Be-Long in All Seasons
The word ‘belong’ is a verb; it is an action, state or occurrence of being a member. The moment we stop this action, we become distant. It is hard to keep up with this action; constantly and actively being a member of a group or something. In the midst of different stages of our lives, we find ourselves naturally seeking to belong and be a part of something. When we encounter a variety of changes and seasons of our lives, we can fall out of feeling or being belonging. Even so, by the grace of God, we belong to Him, through Christ Jesus.
One of the first stages I encountered in feeling a sense of belonging was in middle school. I wanted to fit in and be a part of a group. While doing that, I was figuring out who I was. It felt empty at the end of the day and not content. I knew deep inside what I was doing was not right and I knew there was more than just chasing materialistic things. By the grace of God, He met me where I was and I dedicated my life to Him. I started to live a life for the Lord and served Him through the church. I belong to Him, through Christ Jesus.
Upon the next chapter of life, college was a little difficult but God is good! Because of the difficulties, I ended up coming back home after a year. While many of my friends were away, coming back home was unfamiliar. The group whom I grew up with was not present. I didn’t know how I could be a part of the church or where I could best fit in the church. I was also disappointed in myself for not being able to finish school the way my parents wanted. I attended church for a year, but I was not in true fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ. By the grace of God, I was deeply convicted. I was reminded of Christ’s death on the cross and His love for me; it led me to surrender to Him. I belong to Him, through Christ Jesus.
Throughout the different stages of change in my life, I naturally feel like I needed to belong or be a part of something. Maybe even get approval or validation from others in accepting my changes. But God by his grace validated us.
As a chapter closes, a new chapter begins; I got married! But as a young woman entering marriage, it was hard to navigate where we belong in the church. Too young to be a niamtsev, and too old to be with the young ones. In fact, my husband and I were the only young couple present. I didn’t know how I could be a part of a new church; let alone navigating how I could also be a part of my new family. But God, by His grace, compelled us to serve with the opportunity of partnering with my father in law who took charge of a church plant in northern California. We belong to Him, through Christ Jesus.
A year and a half passed by, and my husband and I relocated due to schooling. After I had finished school, we were given the opportunity to serve as a youth pastor in Sacramento. When we came to the church, it was quite an adjustment for us. I came from a big church, then to a small church plant community, and now to a midsize church. The transition was challenging too because we had actually stopped attending church for a year before coming to Sacramento due to schooling. Coming back to the church, we needed time to acclimate, and build relationships in the church. But God, by His grace, we felt at peace through the love of the church (the body of Christ). We belong to Him, through Christ Jesus.
Throughout the different stages of change in my life, I naturally feel like I needed to belong or be a part of something. Maybe even get approval or validation from others in accepting my changes. But God by his grace validated us. He sent Jesus Christ, His son, to die for us. When He did this, He demonstrated His love for us. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, which if we believe in him and profess that he is Lord, we get to be a part of His family; children of God. We belong to Him, through Christ Jesus.
Again, the word belong is a verb; it is an action. We start to feel like we don’t belong when we stop the occurrence of being a member of Christ. Truth is, as we experience changes in our lives we come to a pause. Because the word belong is an action, while we pause, others are moving forward. Even if we have some pauses or changes in our lives, we need to be fervent to belong. In Galatians 5:24 it says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passion and desires.” During the changes in my life, I find that I can truly belong to Him when I give Him everything. We need to ‘be - long’: existing actively over a long period of time to Christ in all seasons of life. This can only be done when we actively live to truly believe in the good Lord, Jesus who is our Savior, our Redeemer, the One who calls us to be His. We belong to Him, through Christ Jesus.
Karen Xiong (N. Xh. Ntshaus Xyooj)
Karen Xiong (Nxh. Ntshaus Xyooj) is from Stockton, California. She is the 8th child out of 11 siblings. She has been married to Chao Xiong for 6 years. She and her husband are currently serving at Hmong Family Community Alliance Church in Sacramento, California as the youth Pastor. Karen enjoys leading worship, playing sports, and serving others. One of her passions is working with kids and teaching. During her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her nieces and nephews, cooking, biking, relaxing, and traveling or road trips. A life verse she clings to is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.”