Honestly: Love Because He Loves You | A Paige From Our Book

Warning: I’m going to get really honest with my feelings here. Not the nice honest that smooths everything over and is dripping with the grace expected from the wife of a guy in ministry. — No. — I’m talking REALLY honest feelings. The good news is that I don’t stay in my feelings. You’ll see if you’re brave enough to read all the way to the end.
Picture

Here’s the thing. I have a blunt side. It’s been pushed aside to make room for grace and mercy and I’m truthfully very thankful that the Holy Spirit has grown those spiritual fruits in my life. But I’ve noticed something about myself. Sometimes I don’t communicate my hurt and my weariness out of fear of being too blunt or communicating something wrongly.  — This was a huge struggle for me early on in our marriage and it made things difficult because instead of just starting somewhere, even in the mess of my thoughts and emotions, I buried thoughts, ideas, emotions, hurt, etc until I felt like I had worked them through enough to talk about it. That isn’t all bad; delaying a conversation until one is calm and able to get at the heart of the issue. 

However, there are moments, days, sometimes weeks when I’m not able to figure those things out on my own. I don’t think my husband or close friends are surprised anymore when things bubble out of me joined at the hip with tears and frustration. It’s funny to me that here I thought I knew myself so well when I was a young single woman and yet now I think I’m just really starting to learn who I am and what I need.  —  It’s not my identity in Christ that’s in crisis. I’ve just started to learn — or maybe just relearn what I need to function well, ie: sometimes a quiet home to my introvert self, sometimes a day out to be child free, an hour of my husband’s undivided attention to just BE together, a clean house so my brain can focus {tell me I’m not the only woman who can’t focus on life when her house is a mess — seriously, just a vacuumed floor adds so much room for mental clarity in my mind}. And there are times when I just plain need to communicate what I’m feeling.   I think I’m still struggling with some fear of man on this one, but assuming I do indeed publish this, here I go anyway.
Picture

