What drew me to follow Christ was the joy and community I felt among believers. Even at 4 years old, I could sense the comradery that I saw a church, and around the table at home.  I was part of an amazing family, that treated strangers like lost relatives. And yet, I grew up believing that I was less important, less worthy, and just “less” than everyone else. Those were lies. In my head, I knew those were lies, but I still believed them. Especially through middle and high school, they felt true. I wasn’t enough for my friends, even if I was enough for God. And that wasn’t enough for me.

But in the most unexpected way, I gained a freedom last year that allowed me to just get a glimpse of how much I’m loved, not only by God but by others. And for the first time, I accepted it as Truth. I never really doubted God’s love for me. But I hadn’t SEEN how much he loved this girl, born during a blizzard in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t SEE how he has been acting on my behalf, taking me through trials and frustrations, good times and moments of peace. I didn’t see how he was using every experience I had to not only shape me into who I am today, but who I will be in the future.

I don’t think our journey through life is linear. I think we have many paths we take at the same time. The financial road I’m on may look very different than the road of my marriage. Not that they don’t impact each other, but it seems to me that our journey through life is made up of multiple roads that we take concurrently. I could be succeeding in my road at work, but failing on my road at home. I could be kicking butt on health, but failing miserably when it comes to developing relationships. And like all paths, there are difficult points, like roots sticking out to make us fall if we don’t pay attention. Some paths are just easier to navigate for some people than others. Friends will seem to have complete satisfaction at work, where others have struggled with having a stable income for their entire lives.

But that’s why we need each other. That’s why it’s important to find people who, struggle in areas where you’ve been able to gain ground, and others who can help you down your most difficult paths. We win in some areas while we struggle in others. Reserve judgement. Have compassion. Show grace. We need “us”, even if we haven’t connected in 30 years. We still belong to the same family, we’re still in this together.