2019 was a difficult year in the life of our family. Difficult is an understatement.
We walked through two miscarriages in two months, one resulting in an emergency surgery to save my life.
Our finances were being drained by hospital bills. Grief was intense. We were walking glass jars, liable to shatter at any moment.
Traditionally, I prefer to grieve behind closed doors. I know now, that is a habit rooted in pride.
In my praying and questioning, I could sense God calling me to change course and grieve differently this time around.
He was calling me to lay aside my pride and say the words I hated to say, “I need help,” not only to Him but to those around me.
God, in His kindness, was showing me the benefits of my investment.
“Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?” Ecclesiastes 4:9-11
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15
These are verses I knew well but wasn’t willing to accept when the tables were turned and I was the one in need of friends to help carry my burdens, to help me up after a brutal fall, to mourn with me.
I was in no position, though, to turn down the kindness of community. To be quite frank, they were in no position to listen even if I did turn them down.
I can see them all nodding as they read that last statement.
In 2019, I saw Scripture come alive as my community ministered to my family. They carried my burdens like Galatians taught us to do. They used their resources to make us dinner, buy me gifts and cry with us like Romans taught us to do. Some spent countless hours babysitting our oldest daughter while we spent days and nights in hospitals, and time in follow up appointments. I even had a friend spend hours washing and styling my hair just to help me feel normal again.
I was never alone.
God used the people He’d strategically put on our path to grow with, live with and learn with to minister to us in our dire time of need.
Had it not been for this family we’ve formed, and I do not say this lightly, I don’t believe I would’ve made it out of the pit I was in.
This is God’s heart for His people: to love Him and love His people, to walk this Christian life hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder with one another until the day comes.
I want to close with where we began: Jesus and His disciples.
Jesus spent most of His ministry with twelve unlikely disciples, teaching them how to live, how to love, how to serve, humility, how to be like Him and before He died, He gave them a new command.
“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
My challenge to you today is to find and invest in your community. It is essential, it will cost you something, but the hope of an investment is that it pays off in the end, right?
I’m living proof that it does.
Jesus, You are worth it. Your way is worth it. Your ways are better and higher than ours. You knew we would need each other so you took the time to show us how. Thank you for the example you set for us. We want to follow You today. We want to follow Your example. Show us through Your Word, where we’ve fallen short, where we can improve, how to love one another like you love us. We trust you. We need You! We love You!
In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.