"God places the lonely in families." -Psalm 68:6
This verse. I can't get it out of my head. I don't even remember when I read it, but somehow it's been on my mind and heart the past couple months and that's usually a pretty good sign the Holy Spirit put it there.
But what does it mean?
I'm now married, living in our cozy home, raising a little girl and ready to welcome another baby in the spring. My life and my heart are full in a beautiful way. Because of my family.
We are meant for family. God Himself came to earth in a family with Mary and Joseph. Even in the Trinity, we see the family image of Father, Son, and Spirit. The first created humans were a family with Adam and Eve and their children. Obviously, family is a pretty big deal to God.
On this worldwide Mission Sunday, I'm thinking about my own family's mission. And you know what keeps surfacing? Perhaps my family's mission these days is not so much to go out, but to invite in.
We are so blessed with the love of each other in our little family. Companionship, conversation, faith, warmth. In our broken world, not everyone has this. And without family, life can be so very lonely. God knows this, and so I believe He asks those of us that do have a healthy, loving family life to invite in those who are lonely. God wants to place those people in our family. This includes:
The single woman yearning for children, uncertain of her place during so many upcoming holidays that often center around children. She needs to be included, not only with your children and the fun activities, but as a friend and equal with her own valuable experience for you to learn from.
The person struggling with same-sex attraction yet trying to live a chaste life and follow the Church's teachings on human sexuality. They need so greatly for the Church to BE family to them, to welcome them in with love and grace and belonging.
The elderly lady who lost her husband a year ago and whose children live far away. She needs your family to welcome her in and show her she still has so much worth and purpose and wisdom to share.
God has adopted each one of as as His children (Romans 8:23, Ephesians 1:5) and has made us a family in the Church. For those of us who also have loving families we live with (whether it be your spouse or your parents), let's respond to God's call to allow Him to place the lonely in our families. Don't be afraid to reach out and invite someone in to your everyday life-- your meals, your trips, your holidays, your mess.
It may not be the greatest-reaching mission like those evangelizing in other countries. But to one lonely person, by simply inviting him or her into your loving family, it's life-changing.