Do you remember middle school and high school and the cliques that were all over the place? It seems like from the time we are in pre-school, we start finding certain types of people that fit our mold to hang with. For me, I was the only African American child in most of my classes growing up in Houston, so I had a huge problem. There was no one else who looked like me, so I didn't fit the average mold. Many times I hung by myself. However, as I matured and grew more confidence, my talents, such as singing, acting, and academics drew friends to me. As I began feeling comfortable and had a "clique" of my own, however, my heart hurt for those students I'd see hovering on the outskirts of the gym or sitting alone at lunch time with no one to talk to. I knew from my own experience that being alone in high school (or middle school) evoked a nightmarish sense of desperation and panic that was like no other. So, I began taking the time to speak to those who had no one to connect with and found myself, over the years, having a strong sense of compassion for the lonely. As a mom of three, I hurt when my daughters tell me stories of how they have been excluded, and I see how much it negatively effects them. The good thing, though, is that God's word is true. He does "use all things for good" (Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.) and because of my own experiences from the past of being excluded from certain groups, I can tend to my own girls' hearts and lead them on the pathway to Jesus, who heals all of our hurts. None of our pain from the past needs to be wasted. We can open our arms of love and invite the hurting in, sharing our testimonies that we'd buried long ago with a hurting human soul. That's what love is all about.