“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me,I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:34-40
So here’s the problem with me and writing. I’ve had this post in the back of my mind for awhile, but when I go to put ‘pen to paper’ I struggle to get my thoughts out in a coherent and meaningful way. Add to that that it is Mother’s Day and my emotions are all over the place and you’ve got a recipe for an interesting blog post. I’m pushing through because it is just on my heart to get this out tonight.
Since the moment I found out that our sweet Willow had gone to be with Jesus, I have experienced such an outpouring of support and love. The thing is, when you’re in the middle of that darkness, when the grief closes in around you and you feel like you are drowning in it, it is hard to see all of the people who are surrounding you. As I look back on that dark time, I amazed by the presence of people both near and far. I received so many messages of sympathy, hope, and love. Cards came from both the expected people but also some unexpected places as well. A co-worker hung up messages of love and support in my classroom to make my first days back at work easier. Beautiful plants were given to remind me of growth and new life, including the willow tree that inspired our precious one’s name. Meals were brought to feed my family when I couldn’t. All of those things were such beautiful messages of love and solidarity from family and friends. They helped those dark days become a little less dark. But as time moves on, so does life. And as it should, that outpouring slowed down and became the normal supportive presence of people in my life.
Then life continued to throw things at me… the death of my Gramma and the diagnosis of our sweet survivor baby with Down Syndrome to name a few. And here’s the thing, the outpouring of love and support began again. The amazing people that surround me in this life didn’t sit back because they had been there for me once and so that box was checked and somebody else could step in. Flowers sent to my work, cards from friends and family, little treats like my favorite candy or drink. Most importantly, love. So much love it makes me teary. Love for me, for my family, and for my beautiful baby girl. I’m not sure I ever really worried that she wouldn’t be loved because of her differences, but if that thought ever did cross my mind it sure was erased quickly. My family and friends have done everything in their power to practically shout how much they love this miracle of God and can’t wait to welcome her into this world. I had the honor of attending a surprise shower for baby girl. The idea grew in my sister-in-law’s head, and was put together by my mother-in-law and sister-in-law with the help of my mom tribe. The laughter, love, and tears shared that day were healing to my heart and soul. The gifts given were the perfect mix of remembrance of Willow and celebration of the beautiful baby continuing to grow in my belly. Just this week I received some very special gifts from sweet co-workers who wanted me to feel the love and celebration they had for this new life. And as this Mother’s Day has approached and I have felt the loss and sadness a little more keenly, beautiful flowers arrived from my parents and a beautiful necklace in memory of the love I will always have for the baby I will never meet in this life from a dear friend. The timing could not have been better. So I want to send an enormous blanket THANK YOU to each and every person who has been a part of the outpouring of love and support for me in these past months. It has meant more than you may ever know.
Anybody remember the song “Hands & Feet” by Audio Adrenaline? I rocked out hard to those guys as a kid. Anyways the chorus of that song was “I wanna be your hands, I wanna be your feet, I’ll go where you send me…” and I may or may not have though up until this blog post that there was a bible verse in which Jesus commanded us to be his hands and feet. Turns out, that language is never really used. However, this got me to thinking more deeply about the meaning behind this popular phrase. In one of his teachings, Jesus talks about the people who are blessed by God and entering heaven. He tells them they are there because they ‘fed him when he was hungry, clothed him when he was naked, took care of him when he was sick, and welcomed him when was a stranger’. Those people understandably ask when they could have possibly done those things for Jesus, and he responds with the famous line “Truly I tell you, whatever you have done for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me.” And here is the thing, I truly feel like this has been lived out for me in 2018. Every message, card, gift, prayer, hug, kind word… has been ‘the hands and feet of Jesus’.
Something that I feel like I have let slip in the past few years of being a full time mom alongside being a full time teacher, is the practice of being thoughtful. Oh I still feel deeply for people and pray for those who are struggling, but the majority of the time when I think ‘Oh I should send so and so a card or pick up a little something for this person who is going through a tough time’ it ends there… as just a thought that never gets carried out. I have been feeling very convicted about that recently. Because what if all of those amazing people in my life had allowed their thoughtfulness to stop in the idea stage. I would not have felt the amazing outpouring of love and support that I have. We have the chance each and every day to be Jesus to people who are hurting. What better calling is there?