Have you ever shown up someplace new and felt completely out of place? Like there wasn't room for you - your mess, your dreams, perhaps even your existence?
Much of my life, I've felt like a burden. This invasive lie tells me I'm somehow in the way and has held me back from being bold and strong in so many circumstances. I grieve over the years I've lost in striving to people-please.
And, I grieve over the people I've also overlooked.
As young newlyweds who dreamed of a large family, Steve and I envisioned our home as a place where there's always room for one more. One more child. One more neighbor. One more friend. One more stranger.
This vision has taken many shapes as we've navigated our own losses, grief, and limitations in having more children. We've fostered. We've adopted. We've hosted small groups. We've had friends, family, and neighbors join us over dinner. And still, we dream of more.
Colossians 3:13-14 says, "Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony."
This isn't easy and I fail daily. But I keep asking - how can I make room for other people to be imperfect and messy? Are my expectations limiting the space I create in my life for others?
We also live in a culture where individual pursuits reign supreme - where it's all about me. How can I make room for those around me to express their dreams? How can I champion them, support them, encourage them in reaching towards their dream, even at the risk of my discomfort?
And, how can I make room for other people to simply exist? It's so easy to focus on productivity and getting things done. Am I a safe place for others to simply be? To be themselves? To set aside any need to do or prove their productivity?
Is there room in my heart for one more? Is there room in yours?