It was just a casual comment on Facebook...nothing profound, shocking or weighty. Andrea had simply responded to the fact that I call her sons “my boys.” She said, “Absolutely – we consider her blood kin now.” Even as I write that my throat tightens and tears come to my eyes. You see, the promise God makes in Psalm 68 is a reality in my life...He sets the solitary into families. Since becoming a Christ follower in 1992, I have the joy of being welcomed into many families as if I were their blood kin. The first family was the Jones’ which then extended to their daughters’ families, the Jenkins’ and the Strickland’s. The next family that really embraced me, and it happened at almost the same time, are the Riley’s and their daughters’ families, the Warbington’s, Deagle’s and Kirkland’s. What fun memories come flashing through my mind as I think of the weddings of four of these five daughters!! I was honored to serve the families at these events.
After moving to Houston, I really began to realize how true it was that I was a part of their family. Many children have been born into these families since my move, I think six out of seventeen, but they all call me Aunt Beck. While in Houston, God brought even more families to welcome me into their fold, the Smyth’s from Brandon, Manitoba, the Heath’s from Edisto Beach, SC and the Hulzebos’ from Lakeland, FL!
All of these families are my families. I would not hesitate, regardless of the hour or the issue, to call any one of them and say I need your help. I know that they would be there for me. I could show up at their doorsteps unannounced and they would welcome me in and ask, “Can you stay a long time?” They have prayed for me, counseled me, rebuked me, supported me and loved me.
During my time in the Middle East, I had much time to reflect on my life. (Reading Who Are You and What Do you Want? has really helped in facilitating this reflection.) While there, I missed several “now or never” moments with these families and I don’t want to do that again. Also, living alone in a culture that is so familial and relational has only increased my resolve to do all I can to develop even deeper relationships with these folks as well as with my biological family. Having the freedom to live in the Tampa Bay area is such a gift as I am able to spend quantity as well as quality time with my mom, dad, stepmom and brother.
Are you solitary? Trust God and begin asking Him to settle you in with families. And don’t be afraid to do life with them. Are you a family? Reach out to those who are solitary. Extend invitations to welcome them into your home for dinner, for ballgame watching or just hanging out. Be the tool God uses to settle the lonely into families.
To see my "family" as well as some friends, check out this photo album.