Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The lonely in families...

"God sets the lonely in families, He leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land." - Psalm 68:6

At college, it is a lot easier to get lonely than it is when I'm at home. This semester has been somewhat easier with a really close friend as my new roommate and friends and groups that I have gotten to know better. However, none of them compare to the comfort it is to be among my family. Here I just feel so single... When home, I don't feel quite so single, though I technically am, for I have my family around to call my own.

After church last Sunday I was very blessed by a family inviting me over to their house for lunch. The dad teaches at Belhaven, and I have gotten to know the oldest daughter who is a junior here. I went over to their house - a family of 8 children, 6 of whom are still at home - and enjoyed helping them prepare lunch, eating the delicious home-made food, sitting around talking until late afternoon, and just being with a family again. There is nothing like the interactions of all ages in one house to make me feel at home. As I helped fill the dishwasher my friend remarked that I may just have to be an extra sister now, to which I replied that I wouldn't mind a bit!

God was so wise when He made us to function as families. We glean wisdom from the older members, we learn how to care for the younger ones, we experience sweet companionship from all ages, and learn patience through sometimes irritating circumstances. With them you can truly be yourself, and you learn many things about yourself that you have to change, as your sinful nature is more prone to rear its ugly head. In a family you receive comfort and a sense of belonging. Even when you're not necessarily doing something together, you still feel a peace as you know that they're just in the next room if you need anything. No family is perfect, but through that we also learn to show grace and forgive.

Just because I'm not currently living at home doesn't mean I'm no longer a part of my family, but it does make things harder. It takes more work to stay connected, and you don't have the joy of being able to see them many times throughout the day. Phone calls, emails, and letters just aren't the same as sharing a house with them on a daily basis.

I was so grateful for the opportunity to be with a family at their house on Sunday. Though we're not biologically related, I felt a closeness and connection with them. It is a beautiful thing how that can happen between those in the body - the family - of Christ. I am very blessed to be a part of God's family, one in which I shall find connections all over the world! In this family God has made a space for each of His lonely children.

If you know of any single people at your church, consider inviting them to sit with your family during the service or even come over for a meal once-in-a-while. They won't care if your house doesn't look perfect or if your food isn't the most amazing gourmet meal. They'll just enjoy being with a family and finding companionship with those of other ages.

If you're currently a single and are invited to do one of the things mentioned above, don't hesitate. I sometimes turn things down because I don't want to inconvenience anyone, but often people really enjoy being able to help. Bless them by allowing them to provide hospitality.

Of course, singles can and should also be hospitable to others! Being alone in situations has made me more aware of how I should be looking for ways to reach out to others to be a blessing and encouragement. It truly makes a difference.


Luke and Michele said...

How neat, Anna! I remember fondly the families that adopted me while I was in college. It is nice to have a place to go to other than the dorm room and cafeteria!


Ella said...

The lonely in families.....that is why my family is so passionate about wanting this State adoption to hurry up.

We always try to have people into our home. A friend of my dad's just got divorced (after 35 years of marriages) and he is rather lonely....so we are having him over tomorrow.

I am glad you have some people there to encourage you, my friend!

Miriam said...

College is definitely different than family life. One of the ways, he sets us in families while in college is in giving us awesome friends. I'm glad you were able to hang out with that family! Enjoy your time there as well as with your roommates and other college friends. Many of them are lonely and bored as well and will be more than willing to do something that you come up with for fun. Treasure your time there - I hope you find friends who will stick with you through the years. Those kind of friends are priceless!

Leah Renee said...

Amen, Anna! Thank you for the reminder to be warm and welcoming to those who may be separated from their families. When I am so content being in my natural family I need constant reminders that I need to be serving as part of my spiritual family as well!

Hannah Jane said...

I gave you an Award!!!