19 Jul 2013

Five Minute Friday: Belong

We write so we can understand what we lived today.–> Click to tweet.

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I lived some kind of wonder today. I couldn’t put it into words. So I invited a friend, and a word sister if maybe she would.

This is my first guest host for Five Minute Friday. My favorite hog farmer’s wife, my room mate in Guatemala when we blogged for Compassion International, my house guest who slept on my sofa, my favorite stay-up-all-night-talking sister.

Won’t you all leave a big and beautiful welcome to our dear friend Ann Voskamp in the comments today?

After a nearly 20 year love affair with America I became one of her citizens today. It was a beauty, standing in a sea of immigrants all seeking home here on America’s shores. I cried, I hugged the moment tight to my chest and then we came home and threw open our front doors to everyone we’ve known the last five years. I’m left speechless.

Thank you Ann for putting words to what it means to Belong.

On Fridays hundreds of writers gather here to put words to their days. You’re welcome to join from your blog, your pen and paper, your thoughts left below in the comments. As long as you write. From anywhere – your desk, your phone in the car pool line, your rocking chair with the baby in your arm and you typing on your computer.

How to Join:

Want to know how Five Minute Friday got started and how to participate? All the details are here.

Featured Five Minute Friday:

And every week I’ll pick a post that caught my eye and share it down there in my side bar – see where it says “Featured Five Minute Friday”? Yea -that could be you! Hop on over and visit some folk who make fireworks in just five minutes. They inspire me.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on the word:::


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She had never felt like she had really belonged anywhere.  

Crazy, how the sharpness of that pang could hit her in the express checkout at the grocery store, standing behind that lady smacking her gum real loud. Or sitting there at the hair salon, looking into the mirror at all the other women looking into mirrors. Or in the shadows at the kitchen sink, after she turned off the last screen, and stood there wondering who she was and if she ever would find her real self.

Or maybe, really, it wasn’t so much that she didn’t feel like she belonged anywhere — but  that she had never felt like she really belonged to anyone. That anyone longed to be with her.

That was it :  That for all her yearning to belong — what she wanted was someone to long to be with her. 

That was what the ache of all her life had been for.

Sure, she had got on a million planes, wrestled with stuffing bags into a thousand overhead compartments — but when had she realized that you are never really travelling unless you have a home? If it wasn’t for a place, a people, a Person, to return to, all roads are but a lost wandering.

If she could only return, from Bill’s Corner Store, from Mainly You Hair Salon, from the the cyberscreens, from across the ocean, to someone who longed to be with her — she belonged.

Why in the world was it that she caught her reflection in the smudged window over the sink that evening, right then, and the realization of it caught her in the moment and returned her — that wherever she was, however she was, SomeOne did always long to be with her.  Belonging wasn’t about some club, or cool clique, or country — belonging was about Christ. Who never stopped longing to be with her, who said she always belonged because she was always His beloved. 

No matter how many days she felt lost in her  own skin, no matter how she struggled for breath in her lungs that didn’t hurt, that didn’t make her ache, no matter how she kept looking for a home and a place of her own and to be known and roots that would never let her go —  there was always One who longed to be with her — so she belonged.  

Crazy — a holy epiphany over a sink of dirty dishes and tomato sauce smeared across the counter, her reflection there in the window.

You never belong until you believe you do.       

And it’s only when you believe you belong, that you believe you are beautiful.  

And she stood there looking at her reflection in the window, His presence all around her —

and all the beautiful unfurling on the inside of her like tendrils of roots wrapping round everything and being held.


{If you’re reading in an email, just click here to come over and play along; bottom photo with grateful thanks to Jessica Turner.}


{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    “You never belong until you believe you do” – and I never really believed until He came into it all – and then I saw how I did! Thank you, Ann – Congratulations Lisa-Jo!

  2. 2

    Oh my stars what a way to end my Thursday night after a crazy, crazy week. Thank you sweet Ann for these words… “And it’s only when you believe you belong, that you believe you are beautiful.” Like an arrow shot straight and true into my waiting heart… you bless friend… :)

  3. 3

    Oh Ann, what a beautiful surprise to SEE you at #fmfparty…imagining you sitting in your car in that lane way because of the love you have for your #jonathanfriend and for all of us. We love LisaJo so much and can’t thank her enough for creating such a welcoming community for us to gather and write here. Thank you for hopping over and joining us all…reminding us that no matter how we feel, we always always belong, because we are His. He has rescued us from darkness and brought us into the light of His beloved Son…we are redeemed and forgiven…and we ALWAYS belong. I love you so. And the beauty of ya’ll friendship is just as He intended friendship to be. xoxo

    • 4

      Girlfriends, late nights, laptops, shared words, this amazing feast. Love you Jacque for all you bring to this amazing table!

