It was late afternoon on a Sunday afternoon when I made the mistake of looking up.

The coffee shop was silent, all eyes were on me, and I’m pretty sure you could have heard a pin drop if one actually did, you know, drop.

I held a crisp, white and silver book in my hands as I silently prayed that my voice wouldn’t shake. And it didn’t. I was reading actual words, sounding like a relatively normal person, until I read one particular sentence and dared to look up into the eyes of the ones the words were about.

We belong to the Kingdom, but for now we are all just walking each other home. #EvenIfNotBook

For the next four minutes, I sat perfectly still on that dark, metal stool. With my legs crossed and my eyes down, I read through a small portion of my book — out loud and in front of my people — for the very first time.

It wasn’t fancy and those particular three pages of words printed in ink won’t change the world, but the moment was much more than a book reading to celebrate the release of my first book, Even If Not: Living, Loving, and Learning in the in Between.

See, we all gathered in the coffee shop where those particular words were first written, the words about the city I’ve come to call home and the people who have taught me that community is worth fighting for.

And those people? They were there, sitting in that little coffee shop and cheering me on.

In front of the people who hold my heart, I read the words about how they have mended and molded me, shaped and encouraged me, brought me back into the light when I couldn’t see which way to go.

When I looked up into the eyes of the community that came around a broken girl, I had to quickly look away to prevent a torrent of grateful tears from spilling out. Because the truth is, I didn’t always believe this kind of community could exist. After being burnt by the Church, I didn’t think love on this side of Heaven could hold true. It just seemed so much easier to live life on my own instead of choosing to do life together. But over time, in that slow, gentle way of His, God brought His Bride to me.

free print // community is worth fighting for

It looked like dance parties and road trips, bible studies and babysitting little ones.

It looked like gathering around a table for a meal.

It looked like showing up with french fries and a milkshake after the loss of a family member.

It looked like hard conversations laced with grace and truth.

It looked like handwritten notes and secrets kept and more hugs than I can count.

Community came and showed me that love looks like walking each other home.

Scripture tells us that although we plant our roots and love deeply on this spinning globe, we’re only somewhat home. 1 Peter 2 calls us “temporary residents” of earth and Hebrews 13:14 says it plainly:

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.

We’re all living in the in between, trusting that there is purpose in today while looking forward to a glorious tomorrow in the Kingdom. If I’m being honest, most of these in between days find me somewhere in between darkness and light, questions and answers, loneliness and community. I’m holding onto what I believe to be true and I have faith that He will remain faithful, and yet my life often feels chaotic, relationships are difficult, and my to-do list is miles long.

Continue reading this post over at Asheritah’s place, where I’m honored to be guest posting about the community I love so dearly. And PS, the “community is worth fighting for” print is a free download {one of many!} for blog subscribers.