by Natalie LaValley

Though I haven’t introduced myself before, I write the blog at Ascending Leaders. As I was considering beginning a new series on community, I realized my own recent experiences at Ascending Leaders perfectly exemplified why it is crucial. So I’m going to start this series with a personal story.

I became engaged shortly after I had joined Ascending Leaders. One of the best parts of working at Ascending Leaders is our weekly prayer meetings, and after my engagement, my prayer requests became about choosing a venue, finding a new home, fixing a misplaced wedding veil order, and so on.

One day, when I came in for our weekly marketing meeting, Mike Johnson told, “We have an important event coming up, so today’s meeting is going to be extra long.”

I tried to look enthusiastic but wished I had grabbed more coffee. When I walked into the conference room, however, I was greeted by all my co-workers shouting “surprise!” and flipping on the lights to reveal the conference table laden with food, cake, gifts, and lots of glitter. The “extended marketing meeting” was a surprise wedding shower!

I left that day feeling overwhelmingly blessed. I hadn’t realized until then just how much the people I worked with were like family to me, because I had never expected that kind of community from a workplace.

Soon after the shower, my Ascending Leaders family became even closer. The wedding was to take place two weeks after school finals and my fiance’s graduation. I already knew those two weeks could be stressful. But then in the middle of finals week, I was blindsided by unforeseen crises, including a family member being moved to hospice care. I found myself in a season of mourning during what should have been a season of rejoicing. With school finishing, I became isolated from all my usual community except Ascending Leaders. At our prayer meeting, then, I shared everything that was happening. My co-workers decided to spend the whole meeting praying over me, and again, I was deeply moved by how much these people loved on me like family. Their prayers and offers of help supported and encouraged me through those two weeks.

On the wedding day, I experienced an overwhelming shower of blessings from God. The additional crises I had feared and asked prayer for did not occur; instead, an almost tangible sense of peace and joy presided over the day. It was the powerful and unmistakable result of people’s prayers. Some of my Ascending Leaders family were at the wedding, and those who were not sent notes to express that their love and prayers were with me – and I felt it.

the Ascending Leaders members at the wedding

Looking back, I realize how much my Ascending Leaders’ community supported me through my whole engagement. The prayer requests I had brought to our meetings were answered directly with unexpected blessings: my worry about getting an apartment was lifted by an amazing offer of free housing; I found another wedding veil that was a better deal than the original; health complications I had expected miraculously disappeared.

I cannot imagine the last year without the community I have in Ascending Leaders. While I don’t expect most people find it in their workplace, Christian community is essential. As a private and independent person who prefers trying to solve problems alone, I can easily fall into the trap of isolation. But my recent experiences are a reminder to me and those like me that we absolutely need to be in fellowship with the body of Christ. Crises will certainly occur, often when we are least prepared for them. Though it’s easy to think that discipleship is just about “me and Jesus,” we need fellow believers to bear Christ’s image and be His hands and feet for us in the times when he seems far away. That’s what I experienced with Ascending Leaders, and that’s why I want to start talking about community.

Don’t miss the rest of this series! Subscribe to our blog below!

Natalie LaValley, Marketing Associate at Ascending Leaders 

Natalie is completing her BFA in cinematic arts with a minor in writing at Houston Baptist University. She and her husband Nate love drinking coffee, petting cats, and capturing God’s creation on camera.

Follow us

© 2022 – Ascending Leaders – All rights reserved.


for Additional Scholarship

Your Cart

Cart is empty.