  4. 5

    “You never belong until you believe you do.” That’s what I need to hear when I feel so left out of belonging to a certain group….thank you Ann!

  5. 6

    What a wonderful epiphany to have, Ann, that there is One who always longs to be with you…beautiful…Thank you, Ann. And Lisa-Jo, Congratulations :) You both bless me, and so many others.

  6. 7

    Beautiful words as always, Ann! Thanks so much for joining the #FMFparty tonight. It was great fun to have you there. Congrats, Lisa-Jo! So glad to have you as an American!!

  7. 8

    Thank you for joining #fmfparty tonight, Ann! Your words soothe my soul as I give thanks for belonging to body of Christ and how it is displayed in my online communities as well as my local church family! It was a delight to have you… and thank you for making the trip to town to connect with us! :)

    and welcome to the USA, Lisa-Jo! We are delighted to have you!!

  8. 9

    Wow. I am just left speechless of this contribution. Applause for your friend’s post!

  9. 11

    Congratulations, Lisa-Jo (and thank you, Ann).
    Thank you for this safe, encouraging place to write and thank you for sharing your friends.
    I also appreciated your travel post on Simple Mom, but didn’t take the time to comment there. We just returned from your neck of the woods. Four days in Glen Allen and two in D.C., plus two days of driving on either side.


  10. 12

    Congrats Lisa Jo! I loved seeing your pix on Instagram today… reminded me to pray for you and to thank God for you and I loved what someone said earlier in the day – somewhere else… Twitter, maybe? – in referring to how we already claimed you as our own… but now you are official!

    And oh my… Ann – every time I read your words, they bless me so. The only thing that keeps me from feeling like I missed out on the #fmfparty tonight is knowing that I was right there – where I belonged… (for one rare Thurs eve – NOT sitting at my computer screen!)

    Bless you both… for you both have a gift that makes each of us feel as though we belong!

  11. 13

    Congratulations Lisa-Jo! So excited for you!!! And a big thank you to Ann for being here with us. FMF has been my second family for the past couple months, and I am forever grateful to LJ for giving us all a space where we come together and form such lasting and loving friendships. Ann’s words are so powerful tonight… and I’m so worn out and tired, I can’t even put into words… I just can’t. Thanks for another lovely week, ladies!

    • 14

      You and me both, Vanessa. Tired and full and without words and just leaning into Ann’s tonight.

  12. 15

    In believing we belong our hearts become fields of wild flowers that bring life and beauty to others as they claim the same promises. We belong. Thank you for your tender words and out stretched arms that beckon so many to be sure of this: belonging is powerfully healing and hope-filled.

    Thank you, Lisa-Jo.
    Thank you, Ann.
    Thank you friends.


    • 16
      Lisa-Jo says:

      You are the loveliest new friend I made this year. #TrueStory

      • 17

        LJ, this #hipster space where our shoes are miles apart but friendship gets us to the same respite and hallway of the heart, this is a grand gift of this year indeed! #truestory

  13. 18

    I love it! I’m so glad I got to join in the party tonight. I love how it grows each week and changes and yet there are always familiar faces and new ones to welcome. I know I’ve said it before, but this is the community that made me believe blogging and writing was really something God breathed and worthwhile, no matter how fast the words fly, or how slow. No matter how articulate posts are week to week, no matter how profound, we each truly belong. It’s a beautiful thing, girl. I see the friendship between you and Ann and some of the other writers over at (in)courage (and lets be honest, I drool over the beachhouse) and I think that’s just how I feel about some of my #fmfparty sisters. They have my back and I have theirs and we’re truly blessed! Thank you for helping to make that happen for women.

    • 19
      Lisa-Jo says:

      I watch and listen in awe at this online beach house of sisters and words you all have built at #FMFParty Alia. Because it isn’t mine. I’m just the wonderstruck observer and I learn from you and am warmed by you and love watching you all love each other. We make each other all better, don’t we? It’s a beauty. Thank you for being such a voice for such a time and unique space as this.

  14. 20

    Oh dear Ann, thank you. I love your twist of this word, belong. This simple word that carries so much depth to it, it leaves us speechless sometimes. Oh how He longs to be with us – this blessed mystery – what a treasure. THANK YOU for sharing. Love, love.

