Over the last couple of months my family and I have been through a tumultuous time with the birth of our third child. Not only was this addition to our family quite unexpected, but just as we were getting our heads around the reality of it, she was born with a previously undetected cleft palate and small chin requiring her to have a permanent breathing and feeding tubes in her nose for up to the first 9 months of her young life.
Confronted by this new set of unknowns and dramatic changes to our loosely set plans, we struggled to fathom where God was in the midst of all this.
From the time we told our group of friends who we do life and faith with, our Tribe, that we were having a baby, one our close friends immediately responded with clarity that “This is a gift for all of us, your broader family. You’re not on your own in this.”
And in these moments, we began to comprehend just what she meant. As we tried to wrestle with getting our kids through to the end of school and giving them some kind of normal life, while being with our daughter in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, our gift of love and family enveloped us.
One of the other Mum’s in our Tribe took it upon herself to organise a meal roster so that every second night food would be delivered to our door. Our kids were taken and entertained with their mates and loved and cared for. Neighbours who we knew loosely, turned out to be experts in their field at dealing with cleft palates and visited on their weekend to allay our fears. So many little, moments of love and grace.
Around the same time I was listening to the Mosaic podcast series Tribe (No.26-19 as at writing) where they, as a community, were exploring what it meant to be a Tribe, a group of people who choose to follow the way of Jesus together. As they explored the themes of trust, lift, pray, story, dream, carry, give and protect, I was overwhelmed by the realisation that just as God the Trinity is established in, exists as and radiates communal grace and love, my family was being embraced in that love and grace by our Tribe. As people fed us, entertained our kids, folded our washing, listened to us cry and prayed for us, they were radiating the heart of God and enfolding us in His love.
This also reminded and reinforced to me why life is not meant to be done alone. Why faith has to be grounded in community. It is in community, and I think only in community, that the fullness of the heart of God can be found. That proof of God exists: love.
If ever I needed more proof of God, here I am in the midst of this chaos discovering it afresh. Just as Jesus said, “As I have loved you, love each other and the world will know you are my disciples”. At this moment I feel so privileged to be in the company of some of God’s true disciples and inspired to live more of my life as a true Disciple so that the world may find more proof of God.