Our last of six kids graduated from high school this past weekend (I’m not crying–you’re crying!). And, like the others, we celebrated in a big way.
However, there were some things that were unique this time. I didn’t have any embarrassing baby pictures. I didn’t have a first day of kindergarten handprint. In fact, I didn’t have any childhood memorabilia whatsoever to display.
That’s because his childhood was not spent with us. Thomas joined our family at age 13, a shy, grinning towhead who didn’t speak a lick of English. Now he’s a high school graduate with a steady job and plans for community college in the fall. We couldn’t be prouder!
Although Thomas wasn’t born here in Iowa, he had the benefit of joining a ready-made, supportive community because he joined a family with a ready-made, supportive community. He experienced this benefit in many ways over the past 6 years, but he was still amazed by the number of people who came to his party to celebrate him. “I didn’t recognize a lot of them!” he said afterward.
That’s friendship. As your friend, I don’t just deeply care about you–I care about what (and who) you deeply care about. True friendship overflows and spills onto each other’s entire world. The people who came to Thomas‘s party were not all his people: They were my people and my husband’s people. They were our other kids’ people too. They were neighbors and work friends and school friends and so many dear church friends. A beautiful network of supporters came to show love to Thomas, maybe not because they were personally close to him, but because of their close connection to someone else.
It’s especially meant to be that way in the church. Jesus says, “I no longer call you servants…but I have called you friends” (John 15:15). Our God is so generous. He not only befriends us but places us in a gospel community of friends and family. A rich community where we are called to love each other. But it doesn’t stop there. We’re meant to care about each other’s entire world–each other’s joys and troubles and their people too. That’s amazing.
I encourage you to reach out to someone who is not currently a part of a gospel community and bring them along with you. Share the love.Thomas’ graduation made me again grateful for the Body of Christ and the rich support it provides. I love you guys!
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25, NLT