Recently we visited a different church and we knew no one. I was curious- in a very social-experiment type of way- what it would be like. I've gone to the same church my whole life, and other than a few times in my grandparents' churches when I was a child, and a baptism here and a dedication service there, I haven't attended many other churches. So I was curious.

Now, it's not like we can slip into a service and not be noticed. There are SEVEN of us. Toss our adopted kids into the mix and we're noticeably... different. Not to mention the fact that it was a small church, and our presence there that morning could not be missed.

During the meet-and-greet time a young woman came over to me and was just so warm and friendly and engaging. I've thought about that conversation so many times since then. She made me feel so welcome, there, in that unfamiliar space. I liked her instantly, and I felt so invited in. Surely she had some close friends in her church, other women she could have walked over to and talked to; conversations she could have picked up from the last time they had spoken, or details to cover about gatherings or events with that person or the other. But she noticed us and came over and extended warmth and kindness to us.

I am challenged as I wonder if I would have done the same. So often I turn to the people I know; to those I already am in relationship with. I've been reminded this week of the verse in James that says not to show favoritism. Sure, the context of that verse is the rich and the poor, but really- isn't it showing favoritism when I continually turn to my friends after church and talk to them, and them only?

That same Sunday morning there were some other young moms with their children-- one or two little ones apiece, and I noticed that they shyly observed our family from afar. I didn't say anything to them and they didn't say anything to me. I had the sense that they might have liked to meet us, but... didn't, maybe from shyness or insecurity.

I didn't go over to them, because in truth, there wasn't much time. But even if there had been time, I don't think I would have moved in their direction. I would have said the customary hellos to the people nearest me and then busied myself with my children, wrapping myself up in the security of caring for them. Why not? - I ask myself? Why not walk on over and introduce myself to them? Surely we have a lot in common~ they with their little ones in baby carriers or on their hips, I with mine. My reasons... I don't know them. I've never seen these people before in my life. I feel shy and vulnerable in such a new place with all these new-to-me faces. And-- what if I never see them again? And~ this reason, too. This gut-wrenchingly honest one: What if they don't even want to get to know me?

And so I sat with my insecurities and maybe they sat with theirs.

I've thought a lot about this, how I want to peel off the layers of fears and insecurities and self-consciousness and just be free and uninhibited to love and reach out to others and take those first awkward steps forward and smile and be kind and really- just be who Christ has created me to be: confident and carefree (of myself) and full of care (for others).

Make it so, LORD. May I consider others, always, before myself. Give me Your eyes to see, give me Your love to lay aside self and step forward in uninhibited kindness to others. Make me more like you, Jesus, I pray!


  1. Your words show me that you have a humble & teachable heart Stacy. Such a beautiful thing for a woman (I'm the same) with such strong convictions & opinions, because it those words don't always go hand in hand with humility. Yet, I think they do with you. My prayer too:)

  2. And to think ... you're the friendly one of us ... you know, that better half ... when we need to put our best foot forward, I hope it's you a stranger encounters first, because you are warm and friendly and engaging. Sure, maybe you could grow in initiation (and I pray that with you), but I already find you so admirable in the social arena.

    Loving you,

  3. Well said. Let it be unto you as you have said.


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