My favorite part of a holiday is getting together with family for a holiday meal. Whether for Thanksgiving or Christmas, it’s been a family tradition to gather for a big meal. Now that our families are growing with spouses and in-laws, the table only gets bigger and the time spent is even sweeter.
One of the things I’m most thankful for is the support system I have — the people I can be real with. Surrounding each one of us are expectations placed on us by others, ways we should feel, things we should do, and appearances we should make, but the ones who you can just be yourself with, those are the ones that count. My husband, my family, my church and my community have been incredible.
The whole process of participating in the Olympic tryouts in early October should have seemed like a very exciting time, one I would be extremely grateful for. And while I am so thankful for the opportunity, honestly, it was a time that was completely overwhelming. I needed people close to me who I could talk to, who would help me sort it all out. I didn’t know what the end result would be, and I didn’t know how I would take it if I didn’t make the team.
With all the anxiety and nervousness that led up to those four days, I was so grateful for the core people God had placed around me. Whether they were people I had known forever, or those who God has only recently placed in my life, I was reminded how vital great community is.
I wasn’t always so bent on community; I used to think of myself as pretty independent. When we moved to San Diego (where we only spend the offseason), we started going to a small church in the area. Though we are only there a few months out of the year, the church body could tell we desired to serve and invest our lives in the community, so they — many of whom are in the next life stage ahead of us — welcomed us in and started doing life with us immediately.
Wherever you are, for however long you are there, find people who are going to show up for you in the good seasons and the hard ones. They don’t want anything from you, they only want to share the love of Jesus with you, and you with them. It’s an amazing thing to look back and see the people God has placed in my life throughout all the different seasons.
Have a heart for God, seek to serve Him first, and ask Him to bring others into your life who have the same mission in mind. God will bring the right people in your path at the right time. Just be willing and ready to love whenever, wherever, whoever.
— Janie Reed, USA Softball player
Janie Reed is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions. Check out Janie’s Increase profile here: https://theincrease.com/author/janie-reed/
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