Gratitude Lifts The Merge Family Above The Noise

Gratitude Lifts Us

It is unfortunate, yet it still happens.

Whether it is lies or negative perceptions, at times we find ourselves defined by the labels others place on us. Sometimes it is where we grew up, the way we look, or who we hang out with; people use these contextual clues and automatically label and define you as an individual.

This “NOISE” becomes almost deafening.  You begin to believe the labels and negative perceptions about yourself.

This is where God’s family & community becomes so important.

This past Thanksgiving, Solidarity’s DISCIPLESHIP program, Merge, hosted a family dinner for students & their families from the Garnet & Maple neighborhoods. Merge has always been a family, a safe place where pushing deeper into the presence of God has been the overarching value.

Historically, Merge was a space where youth from two rival gang neighborhoods came together to try and pursue Jesus together as one community. It was a place of musical worship, teaching the Word, and encouragement to live out the characteristics of Jesus.

This Thanksgiving, Merge was a place of restored identity.

It was a night to remember who we truly are.  It was a meal reminding everyone that they are not defined by the negative NOISE of the neighborhood, but instead can rise above it to be the TREASURES that God has always viewed them as.

Reina, Solidarity’s Program Associate, charged the 35+ individuals to create a Thankful Tree by writing down on paper leaves the things they were grateful for.  Reina wanted the Merge family to capture the ways God moved in their individual lives and to remember how good He is.  She hoped that gratitude would help lift the Merge family above this senseless NOISE.

Here are some of the “thankful leaves” from that night:

  • “I’m thankful for my family because they’re always there for me.”

  • “Thankful for Fortnite” (we actually had a lot of these)

  • “Gracias por las salud de mi famila.” (Thankful for the health of my family)

  • “Thankful for being the 1st generation to go to university.”

  • Thankful for “Rocketships, jets, and transformers.”

  • “I am thankful for God healing my family during pain.”

  • “Gracias por toda tu amor” (Thankful for all of Your love)

Maybe it was the delicious food or the laughter that surrounded the table, but everyone seemed to leave differently that night than when they came in.  It was as if the NOISE that usually defined the neighborhood was pushed back by words of truth captured on the Thankful Tree leaves.

The presence of God was with the Merge family. God was honored for how He was moving in everyone’s lives.  And on a Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the Merge family experienced the TREASURES that they truly are.

Invest in The TREASURES, Rise Above The Noise.

Solidarity’s Year End campaign.

Pedro & Kevin share a laugh as the Merge family plays the “3 Facts” game.

Pedro & Kevin share a laugh as the Merge family plays the “3 Facts” game.

Dylan gets caught right before loading his plate with mac & cheese.

Dylan gets caught right before loading his plate with mac & cheese.