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  • Writer's pictureRenata Joseph

We are Family

This Mother's Day I was reminded of all the ways I am included in family. My Saturday started at my dear friend Nora's house. Eddie, the kids and I went out to the farm where she and her family live and spent the day with them. They killed and BBQed one of their sheep for a feast with fresh salad, beans and tortillas.  Many years ago, Nora and her sisters lost their mom and a year or two ago Nora decided that I would be her new mom. I kind of blew it off, saying something like, "I'm too young to be your mom!" But Nora meant it. This Mother's Day, she had us over, she honored me, gave me gifts and I suddenly realized that Nora needed a mother and God had provided her one in me.

Later that night, I was sitting in our church as the men and young people had prepared a special dinner for all the moms. I was surrounded by my church family and was so proud to see Eddie and the kids serving the food and helping out. During that dinner I got a call from one of our former foster sons, Jairo. He called to say Happy Mother's Day, but also to share the news that he finally got his Green Card after 9 years of trying his case in immigration courts. What a celebration! What great news! And, by the way, could I help him with another form he needs to fill out? I realized then that, even though he moved out of our house 5 years ago and we live thousands of miles away, I'm still his American mom who can help him navigate scary legal forms and #adulting.

The Holy Spirit began to whisper to me, "He sets the lonely in families."

The next day, Mother's Day (Sunday), our guest preacher said that Jesus prioritized family and creating family with those who share the faith. Again, the verse, "Father to the fatherless, defender of widows....He sets the lonely in families" echoed in my spirit.

Psalm 68:5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6 God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing;

Holidays are the times when we miss our loved ones the most. Missed birthdays and celebrations are a sacrifice our family makes to do the work we do in Belize. Our precious niece, Ziya turned 5 this weekend and we missed it. Last week I missed the passing of my dearest cousin, Christine, who was only 45. I prayed for Christine's family from afar and wished I could be there to grieve with them.

Nora and Jairo aren't the only ones whom God has provided a family for. I'm reminded that I, too, have been lonely and I, too, have been set in a family. If Nora hadn't invited us out, I would have stayed home on Saturday wishing I could spend it with my mom or mother-in-law. God set me in Nora's family, so our family wouldn't be alone on Mother's Day. He set me in Jairo's family, so I would have someone reach out and call me, giving me great news and work to do. He set me in my church family, so I would have a community to pray, praise and serve with. He has seen my loneliness and provided for me. He leads me out of my prison of loneliness, isolation, depression with singing.

Lately our nuclear family has been through a hard season and God has sent us friends and family to shore us up in our sadness, confusion and loneliness. Our family is big and deep and wide. It spans oceans and countries, cultures and languages.

How has God provided a family for you in your times of loneliness? How have you been family to an orphan, a widow, or someone else in need?

*Photos from our Mother's Day celebrations will be included in this month's newsletter, coming out the first Tuesday of June. Sign up on our website to get monthly updates and read monthly blogs like this one.

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