When I think of the word belong I am reminded of the meaning.
Dictionary.com said; (Being a part of, connected to and in relationship to, someone or something.)
In families it looks like a continual commitment to the purpose of being together.
I don’t like the concept of ‘owning’ someone, it is not like that, in a family we belong together and we are in the mindset to work as a whole.
I think it is a good thing and the meaning can be very powerful.
In the family unit we ‘belong together’ we are bonded through the power of love.
Our children when they came to us were bonded to us as blood relatives they belonged to us.
Sometimes change takes place and marriages fail but the family unit still belongs to each other.
In the concept of church we see it differently, at least I do.
I belong to the church because I want to be there and see it grow and mature and I want to be a part of that growth.
The word belong is used 149 times in the bible. Rather significant amount of meanings.
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29
“Once God has spoken; Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God;” Psalm 62:11
In the old testament belonging was a way of knowing what family line someone came from.
In the New Testament it was a bit different not so much which family tribe someone was from but more of gifts given to chosen ones.
[But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”] Matthew 19:14 He said this in Matthew, Mark and Luke.
The point of the word as I see it is connection and choice.
If we follow the Lord, we belong to him.[and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.]
1st Corinthians 3:23
When I think of the word belong it brings hope. It is saying, “you are important.”
To belong means you are not alone, you are chosen. You matter and you are special.
I think in many ways we all want to belong to something.
What are your thoughts? When you belong to a group how does it make you feel?
Just a few things to think about.
When I think of the word belong I am reminded of the meaning.
The continued lesson from our Pastor Mike is about the word, Belong.
My last writing was about family.
The times shared together through holidays, vacations, meals shared, defining moments that say ‘we belong to each other and we are family.’
It is a how we say ‘we belong here’.
The church is very similar to the relationship of family.
We learn how to belong through the context of commitment and time spent together.
Pastor said if we don’t grasp and embrace the family we will struggle with ‘the OUR Father’ concept.
Families who are healthy look out for each other, do good to each other, carry one another’s burdens.
When someone is sharing a matter of their heart we listen and invest in their journey.
In family we encourage each other to grow and mature.
When we have hard and difficult times we cannot overcome alone. We belong to each other and we walk alongside each other, in the context of family if we don’t make it together we don’t make it all.
The church is very similar. It cannot be whole by itself, it must have people who say “I belong here.”
In family the problems are shared. Your problem becomes my problem and we can work on it together.
The burden belongs to all who align themselves as ‘belonging’. No one is alone.
When a family is strong, the enemy will try to attack and break down the ‘walls of belonging.’
He will attack our identity, our unity, our peace, our faithfulness, and our hope.
It’s really hard to continue to belong when the forces are against us.
We find ourselves discouraged and pulled down when we allow the enemy to speak lies to us.
Pastor said, “until you have revelation of truth you will never understand the powers that are against you to survive and stay together.” The church is the same way.
He said a dysfunctional family will make more relational withdrawals than healthy deposits.
Health deposits must be a family commitment.
Pastor said we must learn to carry each other’s burdens while dropping our ways of defense.
If someone in your family or church betrays you, only you have the power to decide how you are going to release it and let it go. Healthy relationships honor you and whisper affirming words to your spirit.
Relationships mean showing up for each other. Making time matter. Showing up means sacrificing our agenda and our plans for each other, it is all a part of belonging.
Showing up means you are present with the person while you are listening to them in person.
The key to all of this teaching is this; vulnerability lies in the heart of connection.
It is all a part of belonging. Allowing others to see us, and then allow each of us to connect to the commitment to each other.
When I say I belong to my church Grace chapel, I am saying I value it, I thrive in it and I commit to it.
Showing up is putting action to our words. Life works so much better through the context of relationships.
Let’s learn to do them well.
There has been more lessons from our Pastor that have been both challenging and stirring.
His new topic is about family. How the church is similar to a family setting.
He shared that in a family you build each other up, you stand beside each other, you take the time to listen and walk alongside your family if they need you.
The church is very similar. We are available to each other. If someone hurts, we hurt with them.
It is a community of ‘caring’ and that is what the church is representing.
