It was the early summer of 2009. I curled up one morning on my couch to have time with Jesus. I was 35 with two thriving careers, owned my home and was quite content in many ways.
I had this thought that every few months it’s good just to take an inventory of life with the Lord … to lay everything in my life out freshly before Him and yield all things. I never want to just assume God wants me to work the same job, live in the same house, drive the same car, etc. so I opened my hands and began to pray and ask. Ever heard the phrase, “Be careful what you ask for”? Yeeaahhhh.
At the moment, in my heart of full surrender, I sensed the Lord say, “I want you to go back to school.” I think the Holy Spirit kept speaking, but I was sitting there with one eye open and a very confused look on my face, thinking, “Come again? School? Uh, I pretty much hated school last time I was there, and I haven’t developed a fondness for it since. Could you repeat that?” Again I heard, “I want you to go to a ministry training school … this will be unto developing you further for ministry and for marriage.”
Now I’m sure none of you reading ever do this, but my mind first went to all the reasons why this made no sense and therefore, I probably wasn’t hearing correctly. I have not one but two great careers. I have a mortgage. And let’s not forget, I don’t like school! Just like the Lord, He already had the answers I needed to hear and shared them. “Pull back on both your careers, rent your home and trust Me.”
To make a long story short, I did just that and God provided greatly. Four girls rented my home the month I started school, and the program (through my church) offered host homes for full-time students.
I went to visit my friend Rachel who had been placed in a host home, to see what it was all about. She lived with a husband and wife who shared a large piece of beautiful property with their two daughters and their families. While Rachel was showing me around one day, I couldn’t help but think how neat it was that this whole family lived out there so close together (in three different houses) and how something about it felt like home to me. I was not really looking forward to moving out of my comfy little condo, but as I drove out of the driveway, I must admit I was a little envious of where Rachel had landed!
Two days later, while I was on the treadmill at the gym, I got a call from the program director saying that they had found me a host home. I wanted to be excited, but all I could think was, “Well, I don’t know who these people are, but I’ll go, Lord.” The lady then asked me if I knew who they were, and I said “No … no idea.” She said, “They are the Lisses’ daughter and son-in-law who live up on the hill behind them … you know … right behind where Rachel is living.” Well, I nearly fell off of the treadmill! That place that had already started feeling like home was exactly where God was taking me.
I was used to living on my own and was now moving in with a family of four and three dogs that I had never even met. Can you say CRAZY! Within days, I moved in, and although I was only supposed to be there somewhere around nine months, I stayed for two years … that’s how great it was.
In this country, we have this mentality of celebrating young adulthood and pushing to “get out on your own.” My friend Lina, who is from Colombia, asked me why so many singles move out and live on their own before marriage. I told her, “Because it’s good to get out on your own and be independent.” In Colombia and many other countries though, they believe in young adults remaining in a family context/setting until they are married and starting their own families. Although I thought that was a little crazy at first, the more I thought about it, the more it kinda made sense.
Psalm 68:6 says, “God sets the solitary in families.” And since when is it a biblical principle to contend and celebrate independence? Aren’t we called to live interdependent lives with God and with one another?
At the beginning of the time I lived with them, I had no idea just how much I needed the context of family. They didn’t just let me live with them, they made me part of their family in every way. I was included in every dinner, holiday, vacation, birthday and family event. And although it was bittersweet moving back to my condo, in true family likeness, I’m still included in family dinner; my room is still available whenever I want to stay, and I’m invited to every birthday, basketball game and school play.
If you’re single and wishing you had family times, you can! Just because you are single doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Be bold and step out with a family at your church or a married couple you are friends with, and tell them how you would love to spend some time with them. Don’t just talk about it. Get your calendar out and make a plan. I once asked my life group leaders if I could come over to their house one night and just hang out with their family. She was elated that I asked and said she just never thought I would want to come hang out with her family!
All relationships have to be developed, so give yourself to that process because you never know just how blessed you’ll be. “Family” can look a lot of different ways, so think outside the box. If you are single, pray and ask God for Him to open doors with a family or families for you to spend time with. You’ll learn a lot, be a blessing and be blessed all in the process.
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