Being One of  You

There is a saying that goes something like this: Rarely are members of one's true family born under the same roof. Sometimes we are forced into isolation by our illnesses.  There are ways to find our 'family'- even if it means finding creative ways to do so.  God created us for relationships - let Him help you find them.

group of people

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

I've written before as to how I never felt like I quite belonged anywhere.  I always seemed to be the "odd duck" of the crowd.  In some ways that was ok.  I'm kind of a loner at heart.

But being a loner has its challenges.  When my illnesses first surfaced, I found I needed folks who understood what I was dealing with.  Most of my friends, healthy and active did not.  The few friends I did have become fewer, until I was virtually alone except for family.

My friends didn't understand why I couldn't go out to eat with them.  Celiac and its accompanying avoidance of gluten made it hard to go places where typical food was served.  My reactions were and are severe - anaphylactoid shock and convulsions.

After my car accident 6 years ago, I was able to get around less and less.

My ankylosing spondylitis  (a stiffening of the joints) made mobility even more challenging.

My world changed.

My home became my place of existence.

Yet God, in His mercy and goodness, showed me a new world.

Granted, it's primarily a virtual world.  I belong to online support groups.  I've met many through this blog and facebook.  My social world has grown dramatically through the years.

And God knew I'd need that much support around me to face the events of this year.

I've mentioned I wanted to be a "famous" writer.  I wanted to publish books, do book tours, be a "real" writer.  Not just someone else online who wrote a blog.  But this is where God has placed me and the open door before me.

I used to follow another writer - Jeff Goins - who talked a lot about building a platform, having a 'tribe' you belong to (people around you who care about the same things you do) and how to do all of the things I don't know how to do to become a published writer, something I am not looking at doing now.

But I have realized something.  Without realizing it, I have built my "tribe."  Or rather, my tribe has found me and welcomed me with open arms.

You, my beloved readers, are the people to which I "belong."

Since Steve died a few short weeks ago, there has been such an amazing outpouring of caring and love from so many.

Far more prayers were said in our behalf than I can even begin to imagine.  And I know that the prayers continue.

To say I am grateful is such an understatement.

I never dreamed, that when my health decline began, it would be the introduction to a world of loving, caring, gifted people.

If you, dear reader, feel alone in your illness - please know there are places where you can and will fit in.  God will bring the right people into your life - but it does take some effort.

It was with much fear and trepidation that I joined my first online support group.  I found another - then another.  And in each place I was welcomed with open arms.  Each group provides me with something different.

I reached out to the Rest Ministries writers.  I've made amazing friends, just by first posting a comment on one of their blog posts.

Some folks I just stumbled across in other ways and now have an incredible support group on facebook.

I encourage you to reach out.  If you find someone who feels like a connection for you - pursue it.  Pray about it.  Ask God to bring folks into your life.

We do not have to walk through this life without friendship.

Take it from a loner - if I can find my tribe - the place where I belong - you can too.  

And by the way, if you  are reading this - 

You have found part of your tribe right here.

Father God, Thank you for each pair of eyes that reads these words.  Thank you for each pair of ears that may listen.  I pray that you will richly bless each person, bring them to their particular place of belonging.  While ultimately, we all belong to You, it helps us so much in the day-to-day living, to know that people care.  Help us to see their love.  Help them to see ours.  Amen and amen.

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