Now in all fairness if you were raised in a broken home, a different setting like I was, the concept of family is disturbed or disrupted.
My dad left when I was a young age leaving me to grow up during the formative years without a dad’s opinion or input into my life.
We had grandma’s and grandpa’s and I don’t say they were not a great help; but in the heart of a child to have a parent’s approval and or love is healthy to one’s spirit.
It is nurturing. Healing and creates a wholeness that a broken home does not give.
The church can be a healthy home, or a dysfunctional home and I do believe my husband and I have experienced both kinds.
I generally leave if I feel the dissonance between word and behavior because of my gift of discernment.
I can tell if it is a ‘setting that is toxic’ pretty much right away.
A few times I have confronted a pastor or two which only led us to the point of leaving.
It is who I am, I value true and healthy relationships and if there is a point of discernment for me and my spirit is churning then it’s time to confront, change or leave.
Family is a bit different because you really can’t leave your relatives although some have tried.
Family is blood ties. It is inherited genes and whether we like it or not, we are related to those who we struggle with. I think that is why the church is very similar to family.
It teaches us to have compassion, to care, and most of all to forgive.
The new lesson from our pastor is about family and I think it will be a very powerful time of listening for us as he unpacks the words of truth.
Stay with me as I share more.
As I sit in the quiet of the beach and our trailer I reflect on the peace and the safety of this place.
We have been here for a few days now, going home tomorrow.
I miss my cats. I miss home. Although the beach is a home to me on many levels.
Even when it’s wet and stormy it is a refuge for me. A kind of soul care.
I love the sounds of the ocean and the power of the waves, then this morning I walked across the grassy path and above me were Canadian geese honking and flying across the sky.
One of my most favorite sounds in the air. I marvel at how they can fly in a form so perfect.
Then I saw hovering over the ocean the pelicans… slowly flying over the waves.
It is a place of wonder to me. The camp is a known Christian camp and we come here every Thursday.
My husband volunteers here and works alongside several other guys of assorted ages.
Lately on the other side of the camp the otters have come to visit.
I have not been able to see them yet but that would be a wonderful surprise to see them in their natural habitat.
I love to see nature as it is, I think often times we mess up the natural nesting places of so many.
Last year over the camp there were a few eagles. They were beautiful flying high as the majestic swirl of their wings moved ever so careful, high above the hillside.
Most of nature I love. Not the bugs or creepy crawly things but nature is a beautiful thing to observe.
Today I am staying in tune with the quiet. The calm and the peaceful process of taking time away.
Life goes on as I restore myself in this place of peace.
Soon the hub of laundry and dishes will be in the background, maybe the local news.
For now I excuse myself of those things and I sit in the peace of a soft breeze warm sun and waves.
I have a new appreciation for understanding the power of the waiting room; following up on Jennifer’s post from earlier in the week.
The waiting room can teach us a lot about ourselves.
About how easily we get frustrated, how little patience we have, how we learn we are not the kind of people who engage in small talk while waiting.
I have been in this setting on many occasions and each time it brings a sense of unknowing, of fear, of what if’s (not sure that is a word) it’s definitely challenging.
When my husband had his knees replaced the first one was more scary than the second one.
The first time I wasn’t sure what to anticipate and look forward to when he came home.
Not too different than when he had both shoulders done.
The surgery part is a long wait…Waiting, looking at the walls, finding an old story to read in a very old magazine.
I often don’t bring my own book as I am kind of a germ worrier and don’t want my stuff in a world of potential germs from others.
As you sit and wait you wonder what each person is waiting for, who is in the surgery place.
Is it a husband, wife, child, parent?
What kind of news are they getting is it good or bad?
I wander the halls and find myself into the ‘cafeteria’ which sometimes has good food and most times not.
Eating while stressed is always a bad thing, so I try to pick good choices.
It’s hard not to people watch as sometimes it is very clear there is stress on their faces or they have quiet whispers among themselves.
Who are these people and why are they here in this place?
It stirs my curiosity and yet it also just ‘lingers’ in the air of what you should or should not talk about in this not so private waiting room.
You see people deep in their magazines, reading to pass the time, or on their phone doing games.
There is an unspoken rule I think about waiting rooms. You don’t ask.
