Community Isn’t Perfect (and Why We Need It Anyway)

This time the parting cut a little deeper into my heart. This time leaving brought a tinge of sadness. 

For the first time in our married life, my husband and I were moving from a place where I finally found the vestiges of connection. After 8 years of marriage and 5 different towns, I now had a small local support system. People who knew me and cared. 

Then and there I determined that wherever we lived, I would pursue a similar connection. Not sit back and hope it happened. Not wait for the perfect person to come my way. But to seek out others who shared a similar interest or who could empathize and encourage. In other words, to go after community. 


I’d always had strong family support and for a long time thought that was enough. For years I struggled through the days in silence. Isolated from family by the miles and others by my self-erected walls, I  battled through devastating losses and daily struggles with two little boys.

But those precious, difficult years taught me the need to cultivate connections on many different fronts. I finally realized I needed others to laugh with, cry with, spend time with, and hug.


And so when we moved to our current home 16 years ago, the first two things we did were find a church we could be a part of and  join a local newcomer’s group. These were safe places to be strengthened, glean information about this new area, get some much-needed “adult time,” and begin to forge friendships. 

From this auspicious beginning, my appetite for connection grew. I found myself actively seeking out different types of connections. A faith community. A community of parents of young children. A small community of ladies to share intimately with (now my dearest friends). 

And when I couldn’t find a community I needed, I formed my own. When I could breathe again (by the way, this took years) after discovering my daughter had lifelong disabilities, I formed a support group for parents raising children who had learning, physical, or intellectual disabilities. Although small, short-lived, and fluid, this community became a great source of healing and growth for me. 

Now on the eve of attending/assisting with my fourth Iowa Parents as Presenters–an amazing event connecting parents of children with disabilities, teaching them how important their stories are, and instructing them how to do so–I find myself reflecting on what I had missed those many years ago when I thought I could do life on my own. Although still difficult at times, connecting is now an essential component of my life.

It’s not that community is always perfect, it’s that community is always real. 

Community isn't always perfect, but it is always real! Click To Tweet

Community meets us where we’re at and, when we’re ready, moves us to the next level. In a nutshell, community  

  • embraces us where we’re at,
  • encourages us in the hope of something better,
  • educates us on how to get there,
  • emboldens us to move, and
  • empowers us to pursue that growth.

Community meets us where we're at and moves us to the next level. It embraces, encourages, educates, emboldens, and empowers us. Click To Tweet

I know so many of you have been hurt by those who you thought were trustworthy, those you believed you could count on. My heart aches for you! 

But the crazy thing is, even a hurtful connection experience can provide the impetus and knowledge needed for growth and healing. 

Don’t give up on community, my dear friends. You were created for connection and cannot be complete without it.

Walk through your pain. Dare to reach out once again. Discover the blessing of this most important gift and move a step closer to wholeness.

You are not alone. 

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).

Reflections: What is your biggest fear about seeking community? Name one person/group who you can approach today. Commit to making that contact this week. 

This is one of many stories on hope, healing, and finding our voice posted and linked up today on Jo Ann Fore’s blog. They are written by bloggers incredibly excited about Jo Ann’s new book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Overcoming Life’s Hurts & Using Your Story to Make a Difference, set to release in October. This week’s topic is on Community. 

To read more about Jo Ann’s book click HERE. I know you’ll love these inspiring stories! Click the button below to read all of them.

Also, check out the “When A Woman Finds Her Voice” Pledge. With God’s help, you can find your voice and use it to help others and glorify Him. Be encouraged to do just that by signing this free pledge. When you do, you’ll receive a beautiful printable copy to frame. (Be sure to follow all the steps to sign and receive your Pledge.)

Jo Ann Fore
Also linking with:

Wise-Woman-Builds Rachel

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

24 comments on “Community Isn’t Perfect (and Why We Need It Anyway)
  1. Shanyn says:

    Bless you Julie! Thank you for this. This encouragement to find, to seek, community. I needed this today.

    • Julie Sunne says:

      Oh, Shanyn, I’m so grateful you stopped by! Supportive community is worth all the heartaches and trials it takes to find it, and then some. Don’t give up my friend!

  2. Kim Adams Morgan says:

    Julie, I know what you mean about community. When we moved here, we were without it for many months and I was lost without a church and my lifegroup. It’s so important to be surrounded by people…for so many reasons.

  3. Great to find this post through Jo Ann’s linkup. I hear you about this one: “even a hurtful connection experience can provide the impetus and knowledge needed for growth and healing.” It’s amazing how God can use every single moment… he never wastes a thing. And how he’s using your experiences to grow that presentation group—yay!! That is so exciting to hear!

  4. Janice S. says:

    It’s not that community is always perfect, it’s that community is always real. – so true and we do need to stick with it even when it gets hard.

    Thanks for sharing this.
    I’m visiting from Winsome Wednesday.

    • Julie Sunne says:

      Welcome, Janice! God never promised this life would be easy, but that He would be with us. The same can be said for community. He’s with us when it gets hard, urging us to not give up. He’s right there to wipe our tears and give us the strength to continue on.

    • JoAnnFore says:

      I think that was my favorite takeaway as well, Janice: “not perfect … always real.”

      Great post, Julie!

  5. Lovely. True. “It’s important anyway.” 🙂

  6. srvnGod says:

    I love your encouragement to seek community.

  7. Victoria Mininger says:

    Beautiful Julie! How important the reminder that we must continue to seek out community even when we have been hurt by it in the past. We must not give up on community. Thank you for that reminder. ~Victoria

  8. Sarah Knepper says:

    Stepping out is sometimes the hardest part. My family recently moved and I had to make the decision to sit and wallow in the move or believe God could create new friendships and give healing to our family. So glad I chose to step out in faith. Thank your for sharing!!

  9. Tina Evans says:

    “It’s not that community is always perfect, it’s that community is always real.” I so needed to hear this. Thank you Julie for showing me that you can have community, and sometimes it is you, yourself that needs to start it. Beautiful post.

  10. Melinda Todd says:

    So true. We moved a LOT as kids and I find I must have some gypsy in my blood 😉 Because I get an itch to move about every 3 years. That’s the longest I’ve ever been in one house. I know how to start over, make new friends etc. I think that’s a blessing and a curse because when times get too tough and hurtful, I have a tendency to want to run away and start fresh. I really appreciate what you said here. We really need community. I know I do. And I am learning to stick around even when things aren’t perfect.

  11. Dale Roach says:

    Julie, I really appreciate this post. I have come to believe that “community” is key for the success of any organization. This is certainly true for the development of strong and healthy teamwork. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, experience and insights.

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