PHOTO CAPTION: Me and part of my BIG family at Christmas time – before Covid-19.
Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong? There have been times I’ve felt like that. I’ve inadvertently walked into situations where I truly didn’t belong such as into the wrong restroom, a meeting room that was not where my group was meeting or (Yikes!) going the wrong way on a one way street. Thankfully those situations have been few and far between. But there are those times where that sense of belonging has been challenged even in places where I should belong!
A few years ago during a family birthday celebration, I was struck by the differences in personality, energy and viewpoints just in my family alone. We had the gamut of decades represented all the way from a one year old to an eighty year old. I was somewhere in the middle and I found myself enjoying all the different age groups and yet wondering where in the mix of things I really belonged. I loved the energy and the joy of discovery that the one year old had, but I have to admit, I can’t even come close to matching their energy. I loved the helpfulness and fun loving spirit of the teens, yet I felt a little unable to relate to some of the things they are going through. I can relate to the parents with children who are in the busy stage of their lives working and trying to keep up with their kids – although things have changed since my kids were little! As for the men, well, their technological and mechanical brains baffle me sometimes – I don’t think I can even come close to keeping up. So where do I belong? I don’t match the energy of the kids, I’m not savvy and up-to date like the teens and I don’t yet have the wisdom of the eighty year olds. (I’m getting closer to that elderly group, but still have a few years to go.) How do I fit in this mix? I guess my job right now is to love, listen, play games and just be there. (Oh and helping with cooking and clean-up too!) I hope somehow that’s enough.
With that said, I want to remind us all that where we truly fit is in God’s family. It doesn’t matter what age you are or what your walk in life is, God knows and He wants you to come to Him as His child. You will never feel like you are going the wrong way on a one way street and you will never walk into a meeting where you are not welcome when you meet with God. It’s never too late or too early to take your concerns, your frustrations and your dreams to Him. Whether you are one or eight one, whether you are technologically challenged or live and breathe for technology, God wants you in His family. He has a place for you at His table. He created your mind. He watches over you, protects you and He has good plans for you. Whether you are a busy teenager staying up late to work on homework or an empty nester, God knows and understands exactly where you are at. What more can I say except, “Thank you God! Thank you for loving and accepting me just as I am. I’m so glad that I belong in your BIG family!”
PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
Remind me that above all else, I belong to your family. Let me come to you with my problems, my hurts and my joys. Let me remember to be quick to forgive and quick to show love and care for my family and friends. Let me make room in my heart and life for others who need a place to belong so that they too can see what it means to belong to your family. I want to encourage each one in my family and in my world to be all that they can be because they belong – they belong in God’s BIG family. Thank you God. Amen
There’s something good about feeling like you belong; like you are a part of something bigger than yourself. We all have a desire to belong somewhere.
- Belonging helps us connect and contribute to the world around us.
- When we belong and work together with others, we can make a difference — we accomplish more than we could alone.
- Belonging adds value to our lives and the lives of others.
HOW TO CREATE A SENSE OF BELONGING IN YOUR HOME OR CLASSROOM
Those first and most important relationships begin at home and right now, our relationships are centered around home (and the internet) as we are encouraged to stay at home and stay safe. How can we stay connected? Where can we go to belong?
- At home – Remember you are committed to one another – you are in this for the long haul. Not all days are going to be perfect, so take a deep breath and maybe a walk or a bathroom time out, ask God for strength and love your imperfect family. Learn to laugh at the mishaps, discipline as needed with love and forgive often. Forgive because we have been forgiven much.
- Plan some time for fun. Have a rough day? Dishes in the sink, laundry in the washing machine and you are still working from home on that proposal you boss wants? Maybe it’s time to take a 5-10 minute fun break and giggle with that Toddler that’s been tugging at you for the last hour.
- With your classroom – when at school include the kids in taking responsibility for their classroom and helping others. Now that we are virtual – Stay connected. E-mail, Face Time or Facebook Live or Zoom if you can. Send a postcard.
- Do you need to feel like someone understands you and that you belong? How about joining an online mom’s group or make your own facebook group and ask your friends to join you. Many churches are doing virtual services online – you connect there. Currently my small group of ladies that I meet with weekly is meeting virtually through Zoom. I also meet with my young adult granddaughters, my daughter and daughter-in-law daily for some much needed work out time through Face Time. Be creative and reach out to others for a place to belong and contribute.
What Can You Do With Your Child?
SHARE A STORY: God Made Me To Belong – Psalm 100
REVIEW: Do you remember what our stories have been about this month? We’ve been talking about some of the things God made. He made the world and everything in it. What’s your favorite animal? God also made people. He made your family and He made someone very special, YOU! You are very special to God. He loves you so much and He did a very good job when He made you. Did you know that God made you to belong to Him? He did! He made you to be part of His family and to love and praise Him. Let’s listen and find our more.
STORY: Excerpts from Psalm 100 ERV – simplified for young children
Psalm 100:2 Be happy to serve the Lord. (Clap hands.)
100:2 Come to God with happy songs! (Sing, “La, la!“ or “Praise God.”)
100:3 God made us, we belong to Him. (Say, “I belong in God’s family.”)
100:3 He takes care of me like a shepherd takes care of His sheep. (Say, “Baa!“)
100:4 Come to church and tell Him thank you. (Say, “Thank you God!“)
100:5 God is good! (Say, “Yeah God!“)
100:5 His love is forever. (Give self a hug and dance around.)
100:5 I can always trust Him. (Hold hands out open, then close into fists.)
POEM BASED OFF OF PSALM 100 (Can be sung to the tune of “London Bridge”)
I am happy God loves me,
I sing to Him happily.
God made me, oh yesiree,
I belong in His family.
Like a shepherd loves His sheep.
He cares for me when I sleep,
My friend forever He will be,
Because I belong in His family.
Dear God,Thank you for loving me and making me. I’m happy you take care of me and that I belong to you. I want to sing happy songs to you. I love you. Amen
MEMORIZE: Psalm 139:14 NIrV – (Hold hands as though holding a book.)
How you – (Point upwards.)
Made me – (Point to self.)
Is amazing – (Hold up closed fists then open hands wide.)
And wonderful – (Jump up and down with hands in the air.)
THE MAIN IDEA
KNOW: I belong in God’s family.
TALK ABOUT: What it means to belong to God’s family?
ASK: Who made you? God made me.
AND DO: I can praise and thank God that I belong.
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK
* Make up a song to say thank you to God. (A cheer would be fun too.)
* Depending on the age of your child, play “Peek-A-Boo” or “Hide & Seek.” When you find him/her, say, “I see you and God sees you too!”