strangers –> 6 weeks –> family!

Being a part of the family of God never ceases to amaze me. I recently had the amazing privilege of traveling to Pennsylvania where I was reunited with two beautiful young women that I met in Vietnam over four years ago. The occasion for the visit was a wedding and I was to be a bridesmaid. Yes, that’s right. I met this girl over four years ago when we spent 6 life-changing weeks together on the other side of the world. We’d not met before then and hadn’t seen each other since. Those 6 weeks felt like a good year or so – partially because they were full of such rich experiences, partially because they were so draining emotionally, physically, and spiritually, partially because Sara (the girl who just got married) literally almost died, and partially because our lives were forever altered as we walked out of that country, time, and experience with an entirely new perspective on ourselves, our world, our culture, our purpose, and our God. (And that is a ridiculously long sentence filled with an un-called for number of comas…)

In my lifetime – thus far – I have traveled to 28 states and 6 countries. (In a few weeks I will enter my 29th state and 7th country. I‘m pretty excited – not really because of the increase of numbers but because of the experience and life-change I know it will bring.) Throughout my travels, I am repeatedly amazed by the instant bond I find with brothers and sisters in Christ as I’m welcomed into homes of complete strangers and recognized immediately as family. Instantly, we are able to share the deepest part of ourselves with one another as we live for and praise the God who made us and saved us.

Is it possible to spend six weeks with a person and then continue a close and deeply rooted relationship with thousands of miles spanning between you? Many would say no, but I say yes because I have seen what God can do when we put ourselves out there – real, honest, and vulnerable.  I’ve seen that strangers can become forever family in just six weeks.

Thank you God…
… for gaps of culture.
… for teaching us about you through the differences we find in one another.
… for making me your child.
… for making me a part of this world-wide family of believers.
… for friends in far away places.
… for friends you have brought near.
… for the technology that gives us the ability to communicate over distance.
… for real, honest, vulnerable people who have taught me to be as they are and shown me the depth of love that can grow between us when we live our lives in such a manner.


Me, Sara, and Abby – Happy Wedding Day Sara!  Thanks for getting married so we could be together again after 4 years.  (Okay, maybe that’s not WHY you got married… )


One thought on “strangers –> 6 weeks –> family!

  1. Shanda,

    Thanks for your recent comments on the blog. I have stopped by and read yours, however, not good at commenting.

    I will share a that I agree with your view on attributes. I often say, that our vulnerability and transparency are a gage of Christ likeness. In a world that teaches to build walls and creates illusions, Jesus is the real deal :)


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