A couple of summers ago I received a much-anticipated wedding invitation – one of my sweet friends had a son who was getting married. I was so excited! It’s one of those kids you’ve known for years and you're so happy to celebrate their union.

Since I love buying special gifts, I looked up the wedding registry and found just the right thing to take. The wedding was to be at the Chapel in Palmer Lake – I’d been there before and loved this venue. It was small and intimate ... the kind where you can look around the room and recognize just about everyone. The pews are the old-fashioned wood that has probably been there for over fifty years old. They squeak with the most subtle of movement. It’s a cozy log chapel with wood flooring and plenty of small, charming windows.

I went in, about 15 minutes before the wedding started, signed the guest book and was led to my seat. I looked at the wedding bulletin –Noting the songs, the speakers, the participants, the paragraph of commitment they had for each other. I looked up and checked the attendees for anyone I knew. No one yet. I thought, I’ll check again in a little bit. I went back to the wedding bulletin. I looked at the names of the attendants again. I knew the groom’s mom had been married previously so I didn’t really think about the names. I sat there waiting, smiling and nodding at those who came to sit near me. Time passed and the wedding processional was forming in the back of the sanctuary. The groomsmen were at the front along with the pastor. I looked around again for friends and checked the bulletin one last time – then the groom walked in from the side.

ALARM!!! The thought ran through my head, Get up, run! Or at least walk exceedingly fast! I got up just as the music started and darted for the back of the sanctuary. The Mother-of-the-Bride stopped me and let me know they were just getting ready to start and could she help me find a seat. Crazed with fleeing, I nodded no and said, “No thank you, I just have to go to my car really quick.”

I couldn’t walk fast enough. Another gentleman asked if he could help me since I was in heels and there was snow on the ground. I quickly said, “No thank you, I think I’m fine.” Inside I’m screaming – I AM NOT FINE! I’M AT THE WRONG WEDDING!!! I DON’T KNOW YOU PEOPLE AND YOU DON’T KNOW ME. I SIGNED YOUR GUEST BOOK AND FOREVER YOU ARE GOING TO WONDER, “Who knew that lady??!!”

Friends, do you ever feel like you don’t belong? Or you’re new and looking for community and you don’t see any familiar faces? As we gather this fall, sign up for studies and groups. Let’s encourage one another and welcome each other in new and old friendship, and know that there is someone there who might think they don’t belong there.