I had a deep flaw and as the days went on I could see it shining through every corner of my life. It was shameful and it trapped me. I had no idea how to shake it off. I was addicted to the approval of others, of everyone, of anyone and it was an addiction coming in ahead of my love for my God.
I hated it. The addiction had started when I was very young and grew slowly. The only thing I could think to be thankful of was that I had become aware of my unhealthy condition and perhaps with God's help, I could battle it away.
Last year, I was deep in the fight when I attended a Christian writers conference. It was a huge leap forward for me to be there. I felt awkward and unsure of myself. Hesitantly I wondered if I even fit in there among dozens of other writers and ministry leaders. Being out of my element made it even harder to focus my attention on God's plans instead of my own desire to be approved of by others. That is when I met Linette Crelly.
Linette came and sat by me the first day because there was an empty seat at my table. I couldn't believe she was a grandmother. She was so young at heart and beautiful. I thought to myself that I would love to be like that, so joyful and full of God's spirit. And, I knew that I needed to truly battle my addiction to people-approval if I had a chance.
And, guess what the little girl in me prayed? "God, I wish I had a bracelet, just something simple, that would remind me that Your love is enough. That Your love is sufficient."
In my mind that would do it, a reminder on my wrist that I already had all I needed.
It was the last few hours of the conference. We all sat down around tables to listen to the key-note speaker and enjoy a banquet. We joined in prayer at the end of the meal and I felt someone slip something over my hand. I looked down to see that Linette had placed a silver bracelet with little stone hearts around my wrist. With tears in her eyes she said, "I just wanted to give this to you."
A sob triggered through my chest. God had answered me.
His love was more than sufficient, it had even overflowed into the heart of my new Christian sister to make sure I received a bracelet. And with it I realized with wide eyes that my family was so much bigger than that of the ties of blood and man-made-laws. God has place around me His children. My sisters and brothers in faith.
Without the pain of childbirth, the fun of weddings, or the paperwork of adoption, my family keeps growing. God refuses that I ever feel alone and He keeps bringing to me new Christian sisters and brothers to love and be loved by. Isn't that amazing? But it made it somewhat hard to leave the Christian writers conference this weekend. Some of my new family I won't get to see for a year or even more and they have become very dear to me.
I am new to these sort of relationships. Honestly, I never thought of how strong a faith-based connect is until I met my sister, Linette, last year. The way she touched my heart made me realize how closed-up I had become to letting others into my life.
Is your family growing? Sometimes this is hard for we Christians. Our lives are busy and our hearts are already full. To make room for new loved ones because of a shared faith seems unnecessary or unreasonable. Oh, but it so very worth it.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
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"...and God was already there with me."