Friday, April 8, 2011

Building Upon a Solid Foundation

written by Stephie Goldfish

Here is the church, here is the steeple, open the doors and see all the people.

As children, our Aunt Velva taught us all how to make a church out of our hands. We'd clasp our hands together, then pull up our two pointer fingers to make the steeple, open our thumbs as if opening church doors, and then, while hands still clasped, twist them up and move all our fingers to reveal “all the people”.

This lesson is simple: God’s fellow workers, his people, are his temple.

Although the place of worship I attended growing up was not called “church”, but called Kingdom Halls, I knew that it wasn’t the actual building or actual place that gave me a sense of place or belonging, it was the friends or people.

Because of moving so many times in our young childhood and adulthood, having a place to call home or being attached to one specific place, seemed odd. My twin sister and I attended sixteen different schools from first grade through twelfth grade. We each of course had a built-in best friend, so adjusting made it easier for us.

The main reason for our adjusting, though, was that we were taught about God and his loving ways from the time we were babies.

This education about God and his righteous principles was the only constant we had in our lives. We learned how to pray from an early age, read the bible, and give demonstrations from the bible, and tell others in the ministry about our faith. Most everywhere we moved, when we were older, our mom asked those who shared full-time in the ministry to study the Bible with us, and we developed very close relationships with these different ones.

When we were little, my sister and I got into fights, as siblings do, but our mom, instead of punishing us, she, instead, made each of us read a story from a book about the life and ministry of Jesus, and we’d read the corresponding scriptures from our own personal copy of the Bible. After we’d both finish, mom would have each of us tell the other what we learned, and then we hugged and made up.

We grew up without a father, and sometimes we’d cry and say we wished we could have a dad. Our mom instilled in us a deep love for God helping us to see that He is our heavenly father.

However, not always having a consistent place to rest our head, sometimes was wearisome. Sometimes we stayed with our grandmother in her small one bedroom apartment, and although she loved us very much and we loved her, it was hard to be all over the place at times throughout our lives.

And when we moved we couldn’t always take all of our belongings, so we never grew attachment to things.

I think also we grew accustomed to saying goodbye to others knowing that we may not ever see them again. We grieved in our own way, because sometimes we never even had a chance to say goodbye.

Although, I don’t have a physical family of my own with children, I am learning to love what I do have, and not focus on what I don’t have, and focus on now and tomorrow.

I have recently, through Facebook, been in contact with some of my relatives whom I have not seen in such a long time. This has brought a sense of belongingness, rootedness, knowing that those who’ve known me as a babe still care about my well being, as I do theirs.

I am learning to be grateful for the advantages I did have growing up. It was adventurous sometimes. It made me less scared of new things, places, and people. We experienced so many things that it made us more open and understanding.

Someone once told me and my sister that we’d be good missionaries, because of all the places we traveled and the people we met, and because of being adaptable to various circumstances.

So, I think that what keeps someone who has lived and grown up in one “place” having a sense of rootedness and belongingness, would be the same for those who have lived in multiple places. It requires building a spiritual foundation, relying on our heavenly father for strength and guidance, becoming familiar with comforting Bible passages. Learning its truths and principles are important, because God’s laws and principles are universal, and will guide us through the most difficult times of our lives when the storms of life hit us.

This post was prompted by a question my friend
Jennifer asked me after I commented on her story There's No Place Like Home over at The High Calling.

What about you? If you or someone you know is in a similar position, what do you feel works to create a sense of "place" and "belonging," even while on the move?


  1. Stephie,

    I'm so glad you posted this. I hope that it was good for your soul to remember and reflect. I actually came over a couple days ago and read this, but didn't get a chance to comment. So I've come over tonight to tell you how much I appreciated this. I was so struck by that image of you without a dad, and your mom encouraging you to see God as your Father.

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story.

  2. Jennifer,

    Thank you for taking the time to read this post and to comment. I appreciate your encouragement here and in your stories you write. May God continue to bless you and your family.