being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus
Tag Archives: Love
I want to tell you about my amazing friend.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a gut-wrenching post describing my depression. While my heart is always in God’s hands, while each tear I shed is counted by him, while I fully trust his refining work and redemptive power in my life (and in this instance, my depression), I also know that a divinely placed friend was a ray of light in such a dark place.
It’s very rare to find someone who loves you unconditionally. However, at just the time I needed a friend like her, God sent her.
You see, we attended the same small church for a couple of years. We sat across from each other in the pews. We shook the other’s hand on Sunday. Said our short hellos. And then respectfully returned to our seats when the hymns started.
It took us three years before we became friends. And then, that only happened because we went to Bible study together.
Then I invited her and her husband over for dinner. And the four of us (hubs and I, her and her hubs) were like, “What took us so long?” Kindred spirits we were. Immediate, intimate friends.
As we quickly grew closer, we shared our struggles and opened our hearts. While our guys played PS3 in the background, we were hashing out the hard stuff in the other room. Her story. My story. Our hearts woven into a beautiful fabric of grace that only believers can share with one another.
She saw our family at its worst. She saw me at my worst. She didn’t run away. She drew closer. She came over and cleaned my kitchen. She stopped by just because. She prayed with me. She gave me hugs. She wasn’t afraid to get down in the mud and just be with me, being covered from head to toe in the nasty, putrid, mud of the world. She NEVER stopped loving me.
I’m not a psychiatrist or an expert. I’m just someone who has lived through it. I know for me, at the time, this friend was a life line. She let me be me at my worst and still loved me.
If you know someone who suffers from depression, I’m asking you to reach out to him or her. That person will not reach for you. In fact, he or she will shrink down into themselves. Depression is an isolator. It hinders its victims from having relationship. Don’t take it personally. If you look closely at your friend or loved one you’ll realize that he or she has been taken hostage by depression.
Maybe this person just needs you to sit in the mud. Maybe they just need you to be there. To pick up the slack where they let go. To say, “I don’t care how ugly this gets, I’m here, with you, because I love you.” Don’t be afraid to get dirty, even if it’s uncomfortable. You may be the only sign of life for that person, the only offering of love.
I wrote this a few years back for a baby shower I hosted. The intended mother was having her first baby as I was getting ready to have my third. Now she’s mom to three (one two year-old and three-month old twins – yeah, she’s pretty amazing, but mostly because she relies on God to give her the strength to do that job). I had forgotten that I had written this and I stumbled upon it again. Still applicable. Probably always will be, seeing as I’ll be a mom for the rest of my life.
As mom’s we are always in the trenches. While sometimes it feels like we’re a one-woman army taking on the world, our children, and laundry, we often forget that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
When we walk with the Lord, the fruit of the Spirit should be evident in our daily lives. When we become mothers, the fruit starts to grow and mature in ways we never expected or thought possible. It manifests itself in surprising ways and we realize our children our teaching us about our relationship with the Father, just as much as we are teaching them. As we raise our children, we must lean heavily on the giver of these fruits, not only for our benefit, but also for the benefit of our children.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
Love: As soon as a mother begins to love her child, she finds that the love endures for the rest of her life, even in the most difficult circumstances. When the mother looks into her newborn’s eyes for the first time, she can’t imagine loving that little person any more than she does in that moment. As the child grows, the mother finds that her love grows as each day passes. As she realizes that her love for the child is unconditional, she also begins to understand that this human love pales in comparison to God’s gracious and abundant love for her. As her love grows for her child, she starts to understand just how great God’s love for her really is when she ponders how he gave over his son for her sin.
Joy: Most of the time, the joy a mother feels is during the quiet and uneventful times of life. She finds herself overjoyed when her baby smiles at her for the first time. She beams when her three year-old sings a praise song to Jesus. She sees the fruit of her labor when her teenager makes a right decision based on the foundations she taught. She cries tears of joy the day her child marries and begins a family. The joy a mother feels never ends. The joy a Christian mother feels is deeper than mere moments of happiness because even in sorrow, the joy of her Savior sustains her.
Peace: Sometimes, the only peace a mother gets is while her child is sleeping. When life bustles all around, a mother must find her peace in the one who whispers, “Peace, be still.” Her body may be tired, but her soul can rest, knowing that he who calms the waters can also calm her heart. She must cling to the promise he has given “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Though she may face trouble in this life, she can “take heart”, knowing that Christ has overcome the world.
Patience: Some days, the mother finds that her kids are ridiculously out of control. One child is teething and whines non-stop. The other just flushed her favorite pair of earrings down the toilet. Or they keep taking their clothes off and running around naked. Or they just emptied a brand new box of cheerios onto the kitchen floor. Or . . . Some days it’s difficult to find patience in the craziness of motherhood. In the midst of it all, she must remember to ask direction from her perfect father above, who knows better than anyone how to love a disobedient, stubborn, and rebellious child. God is the perfect model of patience. She finds that when she seeks his council and asks for patience, he graciously grants it to her.
Kindness: The kindest thing a mother can do is to bring her child to the Lord. She teaches biblical truths to her child so that the Good News will always be in the forefront of their conversations together. She knows that God’s kindness leads to repentance, so she, in turn, shows kindness to her child. She shares the hope of salvation with her child. Her lips are filled with grace and kindness as she instructs her child in the way of the Lord.
Goodness: A mother’s goodness is evident in how she treats others. She is always aware that little eyes are watching her every action and little ears are hearing her every word. She gives to the needy, and teaches her child to do the same. As an example, she works diligently and discourages idleness from her child. She recognizes that the goodness she gives to her child is merely an extension of the goodness that God gives her. As she experiences God’s goodness, she shares it with all the people in her life.
Faithfulness: A faithful mother stays in the Word, which allows her to faithfully give instruction to her child. She remembers how Jesus said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” She daily brings her child to the Lord in prayer. She teaches them to love the Lord, by the way she lives her life. Each day brings new opportunities to trust her Savior’s faithfulness to her, as she gives her child to Him. As she labors for her child, she remembers God’s faithfulness to her throughout her life.
Gentleness: A mother’s gentle touch is often all a child needs to feel comforted or safe. While she dries the tears of her child, she remembers the times her Father has wrapped his loving arms around her and gently consoled her when life seemed too much to bear. Her speech is filled with gentle words for the members of her family as she remembers that a “gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” It becomes evident that the presence or absence of gentleness in her words and actions determines the tone for her entire family. She is aware that the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth in God’s sight and she strives daily to give that to her child.
Self-Control: It’s difficult to have self-control on the days that are out of control. A mother often finds that her depth of self-control is tested on a continual basis. Regardless of how she is tested, a mother learns to lean on her Father to give her self-control in the harried and stressful times of life. She remembers her Heavenly Father who gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. She asks for His help to imitate him as she interacts with her child.
Scripture references: Galatians 5:22-23, Matthew 11:28-30, John 16:33, Romans 2:4, Proverbs 31:26, Matthew 9:14, Proverbs 15:1, 1 Peter 3:3-4, Psalm 103:8