Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
The Lord lifts up the humble;
he casts the wicked to the ground.
Everywhere we move, there seem to be deep friendships I wish I could be included in. Baby showers or birthday parties that I’m not invited to. It’s easy to tell myself I’m not wanted, not included – especially in a world of social media, flashing pictures of events and meals I’m missing from. I’m quick to feel sorry for myself and spend some time pouting about how other people should be more thoughtful and think of me. I want to follow my mind down an endless road of if onlys.
And sometimes I start to. But sometimes, God’s teaching me to stop. To instead be full of gratefulness for the people He HAS gifted me with, to be in community with. There have been the sweetest friends and neighbors, diverse and beautiful, full of kindness. People who have walked through hard times and celebrated victories with us. We’ve grown with them, and just plain had fun together.
And more than that, He has brought me into community with Himself! Jesus paid the price so that I could be in relationship with the holy God of the universe, full of power. Because HE loves ME! That’s pretty unbeatable!
But, in His endless goodness, He doesn’t stop there. He also gives me the opportunity to love others the way He has loved me. There are always others feeling alone or excluded, sometimes other military spouses and sometimes people we meet in the community. I get to reflect His character when I sacrifice my pride and invite someone into my life, my home. What a privilege to direct them to the king of the world who loves them and cares for them and wants to gather them to Himself!
Have you had someone include you when you felt alone? Thank God for this person, and take the time to thank this person for their kindness. Is there someone that might be lonely that you could pursue spending time with?
God, you are so good to me! You saved me and invite me into community and ministry with you! Forgive me for the times that I focus on what I do not have, instead of on the gifts you have given me. Soften my heart and fill me with gratefulness. Heal the hurt places that feel excluded or forgotten or sad. Show me people who need you and need community, and give me courage to pursue them.
by Cara Rice