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It Takes a Village

I know this is an interesting choice for a title, but I wanted to catch your attention.  This reflection has nothing to do with raising your children (at least directly).  It has alot to do with how you choose to take care of yourself spiritually.

Over the past few years I’ve experienced some serious losses.  The details are unimportant, but suffice it to say that this time in my life has been tough.  Tough to endure.  Tough to understand.  Just plain tough.  Through this time, I’ve frequently heard a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that made me see myself carried down a river.  It wasn’t all that peaceful, though.  If you’re thinking about a lazy float down a river in some sort of inner tube with the sun shining and flowers blooming, you’re on the wrong path.  I’m talking about white caps, rapids and bareley a life jacket to keep me afloat.  In fact, I wasn’t always staying afloat.  I did, however, always seem to bounce back.  I promised myself as I experienced a very intense loss that it wouldn’t be in vain.  That I would take the message of my experiences and try to keep someone else from having to go as far as I did.  That I would take my pain and use it to the glory of God and that I would walk it out with dignity and as much peace as possible.

I heard this song again the other day and God gave me a completely different image in my head.  There are a few people who have come along side me in this time of grief and pain.  God showed me that they were my inner tube and made my life jacket much more effective.  In my vision they surrounded me.  I was still in the rapids and rough water, but they buffered the waves and made it easier to keep my head above water.  They’ve kept me from hitting the rocks and have made the rapids easier to navigate.  Because they were there I could relax a little, heal a little and know that some day life was going to feel better again.

I’m not telling you all this because I want you to feel sorry for me.  I’m telling you this because in our most painful times we often want to withdraw.  The enemy is most effective when you are isolated.  I’m not saying that you should wear your burden on your sleeve and let it define you, but I am encouraging you to find two or three people that you trust.  Let them know if you are in a season of your life where you need some help getting through the tough spots.  Staying connected will help you get through the rough stuff — even if it’s only with a couple of people.  Sometimes just talking to another person about your challenge can give you insight and help you solve the problem from a different approach.

In spite of all that I’ve experienced the last couple of years, I remind myself that other people are enduring trials of their own.  My elementary-age daughter brought home a note the other day letting us know that one of her classmate’s parents has been diagnosed with cancer.  My “tough” doesn’t involve facing my own mortaility that closely.  I don’t wake up every morning wondering if I’ll be there for my kids next year.  I don’t know how I would respond if I were faced with that.  I know that I can reach out to this person.  Pray with them.  Listen.  Fix a meal.

If you’re in a place where you can support a friend, do it.  God wants us to help each other through life’s journey.  If we all stick together we can divide our pain and multiply our joys.

Who can you touch today?

 

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