“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, He leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” Psalm 68:5-6
Field Story by Katie Zayner, Monterrey
The problem with the world is that we draw the circle of our family too small.
– Mother Teresa
If we are following after the heart of God, are our families ever truly complete? Isn’t there is always room at the table? Isn’t there always more love to give, and room for another seat to pull up?
God promises to not only be a Father to the fatherless and a defender of widows, but He promises to put the lonely in families. He says he will be a Father. Defender. A rescuer. A leader. A singer. A comforter.
This doesn’t solely pertain to orphans. Our faith asks us to open our doors, and not shut our eyes. We see Jesus’ face not only in the vulnerable, orphaned child, but the single, grumpy neighbor, the frail, elderly couple, the sullen, angsty teenager, and the homesick, overwhelmed refugee. Putting the lonely in families isn’t just adoption. It’s leaving the door open and letting people in. It’s redefining family.
Two years ago, hands full with three boys under five, and new to a foreign country, God said, invite. And we obeyed. Our family invited a 17-year old girl from a hard place into our home. Our lives, hearts, and love expanded exponentially in ways we couldn’t have imagined. It’s not always easy. Hear me when I say we had, and still have, a lot of learning and growing to do. We make mistakes, but we are family. We belong to each other and it’s a mutual decision. We chose each other then, and we’re committed to keep choosing each other now.
My husband coaches the Los2 soccer team in Monterrey, and we have an extra teenage boy or two around the table more days than not. I absolutely love our long dinner table for that reason, there is always room for more. Our kids know how to scoot down, grab another plate, and make room for others. It’s rarely quiet and orderly, but they’re used to joining in and helping out. This is family. We belong to each other.
Loving an orphan or a lonely person doesn’t require cross-cultural living – people are in need everywhere. It can look like adoption. It can also be inviting your neighbor to dinner, even when it doesn’t feel convenient. What does it look like to invite someone who is lonely into your space, especially when it’s not seen, celebrated, or easy?
Psalm 82:3-4 says, give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people. God is using powerful, action-packed commands. Give. Uphold. Rescue. Deliver.He means business – with what we have right now. A conversation in shaky Spanish, a sweaty game of badminton, learning a new song you’ve never heard, inviting a new friend for dinner, smiling at the stranger who looks sad.
Small offerings, with open hands, have value in the name of our Savior. He calls each of us by name, and He calls us family. May we be spurred to see each other the same.
Think of the suggestions Katie made above of people who need love – the single, grumpy neighbor, the frail, elderly couple, the sullen, angsty teenager, the homesick, overwhelmed refugee. Can you think of someone in your life who fits one of these descriptions? If not, can you think of someone who needs reminded they are loved and known? What are three steps you can take toward making this person feel loved and known?