Better Together (As Published on www.debraserrano.com)

At our church we have a one minute mingle time in the service to go around and say hello to someone we don’t know and maybe fit in a few hugs and high fives to those we do along the way. Most Sunday’s I find myself walking up to people, introducing myself, getting their name, and then continuing on that way until it’s time to sit down.

This past Sunday though, something different unfolded in my one minute’s time. I made my way to a young boy and his mother. As I said hello, I asked how old the little boy was. At less than ten years old, when he said his age in response to my question, his mother chimed in and said he was with her in service because he misses his sister. With a child in college, my first thought was perhaps his sister was away at school. However, when I asked if she was in college, the mom teared up and told me she’s been struggling with an illness and was in the hospital… again. I asked her to repeat her full name and if it’d be okay for me and a few other ladies to reach out to her and check on her periodically to see how she’s doing. With eyes brimming she nodded and mouthed, “yes” in response.

After service, I found my way back over to her so we could finish talking. She said she almost didn’t come to church that day. While it’s the place they go to find refreshment and to get filled up; she just knew this Sunday was going to be different. She knew it was going to be emotional. She made herself come anyway. I told her maybe God was preparing her for the day, because he knew he had something special in store. He knew he would orchestrate a chance encounter with someone who would reach out to her, hear her story, and then gather some amazing women to surround her and remind her she’s not alone. That is a different emotion when you are walking through a storm. It’s a release.

My heart went out to her because I know what it is to be surrounded by people and yet feel alone in the crowd. In my life there have been times I didn’t know how to open up and reach out, times I thought no one would understand or care. As I opened my life and my heart to trust others and let them share in my journey, I found what a relief it is to no longer feel alone – to have friends to come alongside me.

It was God himself who said in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good for man to be alone…”

Even in that picturesque garden setting with no challenges or struggles, God knew we need others to do life with. We truly are better together. If you are feeling alone today I hope you feel encouraged to be brave like this precious woman and share your story with someone God brings across your path. For her, it took less than a minute — in that minute she was loved on by God and me, and now will be loved on by others I’ve connected with her. It’s worth it. You are worth it. Invite someone in.

Let’s pray: Father God, I pray everyone feeling alone today finds a friend to ease the burdens and share the joys of life with. I thank you for your wisdom which leads us to reach out and invite people into our worlds so we can do this journey of life together. I thank you for every friend and confidant you’ve blessed me with. I thank you for every moment of laughter and joy and the times we’ve cried together and my heart was comforted in knowing it wasn’t alone. Father, surround us with your love. Give us eyes to see people around us in need of someone reaching out to them. In Jesus name, Amen

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