Truth be told, I've struggled off and on throughout my days with these negative words associations. Have spent quite a bit of time by myself. I'm an only child. My dad traveled a lot so both my mom and I spent a lot of time alone. I had a very small extended family whose members lived in the Midwest and East coast (we're on the West coast) so we rarely saw them. I married into a small family whose members were again in the Midwest and East coast and somewhat estranged from each other so it has been just my husband, myself and our two kids. And, unfortunately, we now have only one surviving parent between the two of us.
As God would have it, I ran across this beautiful verse last year during a season in my life where I was feeling very isolated:
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity;
But the rebellious dwell in a dry land. Psalms 68:6
I clung to this verse that day and have never let go. "God sets the solitary in families"..... I truly seek claim to that promise and look for it on a daily basis. And, He is faithful and good to fulfill it. But never does He do things in the way we expect....
Over the years, He didn't give me more additions to my physical family; however, He has brought a few people into my life that I can call friend or look at them as family. He has increased my family by giving us an extended spiritual one. Through church, homeschooling and bible study. Many of these giving people bless me in ways my physical family never could. And, yes, the Lord does fill our cup to overflowing in His perfect timing.
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
As you might imagine, birthdays and certain holidays are among the most difficult for me to be without family. You really tend to sense how 'alone' you are on days where tradition is to gather together with family. Especially birthdays. We all like to be celebrated on our special day. Even after all these years, I still like to be remembered on that day.
I just celebrated another year of life. Honestly, I was dreading it. I did my own birthday chant: "Nothing special. Rarely remembered. No expectations...." This year was different. I received the nicest gifts, cards, and Facebook notes from sweet friends in all my 'families'! Just when I needed it most. Those cards and comments are like treasure to me. Little nuggets of gold! A sweet birthday gift in the form of a promise fulfilled from the One who loves me most....
Your kindnesses never go unnoticed especially by the One who really matters. God shows His amazing love in many ways including those beautiful random acts of kindness through others. Never miss an opportunity to reach out to those you come in contact with to extend a word of thanks, appreciation or encouragement. Reach out to those who need 'family'. Be inclusive. Love on 'em any way you can! Even the smallest of gestures can make a huge difference to those whose tanks need filling. Bless others in this way and you will be blessed!
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13