  15. 21

    And…while I’m here in the middle of the stinking night when I should be packing for our family reunion tomorrow, but instead, HAD. TO. release my five-minute Friday after the day I had…I wanted to thank you Lisa Jo. Thank you for creating a community that I can’t wait to be a part of each week. May He get all the glory. Love, love.

  16. 22

    Thank you Ann! As always your word touch my heart and remind me that there is SOMEONE to who I belong forever and ever. 45 years ago tonight my dad died. I was 17. I belonged to him. I was and am his daughter, his little girl. I have never quite felt like I belonged the same way since then. I am grateful that I know I am part of the family of Christ and belong to Him no matter what. I am also blessed with the love of a wonderful man who has made me feel like I am longed for. I only hope I can help others feel they are loved and belong to this big sisterhood and family of God.

  17. 23

    Congratulations Lisa-Jo! And Ann, these words touch me deeply, “You never belong until you believe you do. And it’s only when you believe you belong, that you believe you are beautiful.” To fully belong, one must believe. Oh that God would give me the strength to believe this all the time, day in and day out. What a lovely surprise to “see” you here!

  18. 24

    Hello Lisa-Jo, hello Ann;
    YES – I have lived this.
    Ann, I am the Rebecca in Tassie; paper on the wall ‘joy on display for all to see’ Rebecca.
    THANK YOU for remembering, thank you for your prayers and for your love – I wanted to let you know that our Father has answered those prayers beyond what I could ever imagine …. So thankful for what He has done, so thankful for what He has brought us through. The storm was oh so worth it – the storm just makes Him look OH SO BEAUTIFUL.
    So thankful for this wonderful body of sisters who pray and encourage and come alongside to cheer each other on as we live life where He has planted us; complete and accepted in Jesus.

  19. 25

    Always a blessing to read Ann’s words–always. And I am so blessed by this amazing community. Lisa-Jo–congrats my friend! What a summer, a new home, and a new HOME here in the USA. It’s awesome watching God work in your life. You belong here, and you’ve helped so many of us to see that we do too. XO

  20. 26

    Ann and Lisa Jo-
    A winning sweetness of Word weavers. I loved this: “no matter how she kept looking for a home and a place of her own and to be known and roots that would never let her go”. We have moved a lot…within the USA, but I know how hard as women we strive to belong, and yet we find the greatest comfort in our Father’s arms. He gives us roots and wings to fly and soar through the days with strength and courage.

  21. 27

    Happy Happy Day, Lisa-Jo! Welcome to the family! So thankful for you and the way you serve all of us mamas! You inspire me to do better, to love well, and to extend grace to ME! Much love to you lady!

  22. 28

    “Belong” is a great word for you today, Lisa Jo. Congratulations!
    And thanks, Ann, for these beautiful words, as usual.

  23. 29
    Karen d. says:

    Congratulations, Lisa Jo!!
    Beautiful, Ann!

  24. 30

    First of all, congratulations Lisa-Jo! And how I love Ann’s unique way of expressing herself. She has such a way with words that it causes me to pause and really ponder each message she writes. I’ve been counting my every day blessings for some time now and I thank Ann for that new habit.

  25. 31
    Charity says:

    I was standing next to a kitchen sink full of dirty dishes while reading this. Beautiful. Thanks Ann. And CONGRATS Lisa!

  26. 32

    “there was always One who longed to be with her — so she belonged.” Oh, it’s just beautiful, Ann.

  27. 33

    Beautiful as always, Ann!

  28. 34

    Thank you so much — you both bless me so much with your writing! I look forward to it !

  29. 35

    “You never belong until you believe you do.
    And it’s only when you believe you belong, that you believe you are beautiful.”

    Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!

  30. 36

    Hi Ann,
    “You never belong until you believe you do.
    And it’s only when you believe you belong, that you believe you are beautiful’
    Your words nailed Lisa-Jo’s prompt square on the head. a beautiful description of a journey to find where we belong. Our need to belong is strong and I greatly appreciate that I belong to God as well as friends and family. Now, I just have to find a place to belong in…that might take a few more years.

  31. 37

    Ann-The orange exploded when the dart you shot hit the center of our longing: “When we belong, we are beautiful.” Belonging is LOVE-feeling love, giving love. Love makes us beautiful. Thank you for reminding us of that.

  32. 38
    Mary Ann E says:

    Sorry, no blog or website!

