Read: “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:15-16 (NIV)
Reflect: My father served in the United States Navy for 20 years, so our family moved a lot. 10 different cities and 12 different schools; I was always the new kid. At each new “duty” station, I imperfectly navigated the intricacies of adjusting to my new city and all the new faces. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t see how my experiences were actually a blessing nor was I aware that God was equipping me to eventually serve others.
Time and time again, with each new move, we would come across fellow military families that would warmly welcome us. Through invitations prompted by shared experiences, we would exchange stories and words of encouragement over meals. The friendships that were established and rooted during the hardships of Navy life have now spanned decades, generations, and thousands of miles. With this foundation, opportunities to serve one another were revealed. Whether it was sending one another off with well wishes on a big moving day or celebrating a retirement, our families were a blessing to each other during uncertain times. I have a deep appreciation and adoration for each community we became a part of and, more specifically, the families that made it special.
Through my experiences and the examples of these families that had a positive influence on my childhood, I gained empathy and awareness of the way other’s stories can impact them. This sensitivity allows me to focus on how I can be God’s extension of welcome, warmth, light, and hope to others.
React: Spend some time reflecting on the way your unique experiences and places you’ve lived have shaped you. Ask God how he would like you to use this to serve others.
Pray: Heavenly Father, remind me at the start of each day that you put me in the specific places and with specific people for your purposes. Utilize me to share your hope, love, and grace through my unique story and placement in this world. Help me discover how I can be a blessing to my community.