This past week I had the opportunity to travel back to California for a family wedding. Sure, weddings are great, but we all know the best part (besides cake) is the mini family/ friends reunion they really are. I was able to talk to people I hadn’t seen in 6 years, get to know people I only really knew in passing or by name, and connect further with in-laws that I love and deeply respect.
One of those encounters happened in a loud reception hall with blaring music in the background. Huddled together and basically screaming at each other, we got to commiserate and compare our moving experiences. Let me tell you a little bit about this woman: she is a strong, well-respected, well-lived, intelligent woman, with a great family surrounding her. I’d like to include myself in that. In the past couple of years, this woman became a widow, sold and moved out of a well-loved family home, and pretty much had to reinvent life alone. Alone, as an individual, but not alone, as in lonely.
She told me that she started reading my blog (!!!) And was impacted by the Strangers post. She could relate. Not only had she recently become a widow, she was now living in a new place, having to make new friends, find a new routine, start over. So, as she read the post, she read the part about commissioning missionaries, and the verse:
This is my command– be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
And like I said, every once in a while, God punches you in the gut right when you need it.
And so she went to church. And at that service, they happened to be commissioning missionaries. So she made a decision: She felt a pull to get involved and build roots in her new community. She met new people, made new friends, joined new groups, and made new, deep connections over the course of a few months.
As she told me this story, my eyes were sweating. I feel honored that I somehow could help someone get gut-punched. I have deep gratitude, and her story has deeply impacted me. She told me, “Keep writing. Write for you, but write because you never know who you’re impacting. Even if it’s one person. It makes a difference.”