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“Thank you so much bro… you saved my life….”

I watched them hug from behind, tears in our new friend’s eyes.

Sometimes healing is brilliant, immediate, exploding like a thunderclap.

Other times it comes like a gentle river: slow, peaceful, and steady.

Then there’s times it’s a grueling struggle. Belly down in the mud, crawling, fighting to stay afloat, desperately straining with every inch of your being to keep steady, keep on.

It’s during these times we need family. What a privilege it is to be in the far-reaching arms of the kinship of Jesus. Wherever we are – regardless of what we enjoyed or suffered with our earthly family – we can be surrounded by a spiritual family anywhere in the world. A family which transcends race, country, time zones.

We’ve had the joy of expanding our family as we travel. In the last few weeks we’ve embraced dozens of new family members in the city of Chicago. French, Italian, Aramaic; business men, crossing guards, restauranteurs, pharmacists, retirees, recovering addicts; evangelists, pastors, lovers of God. Family.

Family looks like…

The sharing of delicious, abundant meals.

The sharing of laughs, stories, and cultures.

The sharing of tears, sobs, prayers.

The sharing of the unforgiving battle, arms linked, standing against the growing darkness. Standing against bondage, fear, brokenness, drugs, mental illness, apathetic emptiness.

Dear friend, always remember we need you. You need us. Together we win. Together Jesus wins.

Our family is far from perfect, nor should it ever claim to be. People get hurt. People hurt. But keep trusting, keep loving with generosity.

“Thank you so much bro…”

Thankful. Thankful for the hours of prayer, at first unwanted. Thankful for the words of truth, at first unheard. Thankful for seeds of hope, at first unreceived. Thankful for love in the face of accusation and mistrust. Thankful that someone could see the person past the snares, beyond the brokenness.

“You saved my life…”

We are the arms, the voice, the face of Jesus. He saves. It’s what He does. He’s the source of a beautiful epidemic – an increasingly contagious outbreak which leaves beauty for ashes, joy for sadness, comfort for the broken hearted, freedom for prisoners.

We are mothers. Daughters. Sisters. Brothers. Let’s open our arms and pull the broken, hurting world in. Even when they curse us. Even when they ridicule us. Even when they return broken, penniless, ravaged by life and their own foolish choices.

Let us be yielded to the process of healing, even if we would do it differently. Let us be willing accomplices to the One Who Saves 😉