That season of life when the day’s schedule was divided into two distinctive chunks of time…before naptime and after naptime. As a stay at home mom of one toddler, nice days usually included morning trips to the park.
It was wonderful to find others who were just as starved for adult interaction and as interested in breastfeeding, teething remedies, and pull-ups as was I. This was the season of life as well that I began to understand that the Lord was willing to use me wherever I was willing to be used. I would be purposeful about praying before I got out of the car, asking Him to use me as He was able during my time there that day.
Often I would feel drawn to a particular mom who was just as eager for conversation, or more-so, thankful for a listening ear. An encourager by nature I often would walk away feeling so blessed by the opportunities He allowed in bringing someone across my path that I could offer an encouraging word, a smile or even a much needed laugh.
One particular woman I encountered appeared tired, frazzled and disheveled all at once, even among the typical mom crowd. An older preschooler who found joy in tormenting their younger sibling kept her on her toes… as much as she was able with the weight of the baby on her hip. The little ones swung side by side on the “baby swings” requiring parent propulsion, and she began a conversation with me.
It seemed she had just been waiting for someone to whom she could bare her soul. A broken marriage, dire financial state and consistent family illness overwhelmed her. She was clearly struggling with feelings of depression and hopelessness. When I asked her about friends she lamented that most women were so tied up with their own families that they didn’t have time, and even if they did, she didn’t feel that she had anything to offer anyone.
My heart ached for this woman and the normal “it will be okay” didn’t seem sufficient. New to the promptings of God within my heart I was fairly certain that I was being “nudged” by the Holy Spirit to invite her to church. Not quite sure how to “get there” and not wanting to mess anything up, I was stealth like with my approach. “So, do you go to church anywhere?” The tense, awkward pause afterwards was indicative to me that I had failed.
Immediately she met me with suspicious eyes, as if at just that moment she realized that I was incognito as an untrustworthy person who had been trying to gain her affection. Her one sentence answer was sufficiently clear. “I hate church people.”
Sensing her emotional conviction, I could tell that this was more than a generic disdain, but rather one that was rooted in a place of hurt and bitterness. Inexperienced with these types of situations and immediately uncomfortable, I dropped the topic quicker than a freshly washed off pacifier. Reverting back to casual chat we finished our time together and never saw one another again.
Children of God with similar heart sentiments abound. Unresolved conflict, jealousy, judgment, pride, insecurities- all tools the enemy utilizes to stir the pot for the purpose of dividing the Body of Christ.
John 13:35 in the Message reads “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
Father, let our love for one another be undeniably evident. Help us Lord.