My recent Facebook post: “Every day I have friends tell me about their lives…Current situations, past hurts, broken hearts. I try to encourage, direct towards healing, show love, be the hands & feet of Jesus. I can’t explain how sad my heart feels with each burden my friends endure. I pray that each of you knows how tremendously beautiful & perfect I think you are (even with your flaws.) I pray each day that you encounter the love of God in a manner that blows your mind. I love you deeply, but he loves you even more. Look up from your burdens friends. He is waiting for you.”
Why did I not pull an original beginning for my blog post out of my cute little head? Because this works. Every. Single. Day.
I could literally write for days & days about the current burdens & pain facing my friends & family. Going into their pasts would probably be years of writings.
If you have been keeping up, you know this has not been the easiest road for me. I also have shared with you a few of the situations my friends have faced. Just off the top of my head, I can list:
- Cancer surgery-tests pending
- Family members with drug addiction
- Gambling problems
- Child under two facing third heart surgery
- Domestic abuse
- Eating disorders
- Children with emotional & behavioral disorders
- Financial fears
- Depression & anxiety caused by past pains
- Distrust because trust has been stolen so many times before
- And a frightening amount of other sicknesses & worries that could probably circle the earth
It took me longer to type the list than it did to think of it. My heart aches for each of these burdens (& all of the others not listed). My heart sees the pain trying to tuck itself deep inside. My eyes see the flicker of despair as someone tells me about the latest news in their quickly shrinking world. My distrust reads their distrust & I understand why they are quick to push others away. My fingers open texts messages & pause carefully as I try to type out encouragement while my eyes fill with tears over the addictions of beloved family members.
This world is so quick to judge, critique, or push us down. I never want to add to the list of things people are working through. I never want to be the person that makes a heart feel anything but love. As I have mentioned before, this life is short, my people will know how I feel about them. I hold dear any time I have with my loved ones (related or not.) I tell them I love them. I hug them tight. I hand out those tissues. I listen to their heartbreaks. I smile in the hallway or at the grocery.
And I wonder, why? Why do my people endure such pain? Why do I endure not only mine but theirs? Why is life so hard? Why can’t we just have one day that leaves us alone? Why doesn’t the world reward good people for being good? Why do people speak of karma when it is complete crap? If what comes around goes around, my life would be cherry Jelly Belly’s & red roses. I love the nuggets out of people, I treat them well. I don’t hold anger, I don’t yell (much). I’m a good God girl. So if that doesn’t hold much water, what is the next excuse?
Guess what I have come up with…it’s pretty deep. Maybe you should sit down for this.
That’s right. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. Zero.
Life doesn’t treat us one way in return for our behaviors towards others. Life doesn’t care. Life is not a person or feeling. It’s an experience. It’s a concept we all get to take to the drawing board to develop however we see fit.
For me, that is to love. Pure, unconditional, unearned & filled with grace. (Not a coincidence I call this blog Matilda GRACE.)
So when my friend texts me that her brother is on heroin, I drop everything in front of me to call her & check in. I add her to my prayer chain. I have spent several late nights texting when a friend is overwhelmed with stress. When a husband calls about a trip to Florida, I say yes I will help with the kids before I even know the dates or details. When a friend needs surgery, I take the day off, clear my schedule & stay with her. Whether a friend needs a meal, a hug, or a prom dress for their daughter, I try move into action and accomplish it.
As I see it, being the hands & feet of Jesus means act first, think later. If I allow my head to get involved in what Jesus’ people need, then I’m going to miss a lot of precious opportunities to love on my people. And loved on is what they need.
No, I can’t cure the cancer, the heart defects, the drug addictions, the broken marriages or eating disorders. I can only answer the phone, give a tight hug & pray. Pray my little pea picking brain out.
My prayer? What I said above. I pray that each of you knows how tremendously beautiful & perfect I think you are (even with your flaws.) I pray each day that you encounter the love of God in a manner that blows your mind. I love you deeply, but he loves you even more. I pray that one day, you will see the precious person God sees when He looks at you, His child. He wants us whole. He wants us happy. He wants us loved. THIS answer is simple: Look up from your burdens friends. He is waiting for you.
Yeah, I hear you. “Tuck your Jesus Freak back in, it’s really flying high tonight.”
No. I will not.
My Jesus freak is what has brought me through 44 years of life. A rough life. So when I say prayer has power, it’s because I believe it. I believe it because I don’t think I’d be here to annoy & torture you today with out my Jesus Freak. It’s ok if you disagree, Jesus loves you anyways. It’s ok if you haven’t spoken to Him in decades, He still wants to hear from you. It’s even ok if you have made mistakes. Even big ginormous ones that have you stuck in a dark pit of fear or despair. He can wash those away. In fact, He already has.
I stand on my faith so strongly because it’s the only constant & consistent truth I have ever known. My family life was rough. My marriage broken from the beginning. My son fighting demons much bigger than me. But not bigger than God. I may not be able to be around my son, but that doesn’t stop my prayers from going up for him. I know that as much as I want him safe & making the best choices, God wants that & much more for him.
This world doesn’t give one lick about you, your heart, your feelings or needs. But I do. So brace yourself. I’m leaving my Freak on. I may not always see the needs of others but when God directs me to do something, I do it.
Couple of funny things about action first…One, it doesn’t require Jesus. Just genuine kindness with zero expectations of return. Second, training yourself for this is simple, just listen. It doesn’t always cost money. Sometimes it’s time. Sometimes it’s grace or love. Third, changing someone else’s path will ultimately change yours as well, into something more beautiful than you could imagine. So buy that single mom & her child dinner. Hug the hurting coworker.
Love your uglies. Love your friends uglies. Love everyone’s uglies. We all have them. And they come from unhealed hurts. So rather than add to the ugly, help to heal it!
Love you bunches! Till next time.