Wednesday, July 31, 2013

He makes a home for the lonely

It's currently Sunday - it's after church but before our evening plans. We spent the day out at the lake with one of our home stay students, Ana. We floated and rested and my back and heart thank me for today. We came back in time for church - and my heart even more so thanks me for that choice. My spirit is encouraged - God was working at church. On top of that I am continually amazed by God's gift of His people. These are broken, flawed people. I talk to them and sometimes their insecurities are obvious, sometimes not. Sometimes their flaws are blatantly obvious and sometimes they seem perfect. They are human - wonderfully so. They have the power to hurt other people, and in their humaneness they are selfish (as all people are) - and yet they are the biggest gift to me imaginable. The joy of being in community that is real and engaging is unbelievable - unless you experience it you won't understand. It seems impossible to get such joy from flawed people. And yet, that is the system God has put in place. He calls us into community. He makes a home for the lonely. 

I was lonely for so long. Growing up I had family and community but was still so lonely. It was God, first winning my heart and giving me a reason to be secure and be significant that allowed me to embrace family and community as He intended. As He moved in my heart He showed me how to accept and receive love from others. For years I felt the weight of my loneliness as a stone in my heart. When I was young I stopped crying. I will cry in movies and books, no problem - annoyingly easy. But for my own pain, I learned to stop that flow of emotions or I would have cried endlessly in elementary school and Junior High. I would hear about people experiencing community and long for it so much - yearn for that feeling. You know that feeling, like when someone compliments you, and you feel like inside you're just so so so happy and you can't believe they're saying such nice things about you, but equally feeling so awkward to receive the compliment? It's like that - I yearned for it, craved it, but could never imagine it happening. 

The Psalms say that God makes a home for the lonely, He brings the prisoners out of captivity. I was captive in my insecurity and sin for so long - I was in bondange to wishing for relationships and friendships - they seemed impossible to attain. When Christ saved me from my sin - when He forgave me and died for me and EMPOWERED me to live FOR HIM - he did so much more than just save me - He gave me a new life and part of that is community. He gave me girlfriends. He gave me a husband. He gave me friends I can call to talk to. When my back went out last year two friends came with Paul and I to the ER and helped me change and move. When we moved 15 people came out to help even though they knew we owned lots of heavy books. People text and facebook and email to see how we are - to see how trying to get pregnant is going, and how our hearts our doing, and how Paul's job prospects are and how our day to day lives are going. God has given us people that genuinely care about us. He has made a home for two lonely people. 

Paul asked 8 girls to prom and they all said no. I didn't ask anyone to prom because I'm a girl, but I was also not asked to prom or any high school or junior high dances. When Paul and I were young our parents worried about both of us because we both tended to gravitate to adults to talk to since people our age didn't want to talk to us. God has given us a home now and friends. He used those years to make us tender, to teach us to care for others and to know acutely how it feels to be "on the outside". And He now gives us the opportunity to use those painful lessons to love others and draw them into the community He's given us. Now that's fun. 

Now some of you reading this don't have community or feel like you don't have friendships like these. And also you love Jesus. And it's hard. I wish I could tell you that there is an easy answer. I can't. I won't pretend that we never feel lonely. I won't pretend that we don't get hurt by people and get let down by friends. One of my biggest fears is that I will hurt a friend somehow unknowingly and they will cut me off - and that happens at least once a year (to my great sadness). I do know that God is good. He is kind. He has a plan and he is bigger than our pain and our hurts and our joys and our shame. I can't control people. I can't build a community. I can only turn to Christ as Lord of my life - offering Him control of my life in thanks for His graciousness and pray that He meets me there - and He does. Even if it doesn't always look how I expect. 

**Note: None of these pictures are mine. Because I'm in them. Thanks Facebook! 
(and three from Stefany Mailhiot Photography)**

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