The past few months I have thought a lot about what the word "belonging" means.  And the word continues to show itself in new ways.  One way has been through our new chicken. Yes, a fluffy yellow chicken we named, Goldie.

This is Goldie's story:  She was raised with love from the time she was a wee chick by friends of ours.  Then our friends gave her to our other friends who had chickens. But there were raccoons getting into their coop and one by one, their sweet chickens were taken at night.  They decided it was better for their chickens to have other homes, so Goldie came to live with us.  Sadly, our friends ended up with all their chickens killed by raccoons, except for one, Goldie.

Goldie didn't' realize the trauma she left behind. All she knew was this:  she was not welcomed with open arms ( open wings) from the our chickens in her new home.  She was the one left out on the "chicken playground". The other chickens did not let her roost on the poles in the chicken coop at night so she had to sit in one of the nesting boxes.  Whenever special scraps were thrown to the chickens, all the other chickens grabbed the food from her.  She quietly walked around the little chicken playground while the other chickens snapped at her and then just ignored her.  

Goldie's story is about love and it's about belonging.

She is loved more than she realizes. She is part of our family now. The kids love to hold and cuddle her.

She belongs. But she doesn't know it... yet.

We are cheering for Goldie/ "underdog" chicken because why?  Because we have all felt left out at times and have felt like we don't belong.

There are times I feel like I don't belong.  Sometimes I feel like I don't fit into the "southern culture" or certain circles of people.  My family roots are from farmers and homesteaders of the midwest and before that, my family came from Denmark, England and Scotland. And maybe that is why I think I would feel more "at home" on a farm in Scotland. :)

My children are adopted from  Russia and China.  At times, they may feel like they don't belong.  People and classmates may say hurtful words. We have had many talks about belonging, about family. But I want so much for my kids to know they are loved, they are cherished,they belong.  

And when my youngest came home from school last week, I asked her how her day went. Her eyes filled up with tears and she told me she was "just sad" because she had no one to play with at recess and she just "wanders around". This made my mommy heart hurt.  There is no miracle salve to put on her heart and say, "Oh, here is some "happy salve", now you will feel better."   To feel like you don't belong, it hurts. To feel alone, it hurts. There is no gentle way around it.

And then there is middle school where my 13 year old walks those hallways of early teen land.  And I wonder throughout the day how he is doing. Does he feel like he belongs?

 So this word of belonging goes deep and carries weight.  Sometimes, we all feel like our chicken "Goldie".

I paint crowns on girls and write about belonging to our God, our King. Because that is where our hope is from.

God created us.  He created us to be in HIS family.  He created us to know him.

He created us to BELONG to him.

And that is where the gold is found.

We are created to belong to HIM.  To be his daughters and his sons and be in HIS family.

When we feel alone, when we feel like "Goldie" or when we feel like we don't belong in the city we live in,  or the neighborhood or the group or the job or on the playground, may we remember this:

"But we do belong, the Holy One has anointed us." I John 2

There is much power in those few words. I have it written on a sheet of paper and taped to my refrigerator and those words remind me daily of belonging.

May we see ourselves as daughters and sons of the King, fully awake and aware of God's power work in our lives.  

We are loved.

We do have hope.

We belong.

When our hearts and lives are given to Jesus, we are part of the real deal Holy family and there is a lot of power in that family and a lot of love, so let's embrace it.

May we walk on and shine on knowing we are not alone.

We truly belong.