I wouldn’t be the climber I am today without the friendships I’ve formed over the years. I probably wouldn’t have stuck with climbing had I not found a community of strong climbers who were encouraging, uplifting and inspiring. While I read a lot of books and tried to study on my own, most of my knowledge came through the relationships I’d developed with strong role models who have graced my life.
There is a natural partnership and trust that forms with climbing partners. When you step onto the rock, each of you are putting your life in the hands of your partner. As belayer, you watch, instruct and protect your partner from potential failure, falls and injury. With each successful climb, confidence and trust increases. Often, lasting relationships and trusted friends develop along the way.
As your climbing community grows, it isn’t uncommon to find yourself in the midst of an extended family. Your ‘family’ offers encouragement and support to help push you to climb harder and develop new skills. You share techniques with each other – offering advice and expertise to help everyone develop and grow. There is accountability for carelessness, encouragement in the face of fear and frustration, cheers when goals are conquered, and comfort when there are setbacks. Around the crag, community is essential for growth.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Community is also essential in my faith. Without friendships, accountability, encouragement and solid instruction, my faith would wain and my walk with Christ would suffer. Just as with climbing, I need others around me to teach me what I do not know, encourage me when I am weak, admonish me when I am wrong and celebrate with me as God moves and works in my life.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. – Colossians 3:16
I also find family within my church community. The familiar faces, friendships, opportunities for service and solid teaching are the foundation on which I’ve built my faith and grow in my walk with Christ. Without my church family, I’d be left trying to navigate life’s ups and downs on my own. Christ calls us to stand together through prayer and support, growing our faith in unity. We were never designed to walk through this life alone.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, … – Ephesians 4:11-16
I’ve developed a strong sense of community through climbing and faith. My closest friendships have developed as a direct result of this Chick Climber rock climbing life group. I met many of my friends, my sisters in Christ, on the rock. They climb with me and walk through life along-side me.
Church life groups, or small groups, are designed to offer the same kind of deep friendships and feelings of belonging for each of you as you grow in your faith.
I cannot tell you how many texts and phone calls I have sent and received asking for prayer, offering encouragement or celebrating when God has done something awesome. Chick Climber offers a place for fellowship, prayer, laughter and tears. We study God’s word, learn from one another, support one another and yes, climb together. I am so thankful for my sisters in Christ and for the community where I belong.
You were not designed to stand alone. None of us were. We need others to come along side us to hold up our arms when we are week, share wisdom we desperately need to hear and help us grow into the women God intended.
When Moses’ arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for him to sit on, while they stood beside him and held up his arms, holding them steady until the sun went down. – Exodus 17:12