I’ve already shared that my dad has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time in 17 years. As with his first cancer, this one is very rare. When I was in high school, it was melanoma in his eye. He went the bold and extreme route then and had his eye removed. By God’s grace the eye ball kept the cancer contained and he didn’t need to have chemo or radiation. Now he has a rare form of stage 4, non Hodgkin Lymphoma. It’s in his neck, under arm and bone marrow. The mass in his neck {which grows a little larger each week} is a constant reminder that but by the grace of God through various uses of modern medicine or a miraculous healing, this cancer will kill my dad. 
If that knowledge weren’t heavy enough, there is weight added when comments are made about the type of treatment my dad has decided to pursue. He’s not doing chemo. He has decided to pursue treatment with a clinic that is considered controversial by many in spite of incredible success stories. While many are supportive or at least hold their tongue if they disagree with my father’s decision, some feel it’s their right — no — duty to tell him why his choice is wrong, some with the, [I’m-gonna-hate-to-tell-you-that-we-told-you-so] attitude.
There is also a weight for us a family when it feels like the news has worn off for others and they are back to their lives, having forgotten that we’re going through a massive and life changing trial. Do we walk around every day with a rain cloud over our heads and melancholy music on in the background? No, of course not. We have to keep living to the best of our ability. But there are days when the pain of the current circumstance is particularly deep and . . . I’ll be honest. . . when few check in or express care, it hurts and we wonder if those around us have forgotten. God designed us to care for and receive care from other people. We’re the conduit of His grace to others. Am I aware of God’s grace and sovereignty over this trial of my dad’s cancer? Absolutely! But I’m a human being who still needs to feel the care and extension of grace from other human beings. 
I want to reroute this quickly, lest my honesty become a pity party. I realize that we all have busy lives. I realize that we all have times of trial and suffering in our lives and that just because our family is in the midst of a trial doesn’t mean that your family isn’t as well. There have been people in my life, who in spite of their own busyness and trials have continually reached out and I am SO grateful for them. But overwhelmingly people {in general} seem to have forgotten. They seem to be too busy with their own lives to notice that this suffering isn’t going to go away any time soon. The kind of care that our family is going to need isn’t going to go away soon. The amount of finances that we need to raise for my dad’s treatment isn’t insignificant or trite. It’s not just “extra” to help out. It is needed. Every. single. cent. 
Here is where the Lord helped me see beyond our current situation. Feeling the heaviness of being forgotten, I began to think about others that I know who have been though monumental trials recently. The Holy Spirit reminded me that though I have moved on, most likely the weight of their circumstance is still quite heavy. I began to pray for several people that the Lord brought to my mind, but I didn’t stop there. I reached out to let them know that I was thinking about them and praying for them. I didn’t do so to puff myself up, but rather to encourage them. It is so incredibly encouraging to hear that someone else is praying for you. 
I will NEVER forget a poignant moment early in our marriage. We had moved home after an incredibly difficult “first ministry” trial and were enjoying a Sunday lunch with family. My cousin Pam looked at me and told me that {during what were some of the darkest days of that hard season of my life} on more than one occasion God had woken her up in the middle of the night to pray for me. She didn’t know in those moments that over 1,000 miles away I was laying in my bed, feeling like the enemy was literally inches away from my face, ready to snuff out the breath and life from me. She didn’t know that, night after night, I would cry out to God asking Him to wake someone up to pray for me. She couldn’t know when she shared that with me how much it meant to me and how much it encouraged me even after the fact to know that God had answered my prayer. Hearing her say that she had prayed for me built up my faith and trust in God.  —  We have the opportunity to pour love and encouragement into the lives of others if we just have eyes to see and a willingness to speak. 
I’m thankful that the Holy Spirit used my own feelings of being forgotten to prompt me to reach out and care for those around me who are in the depths of their own trials. I needed the reminder that we all need care {even those who look like they have it all together} and encouragement. I had new eyes to look for others who may need my focused prayer or a reminder that I see them and haven’t forgotten about what they’re going through. We can all grow at removing the blinders that keep our focus on what is happening directly in our own lives and taking a deeper look around us.  We can all grow at asking God to give us eyes to see those who might need our prayers and encouragement; those who might need our tangible service to their needs. We might be surprised at the comfort we receive from The Father as we reach out to comfort others. As we extended care to a family down the street when the single mother had a seizure which caused her to be hospitalized, I was freshly made aware that. . .
Picture

We are able to love others and extend care, encouragement and service to others because it is Jesus’ love at work in us! His love empowers us to love others and love them well. If we are loved by Him and His love dwells in us, should we not look around for opportunities to love others? We are privileged to experience the love of Jesus not only in His love for us, but also in being a conduit of His love to others! And love really does multiply, because the more we extend the love of Jesus to others through any number of means, the more we will want to love others. All because of the simple truth that this love doesn’t start with us. His love makes it not only possible, but utterly humbling and satisfying to love others!
Honestly: Love Because He Loves You | A Paige From Our Book

I don’t want my honesty about my trial and suffering to negate the goodness & loving faithfulness of God. God has given grace for the trial at hand and the emotional lows. And I am incredibly thankful for Him lifting my eyes up and away from my own situation to give me pause to consider and pray for others. My desire is to spur you on to look up from your busy life and take a look around at the trials and sufferings of others. Maybe it’s a neighbor, perhaps it’s a friend you’ve lost touch with, maybe it’s that single mom who sits behind you in church or maybe it’s an acquaintance on Facebook. The trials may be varied and your role in extending care will not look the same in each case, but don’t let what seems small and/or insignificant stop you because you don’t know what that person in need has been praying for. Tell that friend that you’ve been praying for them. Text them that encouraging Scripture or song. Send a card in the mail. Bring that neighbor a meal. Dwell on the love Jesus has lavished on you and do not fear extending love to others, for His love enables us love.
Picture

PS: If you are in a season of suffering and feel alone or think that it would be selfish to ask others to care for you — let me encourage you to reach out. Ask someone to pray for you or let a friend know that you need that hug. And pray, asking God to lay your situation on the hearts of those who can extend care. I would love for you to leave a comment and share about your trial here so that I too can pray for you.
Picture

Picture

Written by hmbrachle@gmail.com

Comments are closed.