Looking Back to Where We’ve Been

 In Tori Smith

Over the Thanksgiving holiday we went down to South Western Kentucky to spend a few days with my mother and family who lives there. The last time we went to Kentucky was over a year ago. It was the first long car ride for Wyatt and it was tense at times, to say the least. On the way, back I remember crossing into Cincinnati and Wyatt screaming “I want out of this car”. To which I replied with the same intensity and maturity (i.e. screaming) “I do too!” – But then I said in a more mature, less intense voice, but I can’t get out and neither can you. We have one more hour and then we will be home.

Fast forward a year and a half and the trip was completely different, it was enjoyable even to the point that when we parked in our parking space when we got back home, Wyatt announced that it was a nice ride this time. It was a nice ride this time. It was perfect weather; we didn’t have to stop often because everyone could sit longer and EVERYONE went prepared for a long ride – each one packed things to read, draw, play. It was a nice ride this time for me, because it was quiet enough at times that I could reflect on life and in particular reflect on the last three years and what God has been doing. Certainly, my life is different than where I would have anticipated it to be had the kids not moved in. (So much for five year plans.) But, even more I thought about the differences that the kids have gone through. There is not an area of their life that has not been touched. As I thought about our lives, I know that there was no grand plan and timeline on my part that contributed to what has been happening. In fact, it was just the opposite, I had to get out of the way, give up all my plans and timelines in order to make room for what God had in mind to do. He has been working so hard on every front, but for this blog I wanted to point out that a large part of what He has been doing is using each of you, the church the family at Hope. Each of you has been instrumental in touching the kids with God’s love and grace. And just as importantly I see you touching others with God’s love and grace.

And so here is where my mind went – as I reflected on life the last few years. We are commanded to go and make Disciples. But I think often we interpret that to mean – go find those who are like minded and invite them to join our little circle. And we all know what happens when that’s our goal – we end up in a mess, our own little click that never grows bigger, it can only grow smaller. But that’s not the command. The command is simply to go and make Disciples. From other passages in the Bible, we know that we are called to seek out and invite those who are different, who are hurting, who are weak, who are not always just like us. We are commanded to seek out and invite those who don’t look like us, or sound like us or think like us. We are to invite and make room for all to have a place in our family. And here is the bottom line – you all can do it. You ARE doing it! So, let’s celebrate, make the circle a little wider and not be afraid of the one sitting next to us in the pew who might be different than what we are. Let’s make room for the one who worships a little different or who is touched by Jesus Christ in a little different way than we are, or who enjoys a little different music or enjoys reading a different translation of the Bible than we do. Let’s continue to do what you are doing by making the circle wide enough to have room for all!

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