You make only simple small talk. Nothing loud only small whispers.
The other day at the pharmacy corner where I waited for my prescriptions it was very slow and crowded and I waited for a very long time.
Finally the tech said to me come here, “you have been waiting for some time.”
Yes I had. I was being patient as I could tell they were slammed and short handed.
I have worked in this field and know the total frustration and stress.
While we are in the waiting room we can adjust our attitudes.
Much of life is about waiting and learning to be flexible, patient and kind in the process.
How do you handle times of waiting?
(This is a guest post from an online blogging friend.
Sharing her heart to yours and mine. We have all been in the quiet of the waiting room. It is both awkward and strange, and it pulls you into many thoughts and feelings.)
The ache of the waiting room
This is the waiting room. Welcome. You know this place, don’t you? When we are in the waiting room, we eventually have to make this choice: We can either distance ourselves from God or we can trust him in the wait.
This truth became so evident to me over the last three years, a season when I’ve logged many hours in waiting rooms—literal ones. Waiting for a friend when she had a cancerous lump removed. Waiting for our daughter Anna when she underwent procedures for a digestive problem. Waiting for Dad when he had a pacemaker put in, and then more waiting when he had part of his right leg amputated.
I’ve found that waiting rooms everywhere are a lot alike. An interior decorator has done what he or she could to make the place inviting. Chairs are upholstered in trendy colors. Fake greenery has been arranged in matchy-matchy ceramic pots.
Meanwhile, the one you love is on an operating table. Your inner “fixer” is paralyzed. Unless you happen to have a degree in neurosurgery or anesthesiology, you are clearly not needed. You are, instead, stuck—feeling rather powerless—in the waiting room. If you’re lucky, a digital board identifies your loved one by a number and provides periodic status reports.
My family of origin tends to be the obnoxiously loud ones in the waiting room. Humor has always been a coping mechanism for us. I suppose there could be worse things than laughing through hard times.
Our stories in the waiting room kept us sane during one of Dad’s recent surgeries. Every so often, one of us would step out of our circle, somber faced, to check the digital board. A sister would whisper, “Still in surgery.” We’d pause, and then we’d all start in again. Here in the waiting room, it was about stories, connection, laughter. It was about family.
There was no pushing, only pausing.
Oddly, these moments, when I sat miles away from the answers I wanted, were an unexpected gift because they caused me to consider the practice of being still. I did not flit or fly. I was a bird on a wire, wings tucked in, waiting for hope to appear, inching up from the horizon.
Waiting has compelled me to understand that I’m not in charge of the world and that my notions of control are all an illusion anyway. Waiting can feel like a weakness, especially in a culture that places a high value on self-sufficiency and “making things happen.” Waiting is the opposite of sufficiency, and it leaves me exposed and armorless.
I step into so much of my life wearing armor: The armor of ambition. The armor of good performances. The armor of masks. The armor of control. The armor of trying harder.
There is no armoring up when you’re waiting. You simply wait, stripped down, vulnerable before your struggle. You can fix nothing. You are not in charge now—not that you ever were—but the armor you wear on a typical day gave you a false sense of security. You finally realize there shall be no pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. This can be a very beautiful thing. When you pause—instead of push—you do all the things that matter most: You pray. You read Scripture. You sit quietly—or laugh loudly, if that’s more your style—with friends and family. You practice allowing yourself to be still.
In the quietness of a hospital waiting room, I would often turn inward and whisper to my Savior, “How would we get through this without you, Jesus?” Letting down your faux armor causes you to more carefully inspect your life and discover how incredible it is to belong to Jesus: Where, oh where, would we be without Jesus?
Where are you today, friend? Where, oh where, are you?
Perhaps you are in a waiting room of some kind too. Perhaps you wish to act instead of wait. You want to take matters into your own hands but haven’t a clue how—or even if you should.
What are you waiting for? The answer to your financial distress? A baby to come? A resolution to a relational conflict? The phone to ring? The wound to heal? The last twenty pounds to drop? That moment when it’s your chance to finally celebrate?
You ask good questions for which there are no immediate answers: Why is this opportunity slipping through my fingers? How am I going to go on now that he’s gone?
