“God sets the lonely in families…” – Psalm 68:6 (NIV)
During the school year, at least once a month (sometimes more), I find myself making the 30-minute drive to the home of some dear friends. I usually am there for dinner, and most often, I bring my famous dessert, “Ashton’s Berry Surprise”. Most of my time there is spent with the husband and wife of this dear family, but of course I’ve gotten to know their children as well.
Over the summer, I find myself there more often. Last year I was there for both Memorial Day and The Fourth of July, for a jam making day, and for more dinners than normal. This summer has included dinners and even a sleepover–me with the kids while their parents were out for a night. When the Fourth was starting to draw closer, I was invited to join this sweet family for the day. They usually have lots of us over for dinner/swimming/fireworks, but they invited me to join them in the morning at a small town parade they go to each year. I said I would think about it–not totally sure that I wanted to mess with parking there and all. A few days passed and I got a text saying that one of the sweet boys had offered up his room so that I could spend the night and ride with them to the parade. I wouldn’t have to mess with parking on my own or anything like that. My heart immediately warmed, and I thought of Psalm 68:6.
He sets the lonely in families.
For years when I thought of this verse, I thought it meant a replacement of sorts. That when God sets us–those of us who are lonely–in the hearts of families that our desire for a family of our own is being replaced because He’s given us this other family, these other people. I don’t think that anymore.
I deeply desire a husband and children of my own. I want to be married and to have babies and to be called Mama. I really do. But I don’t think that Him setting me in the hearts of this family (or other really sweet ones at OBC) means that my desire is diminished or lessened or even no longer existent. Nor do I think it’s a replacement. He has given me this family for this season. For what purpose?
Well, one reason I think is to learn from them. I’m not promised a husband or children, but I can still learn how to be hospitable, how to show grace, and how to handle conflicts. And if God ever does give me a husband and children, the time spent here will be all the more valuable. As I observe conversations and listen to discipline and parenting, I see more of Him because I see different people who are His children. I can watch how siblings interact—something I never got the privilege of doing—and I can see how brothers act and are taught to act. Most of my friends growing up had little sisters. I never really saw brothers be brothers. Should God ever give me boys, this observation will not be in vain.
But what if He doesn’t–the question I ask myself far too often instead of reminding myself to trust and obey God today. What if He doesn’t? Well, I still don’t think this will be in vain. I get to be part of a family that is bigger than mine, which I believe is a representation of the family of God. And while it’s hard at times when I take other people’s kids to the pool or I watch a husband kiss his wife when he comes home from work, I think being part of a family, as a single person, is one of the most rewarding things God allows us to do. It reminds me of His provision and His care and shows me His kindness in ways I wouldn’t experience with just people my age or in my same stage of life.
God sets the lonely in families.