When Family Feels Different

We were brought together nine months ago, a group of strangers who were chosen to “do life differently” together for a period of time. The challenge–to become comfortable with sharing honestly and authentically with each other in a short period of time, to allow each other into our stories, and to listen with genuine curiosity to what others had to say without always thinking of how to respond with what we wanted to say.

At first, it felt hard. We came from all over the map, with different perspectives and experiences. Our hearts were open to trying, but journeying with those we don’t fully know can feel daunting.

As the year has progressed, we’ve been privileged to hear the powerful yet heavy stories each has experienced. Compassion came from shared pain and intentional tenderness.

We’ve become family.

Not a family anyone would have chosen almost a year ago. But we’ve grown close in our messiness, in seeing each other with a lens of grace rather than judgment.

Isn’t that what family does?

We spent a fun evening together, taking a scenic boat cruise on a chain of lakes near where we live. Skipper Mickey provided the laughs with stories of his own childhood and true stories of those who have lived around the lake. We ended the evening at an authentic Chinese restaurant. The food was amazing, and the time together was incredible.

Family laughter and stories.

From the beginning, God made us to live in connection with one another. Families are important and essential, but often people we least expect come into our lives and add rhythms of care and compassion that become wonderfully integrated with our lives.

It all comes down to love. The substance of all wonderful relationships is love.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, nevr loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Families connected by blood and by heart need the foundation of love to stay connected.

Only God can give us the wisdom, power, and courage to love others in ways we can’t on our own.

Our little group has become family. We’ll move on at the end of this year, but we’ve indelibly written our stories on each other’s hearts. We’ve received these stories with grace.

That’s what family is about.

9 responses to “When Family Feels Different”

  1. Love this one. Everyone longs for connection–to belong–and you show us through your story, how that can happen. Thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your continued kindness, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like a wonderful experiment that should happen all across a country. Kudos to whomever organized this.

    P.S. Just wanted to let you know, Thomas came back to himself Friday. He was badly shaken by the whole thing. I still thinks the meds and anesthesia are to blame. But, whatever, thank YOU for all your prayers. I pray for you and give thanks for people like you in the world. xxellen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. El, it’s a privilege to pray for you and Tom. To watch God work through friends all over the world, for making friends all over the world–I’m so glad he’s back!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Dayle. Please feel free to contact me for extra prayers if needed anytime. I do pray for you anyhow. Thank you, again!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Dayle,

    I’m intrigued by how you and this group walked through these nine months to deeper levels of authenticity. Could you give me more information? We would like ways to bring our own small group to greater transparency, curiosity of other’s stories, and practicing deeper listening. I appreciate any guidance you might have…❤️ Thanks, Dayle!




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    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, my friend, we spend a lot of time on story work, helping people identify where they’ve been, where they are, and dream of where they’re going. I can send you some ideas and whatnot if you let me know where to send them to. Thanks for asking!


  4. Alice Fredricks Avatar
    Alice Fredricks

    Dayle, I so fondly remember those experiences when we were a part of the “special family”!! Life changing!God bless you as you continue to be a part!!
    Love and miss you!


    1. Oh, Ali, how I miss you and Gar being here and being part of each new family–you became our forever family, for which I’m so grateful. Love you, my friend.


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