This past Saturday was my mom’s birthday, and I’ve gotta say…she’s a pretty amazing lady. One of the things I most admire about my mom is her is desire to love and serve others, and how she’s done that faithfully and consistently throughout her life.
In just the few decades I’ve known her, she (along with my dad) has welcomed hundreds (literally hundreds) of people into her home including international students, Bible college students in need of housing, missionary families, a huge assortment of people who needed temporary housing, and numerous foster children, some with special needs. She has given countless hours to various things like Meals on Wheels, hospice care, home health, and to individuals and families in need of a meal or caregiver. She has traveled the world learning about the needs of others and serving those she visited in whatever way she could. She even cares a lot about stewarding the environment well (one of her dream jobs would’ve been to be a park ranger). She’s done all this while being a great wife and mom and grandma.
None of this happened all at once, of course. She’s lived these things out, year after year, by just seeking out and taking hold of the opportunities, big and small, that came her way to love and serve those who crossed her path.
In the midst of another turbulent week in our country, this kind of long-haul faithfulness both challenges and encourages me, and I think it has something to say to both sides of the political divide.
If you are unsure of the future, dismayed at current events, and frustrated by the actions of those in power, this kind of faithfulness tells us to maintain perspective and live out what we believe anyway. God is sovereign and good before, during, and after the storm. We must trust Him and the love He has for us in Christ, not losing hope or wringing our hands in frenzied worry. And we must ask Him to help us live compassionately and purposefully in the circle of influence He’s given us, not just in the big flash points of history where it seems vitally important, but also daily and consistently, year after year.
And if you are thinking that things are looking up and going your way, faithful living challenges us to not to idolize or settle for our own comfort and happiness, and not to place our hope in the temporary reign of a single president. It challenges us to extend the peace and happiness we have to others, getting out of our comfort zone to love and serve others, because that’s what Christ did for us.
My mom has lived out this trust in God and love in action, and she’s done this regardless of who was president, regardless of who controlled Congress, amidst conflict and turmoil and the ongoing culture wars, and amidst happiness and prosperity and peace. Through all of life’s ups and downs, she’s loved the people God’s placed in her life simply because He loved her first and because He is a good and sovereign God. I am deeply thankful for her faithfulness and example.
*The picture at the top of this post is my mom in my childhood backyard, hosting one of many international student gatherings I remember. The two guys at the table sitting on the left were international students, and represent just two of the countless people who have lived under her welcoming roof over the decades.