    Belong –


    I never belonged. Belong, what did it mean? To be easy with oneself in the midst of strange situations, to be in charge? I think that I confused belonging with being in charge! but now I think that to belong means to know one’s self. To be easy on yourself and to put forward the first effort – a smile, a word – to connect with the other person who is just like me, not too different at all as I used to believe that where was the common ground? I belong, you belong, we belong because of our common humanity. Our bodies that God formed , in no matter what shape, what “normal” shape or abnormal shape? We are all the same, we all need help in belonging. We need the other to belong or what do we belong to – ourselves? not at all , we can not belong to ourselves and be worth anything, we must belong to all do away with the shy, overcome the afraid, step out and into belonging!


  33. 39

    Wow, what a poignant moment for you, Lisa! Having just moved from the US, I can say it would have been an interesting moment had I decided to go for American citizenship (I’m Canadian and toying with getting dual British).

    Ann, thank you for your beautiful words and reminder that ultimately, He is indeed the only Place and Person where we can find we belong!

    Thanks for creating this writing community. It’s really blessed me and inspired me to make time to add my own thoughts.

  34. 40

    My first day on this site and your words bore deep thru my skin and straight to my heart. Years of not measuring up, literally; not good enough, not wanted, not loved, “NOT BELONGING” unearthed by your simple and powerful words. I could hear the crunch of the dirt in the spade as it struck the hard ground. This is it, you have hit the “shovel” on the head, all these years of looking for what I need outside of me. I have only recently found not only my HOME in Christ, but my voice as well….and your wonderful words of wisdom are a bright guiding light on my path! Truly a HOLY EXPERIENCE. THANK YOU! ♥
    “You never belong until you believe you do. And it’s only when you believe you belong, that you believe you are beautiful.”

  35. 41

    I find that I am a bit shy about ever sharing my raw writing. I’m going to hop around and read your guys’ work. Hopefully that will get me over my fear of letting people read my real thoughts. They were so much easier to publish on my blog before it got very many readers…
    I know, a shy blogger is kind of an oxymoron, but there you go. :p
    Happy Friday!
    Mei @ Diary of a Fair Weather Diver

  36. 42

    Congratulations on your citizenship!

  37. 43

    Congratulations Lisa Jo! What an exciting accomplishment!

    Ann, thanks for sharing this. I so often search for my value in someone else, waiting for another’s love to validate my existence, when truly, the love of Christ is proof that I have purpose and beauty.

  38. 44

    Congrats, Lisa! Welcome home! And what a blessing to read Ann’s beautiful words.

  39. 45

    I don’t have words to express how much this has moved me. We moved to a new city two years ago and I still do not feel as though I “belong” anywhere. Everyone seems to have their circle of friends. People are very nice, but I never feel as though we are part of anyone’s lives here. Almost as though we could disappear and no one would notice…….. But I belong to Christ and no matter what, He wants to be with me. And that is really and truly all that matters. We are only in this world a short time. I need to remember to keep my eyes on Him, who I will always belong to.

  40. 46
    Mary Beth says:

    I am a newbie today to the website, but follow Ann via her daily Holy Experience e-mails. I have never met her, but every day I open the email like it’s a Christmas gift from God thru her to me. Her words, and how the Holy Spirit works through them, to all the women she touches just amazes me. I thank God for all he does through women like her. Congratulations Lisa-Jo and welcome home. Thank you for this place of rest and encouragement, love and acceptance. I look forward to sharing and caring in the future. Gods blessings and peace:)

  41. 47

    Stunning. If only we could learn that lesson at a young age. We could save ourselves from so many heartaches and loneliness. Thank you for that.

    Miss Mindy
    The Howell Blessings

  42. 48


    You have such a BEAUTIFUL way with words. WOW!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  43. 49

    As they say in citizen’s line when you come through customs after traveling abroad, “Welcome Home.”

  44. 51

    “…His presence all around her — and all the beautiful unfurling on the inside of her like tendrils of roots wrapping round everything and being held.” Not only did the previous sentences… “You never belong until you believe you do. And it’s only when you believe you belong, that you believe you are beautiful.” … draw me to attention but this last one drew me tightly to the One Who calls me His beloved. I am learning and loved this post for it is just what I needed today…this very day!
    Thank you so much, my sisters.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  45. 52
    Yvonne Eele says:

    I love the statement ” We write so we can understand what we lived today” I do that all the time or to just understand my thoughts better. I really enjoyed Ann’s post. Thank You. Belonging to me is about my time in the morning that I spend getting close to God. As the sun rises and it almost feels that God is painting another masterpiece just for me. That is when I know and can really feel that God longs to be with me and I long to spend all my everything with him. Keeps me focused on the right thing for the rest of my day. Thank you Ann, and thank you Lisa for putting together such a community as this. I will be back to enjoy.

