I was something of a nomad growing up. From the fourth grade through the 10th, I was in six different schools, always learning the other kids' names.
Later, after I'd finished my education and was working, I found I was changing jobs often, never more than a few years in the same place. So I was perpetually the new kid on the block. While there were a few benefits from this lifestyle – there never was a group of people that remembered my mistakes, for one thing, and it was never boring – I was always starting out, always trying to find kindred spirits, always wanting to become an accepted member of some kind of group.
One constant thread that pulled things together was the love of God that my parents had given me. This love stayed with me and sustained me when I was on my own and gave me something to hang on to when everything else was in flux. Quite often, divine Love guided me to good fellowship, whether at church or in finding like-minded people at work.
Being convinced of God's supremacy and loving it helped me recognize the universal nature of God's family. We really are all the children of God, no matter what our background might be. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, recognized that seeing our unity with God would do much to stabilize our relationships. She wrote in her major work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "With one Father, even God, the whole family of man would be brethren …" (pp. 469-470).
Starting from this standpoint, we see that we always fit in God's family, whether we're new on the scene or long established. This has always been a great comfort to me.
In my grandfather's day, men expected to enter the workforce, find a job, and stay with it for decades. But as society has evolved, frequent work changes are now the norm. I've had several different career paths and have enjoyed them all. I've found that making God our first love can make those transitions easier, because it keeps our priorities straight. Putting God first also ensures that everything else will fall into place.
We were able to prove this when we faced yet another major move a few years ago. Our daughter came to us with a worried look on her face. "Will I have any friends there?" she asked. We talked about how God loved her and created her with many wonderful qualities that would make her accepted. These included her love for others, her wit and sense of humor, her intelligence.
We also reminded her that God made all the other kids in her class and that everyone was a brother or sister from this spiritual standpoint. In the new neighborhood at the beginning of the new school year, we made spiritual brotherhood an important topic at mealtimes.
Our daughter quickly found good friends and was consistently elected by her schoolmates to positions in student government, where one person observed that our daughter's outstanding quality was her inclusive outlook – a characteristic that made all appreciate her.
The Bible points us toward opening our hearts to others in Ephesians, where the writer tells us, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ … to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved" (1:3, 6).
In praying for myself and for my children as they move into new experiences, I love thinking of us all as "accepted in the beloved."
To me, this means that we are accepted wherever we are, because we're all the loved children of God and He is ever present. Understanding this melts away anxiety and nervousness through the warmth of God's love. God makes us accepted, lovable, and loving. As we acknowledge God's supremacy, and the ever-presence of the kingdom of heaven, we'll experience more of heaven in our relationships.