You know what is one of the really, really cool parts about this summer?
It's the fact that even though I'm stuck in this house all summer, in a family of people who hate that and don't understand why I am a Christian, there is not a day that goes by that I don't realize that my Christian family is surrounding me with all of the love and encouragement a girl could ever ask for.
Some of them are in a different town.
Some of them are in a different state.
Some of them are halfway across the country.
A good deal of them I've never even met.
They all have their own lives, their own concerns, yet they still carve out time to make their presence known in my life, to remind me that they are always here to lift me up. When I was growing up, all I ever wanted to know was that I was truly important to someone. And now, not only do I know how beloved I am to God, but my life is filled with people who see me as worthy of their time. More than I ever could have dreamed.
I got a call from Pastor Sean this morning. That's been one of the hardest parts about this summer, being away from my church family, so to get to talk to him for even just a few minutes meant a lot. I should have kept in better touch with him throughout this medical ordeal this summer, but thankfully Justin and Jenn have been filling him in. He reminded me that they're praying for me, and they love me, and they can't wait to see me again. Even when I'm not there for almost four months, I know that they're my family. It's crazy to think that a year ago, I didn't even know this church existed. And two years ago, I had no plans on getting baptized, let alone going back to church. Heh. God's just good like that.
But the sweetest part of the conversation with Pastor Sean for me was when he told me that the spirit of courage I have shown has been such an inspiration to them, and I could honestly and straightly tell him that I don't think I'd be as steady as I am right now if it weren't for all the incredible people who have dedicated themselves to walking alongside me for however long this lasts. Every time I start to feel down or questioning and doubting things, someone is right there to encourage me and point me back to Jesus and what I know in my core to be true. I still haven't gotten used to it, honestly. I had gotten so used to doing life pretty much on my own, that it took me a while to really accept the help people were offering so generously, but now? Well, I couldn't be more thankful that I did.
This reminds me of a time that Taylor and I were talking and I told him that my bond with him, Bruno, Caitie, Kyla, and even Callie and Phoebe, feels so much deeper and so much more real than the bond I have with my biological family. He explained to me that that's because we're family on an infinitely deeper level: we serve the same God, we've given our hearts to Him, we're family for eternity, the kind of family where I don't have to worry about something bad happening to them because I know I'll see them again.
If you read this, and you've prayed for me or really been there for me in any way, big or small, know that I cherish you and I am grateful for the blessing that you are in my life. You're the people who show me back to the hope I sometimes lose track of, and never fail to remind me of all the reasons I have to keep getting up in the morning, to keep living out God's story for me. As Pastor Sean said, God knows how to give us exactly what we need when we need it, and I definitely needed you. Thanks be to God for his provision.