Aaron & Mindy: Chasing career & education, finding true community
In the summer of 2013, my husband Aaron and I embarked on a new journey that moved us downtown. Aaron would be switching careers and starting his medical training at the University of Toronto. Out of convenience, we wanted to attend a church closer to our new home and found Trinity Life Church (TLC).
Even before applying to medical school, Aaron has always reminded me that returning to school was our journey. However, it was hard for me to feel that when he first started. He would be the one attending lectures, writing exams, and working at the hospital. Sure, I expected that I would be “part of the journey” by supporting him at home and working, but I still couldn’t help feeling that I was a companion on his journey rather than it being our journey. Throughout the past four years, God has revealed to me that Aaron returning to school was merely the start of something beyond what I could see; it was the catalyst for connecting us to TLC. As I now reflect, it is so evident to me how being at TLC was the integral part of our journey.
Put simply, TLC became family for us. God quickly allowed us to forge some of our strongest and deepest relationships. He intersected people in our lives who didn’t exist a few years earlier, but who are now our travel companions, prayer warriors and best of friends. For us, it became evident after we joined a small group (which we affectionately call Body Life Groups - BLGs). It surprised me how easy it was to connect with people and how I almost felt like I knew them already.
I recall a specific night at BLG; we had only been attending a couple months. Shortly after the ice breaker activity, our group leader shared that he had a strong sense to “lay hands on and to pray for Aaron and Mindy”, this instead of the night’s discussion. Without even sharing that we were actually struggling to adjust to the new and hectic schedule and its effect to our marriage, our small group sensed this and prayed over us with words of encouragement and wisdom. I felt the Spirit move in me in a way that I hadn’t felt before. Here was a group of people I had known for only a few months, that God was using to encourage me. We left that night puffy eyed from the many tears and stronger knowing we were being supported by this community.
God has challenged and taught me through this community. In the past four years, I have found lifelong, Christ-centered friendships with sisters and brothers of TLC. This family has rallied around us countless times, experiencing highs and lows with us. Likewise, we have been privileged to be able to able to do same with them, learning what it means to “do life” with this community. Sometimes it meant praying alongside someone as they go through depression; sometimes it meant packing up someone’s entire home because a sudden move; other times it meant playing trampoline dodgeball and laughing over burgers and fries.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a very emotional person and I often have trouble fully expressing my feelings. My relationships at TLC have stretched me to be more vulnerable and open though. By opening up more, I not only allowed this community into my life, but more importantly, I have heard God speak to me through them.
Four years ago, I had such a narrow concept of what “our journey” entailed. I envisioned career changes as God used Aaron and I in our vocations. But God enriched both my understanding and my walk by providing me with some of the most important people in my life, that is, my community here at TLC.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. - Isaiah 55:8-9