michael and Sharaze Colley and Autumn (4 years)
We always believed our gift as a couple was hospitality. It’s less our gift to others and more God’s gift to us as a couple, bridging the gap between our personalities. I’m a social butterfly while Mike is quieter and more of a home body. We loved using our home to create an atmosphere of comfort for friends and strangers alike.
It took a couple years for our network of friends and acquaintances to fall apart to the point that we desperately prayed together: “God, we need friends and we don’t know how to get there.” First, our closest friends moved away one by one. Then, we made the painful decision to find a new church home. Eventually, we found Fellowship and loved the mission and atmosphere but the connection process came to a halt when we found out we were pregnant with our daughter Autumn. A traumatic delivery and a long recovery process for our tiny preemie followed a difficult pregnancy. We could only slip into a service when I wasn’t sick or on bed rest. And when we finally began attending regularly, we felt awkward around people after our long isolation.
Mike and I served in the children’s ministry but struggled to connect past the classroom. I talked to Paula Payne about our situation and she immediately introduced me to a small playgroup. The idea of stepping out to meet new people alone scared me but, when I went, I felt relief. It was a joy to see familiar faces in the hall at church when I knew I’d see them again later in the week. Even better, one day Annalise Jannetta asked if Mike and I wanted to visit her community group. We did and we knew that Matt and Jamie Ross’s community group was exactly where we needed to be.
A year later, we can’t describe how wonderful it is to be a part of the body as a couple again. It’s amazing how God uses our Community Group family to connect us, not only to other believers, but also to Him. That was our greatest need since our separation from believers ultimately separated us from Him. We continue to grow in our love for Him and for others and now pray that He will give us the strength and endurance to continue in our walk together with our friends.