Tag Archives: moving

The Power of Being Welcomed.

Recently I moved to a city that I knew very little about. It’s truly been a seamless transition, and I’ve actually forgotten that I’ve lived here for such a short time. What has made it such a seamless and easy transition, you ask? I have been welcomed with open arms.

One great source of welcome has been my new parish community. I’d heard a lot about this parish from other people in my age bracket. I went there and saw for myself how welcoming and kind the people were. At a recent event, a woman found out I was new to the parish and quickly made sure that I knew where she was sitting and that I was welcome to sit there, and introduced me to the people she was sitting with. On Donut Sundays, I know that can I sit at any table and find new friends. (By the way, I think every church should have an opportunity for fellowship after Mass or the Sunday service. Why is it not like this? That’s how community is built!)

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Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Lately I’ve been reflecting on how this experience is bringing me closer to Christ. By experiencing His love through the kindness of others, I am coming to know in a greater way Who He is.

The chilling truth is that many people have left the Church because they didn’t feel welcomed. Any person who is new to a church should find smiling faces and people ready to talk to them and bring them into community. It is up to us, the Body of Christ, to witness to Christ’s love. When a person is welcomed to a church, they will begin to grasp in a greater way Who Christ is. They will be more open to learning about Him. We’re called to make disciples of every nation. Let’s start in our own churches!

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Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash

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Different, Yet Beautiful.

For the past two years, I spent Independence Day watching fireworks on the rooftop of my apartment building.

 

I loved being a a part of the city life, of having access to so many events at my fingertips. It was a total gift to be able to invite friends over for the 4th of July and walk up a

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Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

few flights of stairs to the rooftop. We could stand on the rooftop and see downtown, and watch numerous firework displays from over the lake. Now, I am in the suburbs. I definitely do not have my own apartment, but live in someone else’s home. They have graciously opened up their space to me and my (very unique) cat for a low price.

This Independence Day, my no-longer roommate drove us twenty minutes away, to another suburb’s fireworks display. By God’s provision, we found a parking spot. We followed many families of  energetic young children to the fireworks watching location, chatting about our still-single state of life and the general complexities that we never imagined would still be the reality at our respective ages.

We staked out a spot and laid out a blanket. The sun continued its setting. Music played over loudspeakers, and we continued to talk. Finally, the music stopped. All the lights turned off. There was a collective gasp in the crowd. Complete darkness covered the area as we waited for the fireworks that celebrate the freedoms and independence we are offered in the United States of America.

My life has turned out vastly different than I ever imagined. This is especially in relation to being 28, where I find myself now. As I contentedly watched the magnificent fireworks display, one of my best friends beside me, what echoed in my heart was “different, yet beautiful.”

Watching the fireworks in a well-removed location from city life, and surrounded by families, is vastly different than watching them in the city. Yet, it was beautiful.

Living in the house of married couple friends is much different than living in a house with my own husband, as I always assumed would be the case by this age. Yet it is beautiful as I benefit from the hospitality of my friends and learn more about the beauty and struggles of marriage.

Making friends with other single women my age and older, yet still trying to figure out men and how anyone finally makes it through all the steps to the altar is different than I ever expected would be the case by now. It’s different than having “couple friends” and arranging play dates, yet it is the most beautiful blessing to have these sisters to share this unique journey with.fireworks-for-blog.jpg

 

Life sure is different than I ever expected it would be at this point in my life. Still, grace and blessings abound, different blessings than I expected. Each day I find blessings and strength, treasures to hold onto. Our Father is a good, good Father.

Life is different, yet it is immensely beautiful.

The Places He Puts Us

“From one man he made every nation of humanity to live all over the earth, fixing the seasons of the year and the national boundaries within which they live.”~Acts 17:26

Hearing the stories of how people end up in a certain place is always interesting. I mean, why would someone choose to move from California to Alaska? Or how did your friend from Beijing end up in your little town that has barely anything in it? Or the Syrian-born person that ends up a refugee and makes a home in Boston? It’s pretty amazing to think about how people ended up in one place when they could have stayed where they were or ended up somewhere very different. God has a way of bringing us where He wants us to be.

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courtesy of unsplash.com

  I’ve moved to my current city not once, not twice, but three times! It’s like a magnet always draws me back. Awhile back I ran into a woman I know, and she smiled to see that I was back in town. “Lianna, do you think that maybe God wants you to be here?” We both laughed. It’s pretty clear that God has placed me here for some reason. Some of those reasons have become clear to me. My heart is at peace here, and I’ve grown and found myself in ways I never could have imagined. I intercede for my city, that there may be peace, redemption, and an end to the turmoil. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet many other people on their journeys and serve them in very tangible ways through my career. However, I cannot see the big picture. Only God knows exactly why I am here.

Trust that you also are where God intends for you to be. Maybe it’s only for a season. It could be for the rest of your life. It may not always be comfortable. We are asked to bloom where we are planted. There are people who need you, right where you are. They need your love and your prayer. You are called to be an intercessor for your city as well, and your country. If you’re challenged by where you live, God is calling you to grow through that experience. And sometimes, we end up somewhere for a short chapter, for reasons that we may not know, and then are called to move on. Other times we are asked to leave a place that we loved. God has a reason for placing you within the boundaries where you live, as the verse from Acts above reminds us.

Here’s a very succinct prayer if you are struggling with your place: God, put me where you need me! And trust me: He will do it!

(As you think about where you are, please also remember to pray for the numerous refugees and displaced people throughout the world. They are adrift and seeking where their next home will be. Ask God to bring them to a place of safety, acceptance, and welcome. Importantly, also welcome them and do whatever you can to show hospitality to those in your area.)