Why Community Matters

Lindsey Jodts | May 14, 2024

That first morning, I barely said anything, and spent most of the very little energy I had left holding back tears.

Though it had only been five months, it felt like a lifetime. Up until that point, I had spent years working downtown, leading marketing campaigns for a global investment bank. My friends were all city people—working long hours in our respective industries, enjoying the perks of city life, and finding time in the gaps to catch up over a meal. Once my first child was born, however, I was relegated to our new home in the suburbs and the few baby-friendly places I felt comfortable going without makeup or real pants. My once-bustling village had gone very, very quiet. I had never felt so alone or so over my head with all the newness of motherhood.

One desperate afternoon while driving my fussy baby around town in hopes he would finally take a much-needed nap, I passed a large church and thought surely they must have something for moms. While we loved our church at the time, the median demographic was families with adult children, so the support and camaraderie was limited to weekend hellos and a kind but unhelpful “hang in there, mama!”

Once the car nap was over, I went home and visited that church’s website and found that yes, amen, they had a group for moms of young children. I filled out a form, got connected to a leader, and counted down the days until the group met again. And when that day came, I could barely speak. I wanted to cry. I probably did. Just being in a space with other moms and hearing that yes, this was hard, and yes, they were tired, and yes, they were lonely made me feel just a little less lonely. It made me less afraid that this season wouldn’t be forever. It made me feel seen.

I spent three years in that community before we multiplied and launched a second group to make space for even more moms. To say that it changed me is an understatement—it saved me. I found friends to laugh with. We celebrated together, we prayed for each other, we delighted and heavy-sighed and embraced the chaos of parenting littles together. When I experienced a loss early in my second pregnancy, we cried together, healed together, and ate meals together. I could not have made it through the fog of early parenthood without these women by my side.

A few years into my time with that group, the group began praying alongside me as I looked for a job, knowing I was ready to return to full-time work. Shortly into that season of prayer, my group leader sent me a job posting she found at that church for a role that met every item on my job search checklist. I had never envisioned myself working for a church, but decided to explore it. Eight years later, I cannot imagine what my life would look like had that community not encouraged me to step into ministry. I’ve been pastoring groups for nearly five years now, and my journey in ministry has stretched and grown me in unimaginable ways. When I look back at that first day through the lens of perspective, I still hold back tears, but for a very different reason.

To say that community changed my life is an understatement. It transformed it.