This month I’m featured in the
#REALCHURCHladies section of
Leading Hearts Magazine!
All my life I’ve been mesmerized by female aerialists,
athletes who perform graceful dances of
balance, strength and flexibility on the trapeze, ropes, or rings.
Audiences gasp in awe and applaud with delight
as we watch lithe women spin and soar
dangerously high above the ground.
Fear prevents most of us
from ever attempting the elements
of an aerialist’s routine.
We appreciate them,
but are happy to sit in the bleachers
and admire from a distance.
Consider the practice hours that an aerialist spends
developing her natural talent.
She has to work with trainers and technicians,
nutritionalists and a safety net.
It takes a whole lot of support people for an aerialist to perform her act.
The Body of Christ is
supposed to cooperate like that.
Throughout the Bible,
God directs us to be willing to teach, assist and support
those who are
widowed or orphaned.
We get lost in the how to.
What does it look like to teach, assist and support?
The principle is pretty simple.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (Matt. 7:12)
And, love them as Jesus loves you. (John 15:12)
But, as I look around at all the people in my life,
and the people I read about on social media,
and the people I see on the news,
it can be overwhelming to think about teaching everyone
who needs correction or education.
And how do I assist or support everyone who needs help?
Just do what you can,
where you are,
with what you have.
I learned to follow this simple strategy by seeing it in action.
I was widowed at 40 when my 39 year old husband, Jay,
(or Hot & Hunky as I like to call him),
died of a heart attack, leaving me and our two little boys alone.
There had been no warning sign,
no preparing for sudden singleness,
no last words of advice or enduring love.
He was gone in half an instant.
It felt as if I had fallen off my trapeze.
One minute, I was twirling in the air,
executing the routine of being a wife and mother.
The next minute, I was free falling,
flailing and grasping for anything to hold onto to soften my inevitable crash landing.
Everyone around us gasped in disbelief.
Instead of staying in their seats
and watching from the sidelines,
close friends and strangers alike
streamed into our tragedy.
No one else had been widowed.
No one really knew what to do, so they did what they could.
Through the prompting of the Holy Spirit and the instincts that come from being a woman,
they used their gifts, talents and resources – whatever they had – to show me support and love.
Some cooked our meals,
some took my children for playdates,
some sat vigil,
some stepped in to hostess at the funeral.
Over the next year,
I found gift cards to
oil change places and
grocery stores in my mailbox.
Someone provided a snow plow service,
another invited us all over to carve those miserable pumpkins at Halloween,
several took me out for my birthday,
one sent flowers every 3 months with a card that said,
I’m remembering you.
I know it was so awkward for some to enter into my pain.
They didn’t know what to say,
and some did say the wrong thing,
but most simply said,
I’m sorry this is your life right now. How can I help?
Those words were music to my ears.
I didn’t want pity, I needed sympathy.
I didn’t want to ask for help,
but I couldn’t manage my life without it.
I knew God’s promises and reminded God of each one concerning widows.
Bible verses of comfort flooded my mind
and were the foundation that kept me sane in my grief.
But, it was the knowing I wasn’t alone in my grief,
alone in my singleness,
alone with my decisions about parenting,
home maintenance and car repairs
that was beyond comforting.
It was healing.
Whenever life was overwhelming,
I could see the safety net that God had slipped under me
to keep from smashing into a million pieces.
Pinned in place by his strong arms,
held down by his love and mercy,
decorated with his promises and undergirded by his people,
I fell repeatedly into that net,
not only to remain saved, but safe.
When you find yourself suspended in a precarious place,
know that God will slip a net beneath you.
Look for it.
When you see someone free falling,
listen for how God prompts you to teach, assist or support them.
Heed the nudge.
Write a check,
Make a call,
Pray like someone’s life depends on it.
Bake a casserole,
Write a letter or
Volunteer for a cause.
You can’t solve every problem or save everyone who needs help.
Just step out of the bleachers.
Real Church Ladies …
Do what you can,
where you are,
with what you have.