"God Sets the Lonely in Families" Psalm 68:6

By Liz Houser

I'm told I had a wonderful mother. I'm told she delighted in playing with us, reading to us, and praying for us. Unfortunately, I never really got to know her. When I was three years old, she passed away suddenly in a car accident. With my mother gone, my father was left to raise three young children alone. Understandably, the pressure was great, and he never thrived as a single dad. Although he did a marvelous job providing physically for our family, there was much emotional heartbreak in our home. Long hours of working a demanding job led my dad to alcoholism and emotional detachment. Although I have many happy memories of growing up, overall our home was made of sad, broken people who didn't know how to properly love one another and who desperately needed healing.

Growing up without a mother wasn't weird to me—it was all I ever knew. But as I grew, it became apparent that a void was there. I was socially awkward, insecure, and had no role-model to turn to. I desperately needed a father who would provide for more than just my physical needs. I needed a mother to teach me what it meant to be a mature woman and eventually a wife. I needed guidance, a listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on. But more than anything, I needed someone I could trust to guide me spiritually. My dad was far from a moral role-model, and I didn't know anyone who seemed close to God. Something deep in my gut knew that the peace and acceptance I craved could only be found in God. I wanted to truly belong to God's family. But I didn't know how, so I followed my own path instead. I sought belonging wherever I could find it.

When the Christian thing to do didn't line up with what seemed like a good idea, I simply chose what seemed good to me. In the end, this led to even more broken relationships and emotional scars. By my high school graduation, I was a battered mess.

Everything started to turn around my freshman year of college. By God's grace, the resident assistant at my dorm was a member of a college Christian group and she invited me to join. I was blown away by how much love my new friends were showing me, even at the times when I knew I was being unlovable. At first, I didn't understand how they were being so patient with me, and why they were welcoming me into their circle of friends with such open arms. I soon learned it was all because of God, and His acceptance of them. God is a God who sees where we come from, knows us fully, and accepts every part of us—the parts that are easy to love and the parts

that are hard to love.

He is willing to forgive us for our shortcomings and offers to adopt us as His precious children. Because my new friends were accepted and adopted by God even while they were still a mess, they had the patience and love to accept me in my messiness. I had never experienced any sort of healthy family before, and my friends became one to me. Slowly my heart began to heal. In time, I began to understand that God wanted to give me more than a family of friends. He wanted to make me His child. He wanted me to truly belong to His family.

All this was possible because while I was still far away from God, before I ever even knew who God was, He sent His son, Jesus, to live a perfect life and yet allow himself to be killed as punishment for my mistakes.

Some of my mistakes were little. Some were big and very ugly. But Jesus volunteered to die for me anyway. Jesus opened the door for me to be forgiven. I only needed to walk through it. I walked through the door of forgiveness simply by praying. I told God I was sorry for all the times I didn't do the right thing. I thanked Him for loving me and forgiving me anyway. I told God that I would trust Him and do things His way from then on. And that was it.

As simple as that, I crossed over from feeling like an orphan with no one to guide me to being the beloved daughter of the one true God. All the things I needed so badly that my biological parents couldn't give me, God began to supply. Guidance. Acceptance. Friendship. Help. Over time, God did many miracles to help heal the wounds from my past.

Since then, God has given me a wonderful husband and three delightful sons. I am incredibly grateful. But long before I was blessed with my current family, God welcomed me into His spiritual family, and it healed my battered soul. I want to invite you to seek Him out. If you haven't yet accepted God s forgiveness that can only come through Jesus' life and death, please consider it. Praying to God doesn't have to be hard. Just talk to Him like a friend who is right there listening, because that is exactly what He is. Then find a church of people who love God, and ask them lots of questions! Get to know everything you can about this God who loves you so much.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. If you want to know more about what God has done for you and how to have a personal relationship with Jesus, you can learn more here: www.peacewithgod.net.