Oh, how I love Jesus … because He first loved me!
Hi friend, it’s that time of year when we celebrate our loved ones. As we do so, I’m reminded of our Savior and His love for me. As we get ready for our big Valentines dinner celebration next week, let us also remember first and foremost that we have a Heavenly Father that loves us unconditionally. Let us devote time to love Him in return, by sharing and singing praise to Him for all He’s done for us.
I am going to share a story that has been weighing so heavily on my heart the past few weeks. I volunteered for a domestic violence task force, and had the opportunity to meet some incredible people. Women, in fact, that see the results of violence regularly, legal professionals that see it in the court systems, as well as the battered lives that are trying to heal. It’s been an eye opening experience, and one particular story that touched my heart in a huge way follows:
I sat in a room in with about 10 other women, each coming for different reasons. Some to offer help, some as abused victims, some to share knowledge of how to help others. On this particular day, there was a guest speaker and she came with a bundle of black fabric. There were separate pieces of fabric, all the same size and color, but many individual pieces. She went around the room and stopped at each person to begin layering their shoulders with pieces of the fabric. Each layer would represent an incident, something that happened that caused hurt, stress, and additional burdens. She continued, once piece at a time, until the weight of the fabric became heavy. As she was doing this, she described the life a young girl who was molested at a very young age. It was the start of a burden that she would carry forever, in fact, the abuse would become a way of life for her. She learned to live with secrets, trying to block out the continual abuse and the threats. However, during each trial, another ‘layer of hurt’ is added. The cycle is vicious and continues until the weight of it all begins to really wear on the soul.
When she came to me, and began layering my shoulders with one piece of fabric at a time, she would speak a story that represented another layer. It continued until I honestly felt weighed down and deeply saddened!
It was heartbreaking, and I share this to story for a couple reasons:
We never know what someone else is going through. Be kind and extend a hand; you never know how a simple act of kindness might impact someone. It could be the very act that leads someone to a lighter load.
The layers in this story could represent many different things, but as a Christian, I think of sin. The more we try to hide from God, and do things we know are wrong, the more we add to our load. If we confess our sins and live for Christ, the weight of the past is lifted. We certainly still experience trials, but with Jesus, we always have hope and knowledge that we can conquer anything because He lives in our hearts.
Is there something you might do to help a friend in need? Is there something nagging at you that is making you feel compelled to reach out to someone? There’s no time like now: share a smile, share hope. Share what the love of Jesus has meant in your life! Go the extra steps to lighten the load and show someone hurting how Jesus has touched your life.
Remember: Jesus loves us ALL! Let’s lighten the load and give it all to Him, and spread His love to others along the way!
Love in Christ, Amy
Dedicated to Linda and Brenda-
Your passion for helping others is awesome and was clearly displayed the first time I met you. I pray God continues to bless you both along your journey, and I pray for the many lives you have touched and will touch in the days ahead!