Maybe today you actually are reading these words in a hospital waiting room while someone you love is in the operating room, and your prayers seem to dissolve into antiseptic air as you cry out silently: Are you here, God?
Though he may be silent, God has not abandoned you. He is working while you wait.
The work that God does in the waiting room often proves more important than the end result. Here he will give you clarity for what he wants you to do when the wait is over. Here he will draw near to you. Here you will get in touch with your essential self, the one who wasn’t made to wear all that armor.
This is the greatest gift of the waiting room. Lean in close, for when you least expect it, you will sense the presence of Jesus in ways you never could have before.
BIO: Jennifer Dukes Lee is the wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, and an author.
She loves queso and singing too loudly to songs with great harmony. Once upon a time, she didn’t believe in Jesus. Now, He’s her CEO. Jennifer’s newest book, It’s All Under Control, and a companion Bible study, are releasing today! This is a book for every woman who is hanging on tight and trying to get each day right―yet finding that life often feels out of control and chaotic.
Adapted from It’s All under Control: A Journey of Letting Go, Hanging On, and Finding a Peace You Almost Forgot Was Possible by Jennifer Dukes Lee, releasing this fall from Tyndale House Publishers.
Today I had an interesting chat with our 8 year old grand son.
He actually turns 8 on Monday but we took him out for breakfast early so his parents could have time with him on his actual day.
We were sitting at the table and he looked at me and said, “I have never seen your bedroom.”
I said to him, “it really isn’t too exciting and it’s a bit of a mess.”
His reply to me, “sounds a lot like our house and actually the whole world is a bit of a mess.”
Yes it is true, the whole world is a bit of a mess; and it seems to be pretty obvious to this little guy we have a lot of work to do to better ourselves.
Spending time with the grand children is priceless. Especially if you can get them alone.
Our grand daughter’s usually come together since the 14 year old’s are twins.
They do almost everything together. The oldest grand daughter is 19 now and working full time and driving my hand me down car. She is really growing up fast.
It’s a good question to ask ourselves, how often do we stop and just chat with each other?
It is precious to listen to them, I found a saying that said, “listen and silent have the same letters with different meaning.”
When we become silent and truly listen we can hear many profound things.
I can hear inflection of words, tone of talking, the meaning of how it is said, I listen to hear and not so much how I am going to respond. Active listening is an art. A gift one can give.
When I was in counseling he would often tell me, “I am listening to what you are not saying as much as what you are saying, I am watching body language and mannerisms.” At first it made me nervous.
Then I got used to his ‘leaning in to listen’.
It felt good to have someone listen to my words, even if I had to pay him.
He clarified a lot of confusion and misuse of ideas within my recovery.
It was good.
So my question for you, when was the last time you really heard someone?
I mean leaning in and listening with a heart ‘interest’ for what they are saying.
Let us challenge ourselves in the next week or two. See how often you listen and then respond.
You might be surprised at what you find out.
The word listen contains the same letters as the word silent.
I think this is something to think about.
About six months ago I joined a professional writers group.
It was a bold move on my part since I am not professional and only write here, in this place.
Oh occasionally I will do guest posts but mostly it’s here and my audience is pretty small.
Some of us were commenting on our ‘small’ audience and one of the leaders gave a talk to us.
It was not only encouraging but thought provoking too.
She said, “So you only have 19 people reading your blog writing. Ok then you do your best to serve those 19 people and to make them want to come back for more of your words.”
“For instance if you had all 19 readers in your home for coffee, you would set out your best cups, your finest dishes and your homemade goodies to make it nice for them. You would do things to welcome them.”
It was a very different concept for me because we used to have a small group in our home on a weekly basis and it stressed me to have them. Hospitality is not my ‘highest gift.’
Also to have 19 in a room is rather large and not considered an intimate sharing time.
So to make it more, friendly and safe, we could break the large group into two.
In the blog world you can’t really do that; what I am trying to realize is this, NO number is too small.
Whether you write for 1, 4 or 19. You write for your audience and say what you need to say to them.
They will appreciate it too if they know you are doing it for the right reason.
The writers group also tells us to keep track of our email list and respond to our readers.
That is hard for me since I have no idea who really reads this.
