Now that I have two kids and I stay at home, there are so many days when I feel incapable of being a patient mommy. There are days when my extremely extroverted personality longs for adult companionship and I may just shed a tear if she asks me to read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie one more time. There are days when I don’t cook at all and I scrape together weird leftover combo dinners (like day-old mac and cheese and Nora’s flavor blasted goldfish). Every day I need Jesus.
The last few weeks have been joyful with a new baby girl, and very difficult as I continue to learn how to do life and manage a home with two children. Luckily, I have seen Christ and He has held me close.
In the last month and a half, I have had friends from church come over and hold my kids and read to them when my arms and brain are too tired, or when Matt and I want to go play mini golf. I have had a friend go grocery shopping with me because I was scared to go alone with two babies…we each pushed a cart with a baby. I have had many families bring us meals so I didn’t have to cook and could focus on learning mommyhood times two. I have had a friend watch my girls just so that I could go to the youth service and hang out with Matt and the students I love so much. I have had sweet people hold a fussy Annemarie so that I could eat first. I have had family members come stay at my house and keep me company and have coffee with me and bathe my kids with me. I have been hugged and loved and encouraged in ways I have never before experienced, and through the bodies of His servants I have experienced the tangible love of Jesus. The reality that Jesus uses His Church to be His hands and feet has finally planted itself in my heart and has inspired me to be Jesus for others.
1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Helpless and overwhelmed, I had no choice but to cast my cares on Christ, and He cared for me. He cared for me so well.
That being said, I have also witnessed this month what the love of Christ is not. Following the presidential election, I can no longer go on social media without my stomach going sour. Here is the sneaky, deceptive thing about social media: it allows people to slice with their words without having to look someone in the eyes and see the pain they have caused. People are able to hide behind their iPhones and computers and write hurtful, divisive statements that don’t reflect Jesus’ love. I have witnessed friendships being torn apart because of one comment on a Facebook thread—I can’t help but wonder if that would have happened so easily if the two parties had been speaking face to face…and I am not talking about the rest of the world.
I am talking about us, Church.
Jesus was not merely a man of words, but a man of action. He is not our Redeemer because of what He promised…He is our Redeemer because He physically came to earth, suffered through a perfectly obedient life as He loved the lowest society had to offer, and died an excruciating death on the cross in order to take the Father’s wrath on Himself so that we could be righteous. He is our Redeemer because His promises are true. The thick holes in His hands, feet, and side prove that Jesus was and is an active lover of His people.
Why then are some in His Church so vocal on Facebook but they don’t feed the hungry? Why are some so quick to tweet their opinions but don’t invite neighbors into their home? Is it more important to talk politics via the internet, or to actively love the people we disagree with? Why do some Church members only have Christian friends and dismiss everyone else?
I cannot answer these questions for myself without shame. (And I totally get the irony that this a blog I post on Facebook…)
But I have seen Jesus. Recently, He has reminded me through His saints what His love is truly like. It is patient and kind. It is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful. It finds people in their time of need and holds their babies when they are too tired.
Christians are trying so hard to be the mouth of Christ, when He has already spoken. We are called to be His body. So let’s put down the phones…unless we are going to call old friends and ask forgiveness and invite them over and hug them and make cookies for them. Let’s love others unconditionally and with hearts desiring to serve. Just as Jesus would.