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If you are blessed, like me, to be a parent of multiple children, then you know just how different each one of your children can be.  I am a mother of two boys and a girl.  I happen to be the mother of a child who loves everybody, a child who wants to boss everybody and a ballerina.  My oldest son Jacob, who loves everybody, recently, showed me what complete joy looks like.

I truly believe that every one of us has a deep desire to belong.  I also believe we were designed that way purposefully.  This desire is easier to see in some but it is still part of what makes us human. Jacob's desire has always been unashamedly obvious.

As a preschooler he would always approach other children to play.  If some other child wanted to join in a game he always welcomed an additional set of hands and legs to help build the fort or help chase down the bad guys.  This desire to include everyone became a bit draining  every year when we would try to make the birthday party invitation list...Even when we would threaten," no sleepover if you choose to invite so many", Jake always pushed for the option that allowed the most of his buddies to come.  Have you ever found yourself saying "16 boys invited for a sleepover is ok because only about half will actually be able to make it" and then spent the next two weeks praying for an outbreak of strep at school?  

Not all kids have the desire to include everyone.  Jacob, as many kids do, has experienced his share of exclusion.  It is a painful thing to watch and an even harder, to not intervene as a parent when your child is excluded.  But the exclusions have never tempered his desire to include.

Jacob is 12 years old as I write this today and plays little league baseball.  He is not the fastest.  He is not the most agile and he spends a fair share of his time on the bench and or in the outfield. But he is part of a team and he loves it!  A couple of weeks ago on an ordinary Tuesday night at the ballpark, an extraordinary thing happened.

Jacob hit a homerun.  Not your ordinary run of the mill homerun, a GRAND SLAM.  For those of you who don't know, that is a bases loaded homerun!  And somewhere in between my screams(and I do mean screams) of encouragement and realizing I may pee my pants if I don't stop jumping up and down...I locked in on my child's face as he rounded third base.  This is what I saw...

Joy...pure joy.  The kind of joy that starts at your toes and travels up your backside to the back of your neck, and up over the top of your head and like a wave crashes over your face. Joy, that if only for a moment, seems to make you float.  Joy, that has no boundaries or disclaimers.  Complete joy.  Joy from a 12 year old boy, with the drop of his chin, and  

a curl of his tongue into the side of his mouth, that says awe shucks, as he sees every one of his teammates jumping up and down on home plate waiting for him... he belongs.  

It wasn't so much the grand slam or the three run home run he hit later in the same game (ahem.. sorry just a proud mom) it was all of his teammates cheering and waiting to meet him at the plate. It is my favorite part of any homerun he has hit so far, when he rounds third base and looks towards home plate.

I believe that our God given desire to belong is what churns inside of all of us and that God uses that so that we will search Him out...that we will have the desire to know and to be fully known...and that when we have success in our lives I believe that the joy that God feels for every one of us looks a little like the joy on Jacobs face.  I want that joy.  I want to live my life in such a way that when I round third base and head home  God will be standing, maybe even jumping up and down waiting for me and I will know I belong.

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