What heart-wrenching, God-glorifying stories we’ve read over these past 13 days! I wonder if some of you reading are asking “How can my story compare to that?” or maybe you’re asking “Can I even obtain that kind of closeness to Christ without experiencing a similar event in my life?” or perhaps fear is starting to grip you that God may call you to a similar suffering for His name’s sake.
When Sarah was compiling the list of people to share over the 30 days, she had a feeling these types of questions may be raised, so I was asked to share what it’s like to be a Pastor’s wife. Hearing different struggles, pains, and sufferings, almost on a daily basis, and how that can affect a soul.
I believe it wasn’t until the age of 18 that I came to realize I couldn’t “fix” every situation. And over the years, God has shown me that despite my “fix-it” personality, it most likely isn’t my role. I’ve come to learn that my role is to bear the burden with my brother or sister in Christ.
To walk in the mess.
To cry with them.
To encourage the down and out.
To sit and listen, to pray, to share insight when appropriate, to love and to say “I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this kind of pain” (and truly mean it).
Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Paul is calling us (Christians) to “carry or pick up” one another’s burdens, and by doing so, we are fulfilling the command of Christ-by not only loving God, but also loving our brother.
1 John 4:21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
It’s not about comparing our stories or fearing we may be called to that kind of pain. It’s about fulfilling the commands of Christ. After all, it’s not our story anyway. We just get the joy of playing a tiny role in God’s ultimate story about Him! Praise God!
A multitude of reasons can be given as to why we don’t desire carrying other’s burdens. Having our own struggles, the heaviness of the situation, feeling ill-equipped to help, or just not taking the time out of our busy lives. At times, I give the same excuses, yet I know by living out God’s command, it has grown my faith, caused me to study God’s character more, challenged my faith and changed my perspective.
No longer can I look at my daughter the same, knowing a friend was to have a daughter her very age but doesn’t due to a miscarriage.
No longer can I complain of family fighting over time spent with my kids, when many families don’t have a loving and caring family to lean on.
No longer can I speak of hunger, desperation, shelter or even laundry the same, after seeing first hand what a third world country endures.
No longer can I worship my creator the same after seeing redemption of a lost soul awakened into a follower and lover of Christ.
I could go on and on. My moments of self-pity are quickly corrected by the Holy Spirit’s whispers. He provides a gentle nudge of the burden of another and ultimately of the suffering Christ endured for our sake, so that we may have eternal life with Him.
So, thank you, ladies, who have shared and who will share in these remaining 16 days. Not only are you displaying the gospel by living for Him through the struggles of life, but you’re allowing others to carry out the gospel and fulfill the law by carrying your burden.
Amber Berry lives in West Virginia with her husband, Mike, and two beautiful children: Eli and Savannah. She leads the Women’s Ministry at First Baptist Church in Williamstown where her husband is an associate pastor. She has a special gift for and love of photography, but her main focus is ministering with Mike and being a wife and mom. You can connect with Amber on Twitter.
As I sat down to describe my connection to Amber, I had too much to say yet not enough. I am blessed to be her friend. She and her husband, Mike, have walked with me and my husband, Steve, through many difficult seasons. She’s listened and intervened. She’s supported and corrected. She’s certainly practiced what’s she “preached”: walking in the mess, crying, encouraging, and sympathizing. She’s bared my burdens – and the burdens of many others – and loved me anyway.
I knew Amber would be perfect to post at this point in the month. Almost all the women sharing have suffered…greatly. Amber and I have talked in the past about whether or not you have to experience “rock bottom” to understand the magnitude of God’s love, grace, and mercy. To be intimate with Him, you definitely have to come to the end of yourself. But, what does that “end” look like? It’s not the same for everyone.
And, that’s why our God is so awesome. He knows what it will take for each of his sheep. We don’t have to fear or worry. He’s in control. He authors all stories.
I am thankful to Amber for sharing. From (literally) day one, she has encouraged and supported my writing in this space, and I remember and am thankful fo rher and her encouragement on the days I entertain giving up.
We both encourage you to join this conversation. We’d love to hear you thoughts!