Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Grace


"Grace is connecting to a person's heart, not their behavior." -Renee Franks

Recently I had the chance to meet with one of our pastors, who wanted to share a bit about our ministry with Safe Families in his sermon.  I got to tell the fun story of our new house and how God orchestrated everything just perfectly for that.  I got to share funny little stories about some of our Safe Families kids...it was a nice chat.  At the end, he asked the hardest/best/challenging question...why do you do this?  What is it that makes you want to connect with mothers in crisis in this way?

Hmmm...good question!

The Bible says a LOT of things, but two things it says over and over and over are: love each other and care for the widows and orphans.  There are a lot of people doing great, important work with orphans (and always more people needed...this is so important), but I feel like sometimes we overlook the widow part.  Maybe the word confuses us- we think that there really aren't all that many widows these days.  But change "widow" to "single mother" and voila, you have identified a very vulnerable group of people...people who Jesus probably would have spent a lot of time with.

It is so. very. hard. to make it on your own.  Work a minimum wage job, pay for childcare and afford a place to live?  Try it and see how well you do!  It is NOT an easy task.  Add in the fact that in our society, a lot of people live away or estranged from family, away from the network of mothers and aunts and sisters and brothers...away from their village...how so many of these women DO make it I don't know, but they have my respect.

Once upon a time I thought maybe I would travel across the world to make a difference somewhere, but life rolled on and brought me a wonderful husband and three beautiful children.  For now, we are putting down roots where we are...but that doesn't let us off the hook on those widows and orphans.  Sometimes the needs in your own backyard are the hardest to see...or at least to accept.  But they are there...and once you open up your eyes to them, how can you turn away?  You can't fly home from...home...and leave the troubles on the other side of the ocean.  No, they are here, and they are real.

I think sometimes it is easier to love people who live so far away, who are so different from us.  We have some ugly reactions to the poor, marginalized, struggling people here in our towns.  They are different from us- or are they?  They point out everything that is unfair about life.  How, but for an accident of birth, we could be them.  We didn't work harder or deserve more than them...we just got lucky.  We see their behaviors...the way they act, what they choose to buy, their affiliations, their clothes and we try so hard to believe that they are other.  They are NOT like us.  Because if they are not like us, we couldn't be them.

But we could.  Because they are just like us, in all the ways that count.

Grace is connecting to a person's heart, not their behavior.


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