Community—my concept of that word has changed in the past couple of months. Before COVID-19, I understood community as being together with other people. Indeed, one Google definition of community is “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.” FLBC provides both parts—living with others and sharing the common characteristic of personal faith in Yahweh.
Suddenly, the virus hit. I left FLBC and immediately struggled with the concepts of community and fellowship. I wondered, “How am I supposed to have fellowship with other believers now?” My life shifted from attending class alongside 100 students every weekday with basketball tournaments on the weekends (let’s not forget living with 60 other women in one building!) to living at home with two adults and six younger siblings with minimal outside human interaction for two months. It was quite the shock.
Yahweh had stripped away so many things that I had unintentionally idolized above Him, giving me a fresh slate to surrender everything to and to find shalom only in Him (Isaiah 44:6-8).
As the idols were cleared from my life, Yahweh made room for new opportunities. My summer team meetings became more personal, lasting an average of two hours each week, rather than the 10 minutes we’d carved out at school. My team has grown much closer than we would have. The Lord also prepared me to helping start a Zoom Bible study for young women. Each week for the past two months, I have helped lead a study about topics such as resting in the Lord and finding strength in Yahweh. God has had a plan from the start.
As for community, I am still learning what that means during this stay-at-home mandate. Up to the moment I sat down to write this, I still wondered how I was going to explain about community when I still didn’t know what it meant for me in my life. The second Google definition of “community” provides the practical answer. It means “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” My personal application of this sense of community quickly became apparent as I realized that I have spent the past year building relationships with fellow students and faculty members and, therefore, forming that fellowship based on shared attitudes, interests, and goals. I had a light bulb moment—I still have community because I still have my family and my friends, who all share my common love for Jesus and for living for Him!
First, I have been blessed to constantly be with my siblings and parents. In addition, especially with people at school, I have learned that my friendships are not going anywhere. While I long for personal interaction with my friends, I have thoroughly enjoyed virtually interacting with them. And you know what? God has a plan through it all—I feel like I have gotten to know so many of my friends so much more personally and intentionally than before. Suddenly, every Zoom or Houseparty meeting, every FaceTime or audio call, and every virtual dorm or wing devotion has become so much more special and personal.
While I still long to be with my friends from school and still miss being at FLBC in person, I have grown so much during this time—in finding rest in God alone and in my understanding of community; and I would not trade that growth for anything.
Miciah Renn [FLBC junior] is a member of Bethany Free Lutheran, Bemidji, Minn.
Kinship is a magazine of the FLBCS. Stay up to date on the latest news, student stories, classroom highlights, and fun tidbits about life on the FLBC and FLS campus.
View the latest edition of Kinship here: Kinship Spring 2020 Edition