It’s almost April, which means that spring is in full swing. Well, that’s if you live somewhere that enjoys approximately three months of spring. But in Alaska, we don’t really have spring – we have breakup.
It’s a simultaneously disgusting and glorious season in which the truly colossal amount of snow we have received over the past nine months melts and is absorbed back into the ground. Naturally, the snow melts into the dirt which makes it muddy everywhere (disgusting), but we’re all so thankful that it’s no longer in the negatives that we couldn’t care less (glorious). With breakup comes indescribable joy and a giddy optimism for the summer that is soon to come.
This is the time of year that many Alaskans start planning their summers. We have to plan them, you see, because otherwise they flash by faster than a greased sled down the giant hill at Loretta French Park. We’ve all had that summer, though, that we dropped the ball. We didn’t make the plans and soon the fireweed was burning down and it was another rainy August. There’s no feeling worse than realizing you missed your summer due to a lack of intentionality.
I may talk about intentionality a lot over here, friends, because it is something that is so important to living a rich life with your sisters. Intentionality is doing everything you can to avoid the phrase “we should get together sometime” (ew) and instead saying things like, “I’m free next Thursday, would you like to go to Target together?” Or “I’ll be at Jitters with my kids after gymnastics on Tuesday evening, you should come join us.” Or “Can I pick you up for church Sunday morning at 11am?” We all know those girls who only ever say the former, but they really have no intention of ever hanging out with you. I’ve been on the receiving end of that sentiment, and maybe you have too. It’s no fun.
But have you ever been on the receiving end of an actual invitation to a time and place hang out with your sisters in Christ? Whether it’s something casual like a coffee shop meet up or a hike, or more planned like a play date or girl’s night, being invited is the way to a girl’s heart (along with chocolate and wine, of course).
One of the things that I’m sure drew people to Jesus was that he was always inviting people to be in his crew. Jesus wasn’t about exclusivity. He said “let the little children come to me,” along with the outcasts of society, like the ceremonially unclean, the sick, the traitors, the radicals, the kids, the foreigners… He invited them all. That doesn’t mean that Jesus was best friends with everyone – Jesus didn’t have the capacity for that, and we certainly don’t either. But when the time and place arose, Jesus invited with intentionality and purpose. And people responded.
As you’re starting to think about your summer hopes and dreams, I pray you’ll think about how you can invite your sisters into your life this summer with intentionality. It doesn’t have to be all the time; quality really does trump quantity in this regard, in my opinion, and you won’t be able to bring everyone in to everything. Just start with the one. Or in this case, three. Here’s three people I hope you will try to integrate into your summer plans with intentionality:
Your little sister
I’m not talking about your literal younger sister, but rather the women who are following behind you. If you’re in your 20s, maybe that’s a teenager you know looks up to you. If you’re a mom to elementary kids, maybe that’s a new mom. If you’re married, maybe that’s a younger woman who’s in a long-term relationship. If your kids have moved out, maybe that’s a mom parenting teenagers. That little sister who’s a step behind you in life, she wants to tag along and see how you do it. Let her learn from you, not by teaching her per se, but just by inviting her to live life alongside you.
Your sister on the fringe
Have you ever been the one on the outside of the group? I have. It’s a precarious position. In, but not completely. Wanted sometimes, but often forgotten. No one wants to live there. We long to be in a family, secure in our position as loved and included and wanted. I challenge you to pray and ask God who he wants you to bring securely into the fold this summer. Who is the girl who has shown up a few times but doesn’t seem to feel like she truly belongs? Who gets often left out of the group or forgotten when you text about a girl’s night? Invite that sister in. Don’t do it out of guilt or shame, just consider this an invitation to bless her with the gift of being invited in. When you’re on the outside, that really does feel like a gift.
Your sister who isn’t sure about Jesus
The third person I hope you’ll think about this summer as you make your plans to love your sisters well through intentional community invitations is your friend who either isn’t sure about Jesus yet, doesn’t know him at all, or is in a “it’s complicated” relationship with him at the moment. I am the first to admit that I am so guilty of holing up with my best Jesus girls and forgetting to reach out to and love on the friend who isn’t sure about him yet. Invite her to hang out with your sisters in Christ. Show her what the family of God looks like and do your best to love her well. Even if she still isn’t sure about Jesus at the end of the summer, you will have loved her well, and that is what Jesus asks of us.
I hope you have your three sisters in mind. If you’re not sure, ask the Lord to point that person out to you. I think he will. I’d love to hear in the comments who you’re thinking of and if you have an idea of how to invite them in this summer. Your idea might help another sister out as she seeks to be intentional with loving her sisters well.
Love ya, friends.
Your Sister, Kimber
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