  46. 53

    Congratulations, Lisa-Jo! And thank you, Ann for sharing your wonderful post.

  47. 54

    ANN! I am so excited you’re here!! Love love love your book, and loved your five minutes! Thanks for visiting!

  48. 55

    Read this through tears and when finished reading, exhaled deeply when I did not even know I was holding my breath. Thanks, Ann.

  49. 57

    To belong to Jesus Christ is such a blessing we quickly take for granted. Mrs. Voskamp, your words today reminded me of a Heidelburg Catechism Question and Answer:
    Lord’s Day 1. Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
    A. That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for him.


  50. 58

    Thank you for that beautiful message. It makes me think of Hagar who met with the God who “sees”. He saw her, and He had a plan for her life. Her story encourages me as well.

  51. 59

    Wow, love these words! So many long for a sense of belonging, lost souls searching the ends of the earth for something that they could so easily have right where they are!
    Love you Ann!

  52. 60

    What a beautiful writing today. Our whole lives are determined by our perspective. How we view the world and our place in it has so much to do with how we view ourselves too. Thanks for hosting today and for thought provoking words of beauty. Happy Friday!

  53. 61

    I think, Mrs. Ann, that you have put words to the wonderings of my heart, perhaps for the first time :) I have always wondered what it is about coming home that feels like it’s missing…and perhaps it’s not anything in the home that’s missing, but something in the heart. I struggle so often with remembering that the longing to be with, the passionate love and desire, the push to want the best in someone else, to see someone else as a treasure, are all emotions that are not limited to us humans….and that just because I’m single & don’t have someone feeling that for me, doesn’t mean I lack worth. In fact, we experience those feelings because Christ put them in our hearts because THAT is how He feels about us, and THAT is how He feels about me.
    So thank you for the incredible encouragement :) And thank you for always being so willing to share your heart!

  54. 62
    Sherry Bolen says:

    oh my…read this post and silent tears began to flow down my cheek. I am 43 years old and struggled for years with where do I belong. Never feeling loved in my own home by parents who emotionally abused and finally completely rejected me, unable to forge meaningful friendships because of my own feeling so unworthiness. Holding on too tightly to my own children because that is the one area of my life that I felt any worthiness. Sabotaging relationships, never believing I could truly achieve success or happiness so I didn’t allow myself. All the while, not realizing that there was One who pursued me, who longed to be with me just as I am, not requiring me to look or act any particular way… just be. Because, after all, He created me. “there was always One who longed to be with her — so she belonged.” oh yes!

  55. 63

    I know this in my heart. But at night, I weep alone and whisper who is “longing to be with me” here? I am in a country where the reaction when someone walks in the room is a gasp. A gasp that has rendered them utterly speechless and in a state of shock. My husband and I were looking for an apartment and when the landlord’s wife saw me it was as if to say, “what are you doing here, you can’t be serious!” In the past week we have been rejected based on the color of our skin, the number of children we have (we have 5), and our religious beliefs. I am not home, but on a pilgrimage. I am in a country where women are less than second class, where my religion can be mine, but not shared, where my color is “welcome” but not welcome. Doors have not been opened, bread has not been broken, truth has not been shared. But I Smile and attempt to hold their gaze and when someone sees me, I know that I am seeing a heart that is open and warm. My heart’s cry has become, You see me, You love me. Shine in me so brilliantly that they won’t see my blackness, but your Light!

  56. 64

    OK, first time member; first linked post first screw up. I did everything as close to right as could figure last night…got my feedback on the “belong” prompt… today a different post from my blog is linked in…..not pertaining to topic. I’m excited to find this group and hope it spurs me on in my writing.

  57. 65

    LOVE the FMF word today … thank you for providing a great site to sit and write every Friday and use the words to connect with others :)

  58. 66
    Julia (Dusty Toes) says:

    Of Gratitude.
    For finding all of you.
    And for a redeemed soul who knows the pain of feeling alone. Thank you, Ann~
    And who can verbalize how that’s just not true.
    And for finding there are others who are also being tempted to believe that lie.
    And are overcoming ~ together~ Here ~
    ~~~~~”There was always One who longed to be with her — so she belonged.”~~~~~
    And to the One who is enveloping, sanctifying and keeping.
    I belong.

  59. 67

    beautiful words by gracious ann~ and welcome to ‘merica {officially} sweet lisa jo!! :)))))

  60. 68
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