Other than 1 or 2 who comment, the others are a mystery to me; kind of out in cyber space.
Unless my readers send me a comment I have no idea who they are and I won’t be able to reach out to them.
I write because the Lord laid it upon my heart to share words that would both encourage and challenge those who choose to be readers. That is why the name came to be “something to think about.”
After much prayer those words came to me and I thought it was exactly what I wanted to accomplish.
After reading a blog post I wanted the reader to step back and think on the words written.
Giving them ‘something to think about.’
In the future I am not stressing about numbers or wondering who.
I am just writing into this little space and if it becomes a blessing to you; well then I did what I have wanted to do.
May God get all the glory for the words that are shared as HE began this good work.
In the last post I wrote about finding God’s love and purpose for your life.
It is so easy yet so many make it so difficult.
In the Bible which is the Word of God it tells us we are loved many times.
It tells us that God knew us before we were even born. How awesome is that?
[You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.]
Isn’t that amazing? God can see and observe us way before we are known.
When my own babies were expected the technology was not so great but I was able to see the image in black and white and shades of grey. We knew our daughter was upside down and very comfortable to stay there. Now with even better technology they can do 2,3 and even 4 dimension ultrasounds so precise that one can see hairs on the babies head and feathery eyelashes.
That is how God saw us.
[How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them: they out number the grains of sand! When I wake up you are still with me!]
What a beautiful image.
We are at the beach every week and walking on the sand is a part of our visit. There are many grains of sand. You couldn’t begin to count them. I think that is the whole point of this verse.
In Psalm 143:8-9
[Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk for I give myself to you.]
In order for us to truly take in and accept HIS divine love for us; we not only need to trust Him and also believe in His promises to us.
[And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.]
It is simple and yet so hard to believe at times.
He said, in John 14:23
[“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”]
[I have loved you with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.]
The choice remains for us. Believe it to be true or not believe it at all.
The choice we make will determine our direction. It’s that easy.
God chooses you for a purpose in your life, so you can say completely, “I am chosen.”
Whether you believe in a God or not, you are chosen to live the life you have been given.
Our Pastor continued his teaching on The Increase and I of course took many notes.
We find increase in our lives by identifying our identity.
Some of us have made the wrong agreements that have shaped us towards a wrong direction.
When we say agreement, it is not a ‘verbal’ YES. It is a spiritual ‘agreement’ in our heart.
For instance if someone told us when we were young we were not pretty, or not smart, we could take that internally and then make the agreement to ourselves that ‘no matter what’, I cannot be pretty or smart.
It is an internal agreement.
Identity has everything to do with who you see you are. If you believe in yourself then you can do well.
If you feel you will fail then you possibly will. Your Identity shapes your future.
It is about Who made us and who empowers us to walk whole.
If we don’t allow our identity to lead us to a positive direction; possibly towards God who made us, we will turn and move away from Him and become more negative.
Pastor said, “Learn to find the right reflection of you. Grasp it and don’t let it go.”
It is transformational, to understand and see who you really are in the EYES of the Lord who loves you.
Pastor said God always takes our weaknesses and expands them towards our growth.
If I am by nature a introvert which I am (which is not a weakness but if I am leader it could be).
God might ask me to go to a seminar and be a part of a large group. Not my comfort zone but through that process I could grow stronger in areas so I can move forward in others.
Sometimes God has to lower us, in order to elevate us.
1 Samuel 16: “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
It is a heart condition that stirs our identity and direction.
David was chosen in this passage of Samuel because his heart was balanced, anointed and gifted.
God knew his heart condition was right and He knew He trusted in a process.
David was not scared when he fought Goliath because HE knew the power was from God.
In his weakness he might have said, “HE is big”; In his faith, he said, “MY God is bigger.”
He had confidence that God would not leave him alone in the time of need when meeting the enemy.
We find strength when we meet our Goliath’s in life and realize they have NO power over us.
Learn to find the right reflection of yourself and grasp it with a firm grip.
Whether you believe in God or not, it doesn’t matter because the truth is, your identity was given by Him when you were born. What you do with that information is your destiny. It is your choice.
He chose you for a purpose and that purpose is to find His love.