Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fear and Dread and Love and Hope

I had lunch with a dear friend last week whose husband has stage 4 cancer. My normal reaction to helping someone with a terminal disease (or really scary, hard stuff that I can't fix) is to pray. Prayer is powerful and I believe in it with all my heart. But that's where my help ends.  

I'm learning that we are called to do more than that. I'm learning that just because something is scary that it doesn't mean it has to be unapproachable.  I've never known how to act around someone who is this sick; it's not a skill we learn in school. I want to give them a hug, say I understand, then keep my distance until everything in their world is easy again. And it's just laughable, because my own father died of cancer when I  was 20. I should know how to act, right? 

Turns out, I'm not supposed to act at all. I haven't been called to audition for the role of supportive, serious, counselor in great time of distress.  God created me, goofy-comic-relief Nikki, to act in love.  He created me with a loud laugh and a memory for inappropriate stories and scatter brained ideas to love on those around me. Right now, one of those people around me is facing the loss of her husband, and I have been called to love on her in the way I know how; with smoothies, lunch, story telling, and loud laughing. 

But she's loving on me too. She's shown me what real hope looks like.  During our last lunch, she talked about her husband and his love of God and His word. She talked about how she wants to help him enjoy his last days. The sadness in her voice isn't about the impending loss, but of his current pain and lack of energy. She expresses gratitude for a full, blessed life together. She seeks strength to support him to her fullest.  Not once has she told me she's scared about what is going to happen. She knows the promises of the Lord and she is living in them. And that is real hope.  

Psalm 71:1: But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Super Powers

A week ago a friend of mine asked on Facebook "If you could have one super power, what would it be." I've been thinking about that.  All of the super powers I could think of seemed like too great of a burden. The power to see the future, the power to heal, the power to turn back time, the power to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Nope, none of them seemed quite right for me. Looking at all the possibilities of what you could do with those powers gave me an unsettling feeling that I would be competing for roles that only God should have. Who do you heal? Who do you save? Who?

Ahh, but then God told me He gave me the power to LOVE; and that love is a super power.  Then God gave me a chance to use my super power.

I talked with a woman this week who told me how times are hard. I sympathetically nodded my head and said "I know."  She told me about how she was looking for another job because the job she does have only pays $7.35 and hour and she only gets 20 hours a week. She told me how she had to split one hamburger for dinner the night before between her children who are 7, 5 and 18months. It was a Monday and payday was on Wednesday and they thought they could make it.  She grew more and more comfortable with me and told me how she and her partner of 13 years are calling it quits. She told me they are waiting for their tax return to come back so they can afford it.  She told me how she spent her night praying for a job so she could feed her children.

My heart burst right open, but I held back from picking her up right there and hugging her. (She's very little, if we did hug, most likely I would lift her off the floor.) She told me how it's embarrassing to have to live off the backpack program and that her family wouldn't make it some through the weekend sometimes if it weren't for those programs.  I just kept listening and nodding my head. 

She doesn't know me very well. We see each other every day, but on a very superficial level. But yesterday she needed someone to talk to, and God put me in that place.  Then He told me to help. Galatians 6:9-10a "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people," 

So I did. And I know in that moment, she felt love.

But here's the thing. The groceries and gift cards I gave her won't last.  They'll eat this week, maybe next week, and still need provisions. And she's not the only momma who is hungry. My heart is so heavy because there will always be a mouth that I cannot feed.

And even as I type this God is whispering "love like Me, I'll take care of the rest."   Maybe you'll whisper back with me- "Show me how."