Girlfriends in God - Apr. 9, 2010

April 9, 2010 

Love Shows Up 

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth 
Galatians 5:13 "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love."

Friend To Friend 
The consensus is in. I am a great nurse but a lousy patient. I could not believe my ears when the surgeon finished her post-operative examination and said, "Everything is fine. You will be able to resume normal activities in three or four weeks. Until then, get plenty of rest and make sure that you do not lift anything heavy. "Surely I had heard her wrong. The surgery she had done the day before was not what I would call "serious." It was simply a new surgery to correct and repair an old surgery. It was no big deal. I was confident in the Southerland stamina but had generously given myself one whole week to recuperate. Maybe her problem was that she did not understand the meaning of "normal" in my life.

I normally teach a weekly Bible study at our church where my husband is the lead teaching pastor. As the women's ministry director, I normally oversee all of our women's events and was in the final stages of getting ready for our annual women's retreat we had been planning for months and was just ten days away. Our daughter and her eight-month-old son live with us while she is attending school and I am normally the main babysitter for this little hunk of joy - all 21 pounds of him - while mommy goes to class. When I asked the doctor what she meant by "heavy," she stopped the now irritating scribbling on the clipboard she held in her hand, peered over her glasses and firmly responded with "I mean you cannot lift anything over two or three pounds." I did not like her attitude. "What do you mean when you said I have to get a lot of rest?" I pressed. Again, her steely eyes met mine as she responded, "I mean rest. Sleep, read, and take it easy. Your body needs time to heal." No matter what question I asked or how I asked it, her answer did not change.

Have you ever seen your life flash before your eyes? I began to think about the different areas of my life and the responsibilities each one held. When the surgeon left the room, I sat on that cold hard examination table and wondered how I was going to handle her ridiculous mandate and more importantly, how could the people in my world possibly survive without me for four whole weeks? I could see our daughter being forced to drop out of school, the retreat being cancelled and my Bible study going down the tube while I was recovering. My family would starve to death, walk around in filthy clothes and live in a dirty house because I had to rest. Nonsense! I am tough. I can handle it. Over the next few weeks, I was quickly and brutally reminded just how frail the human body can be. I was also reminded of my struggle with pride and with asking for and accepting help from other people. I am the one who is supposed to be doing the helping.

It has been several weeks since the surgery, and I am still recovering and still have to spend a lot of time resting. Danna aced her final, guest speakers have blessed the women attending my Bible study and the retreat for over 250 women was awesome and came off without a hitch. People in our church have brought meals, kept our grandson, and even volunteered to do our laundry. My sister has called almost every day to check on me and make sure I am being "good." My sweet husband has waited on me with such kindness and tenderness. Our daughter has cleaned house, done the laundry, run errands and taken time each day to make me laugh. Our son and daughter-in-law have sent care packages filled with my favorite candles, chocolate, pictures of our grandchildren and the beautiful cards they made so Mimi can "get well faster." Through it all, I have been reminded of several important truths:

I am a frail human who is indispensable to no one but God.

God created us to need each other.

God is delighted when we serve one another.

God is not pleased when we allow pride and self-sufficiency to prevent us from accepting help when we really need it.

Love is not a feeling.

Love is a verb.

One of the most special Christmas gifts we received this year was a beautifully framed etching that simply said, "Love shows up." Those three words have taken on a completely new meaning in my life over the past few weeks. I encourage you to join me in a new commitment to show God's love by reaching out to someone in need. And if you are the one in need, lay down your pride and let God love you through the service of others.

Let's Pray 
Father, how I love You! Thank You for reminding me of Your faithfulness to meet every need in my life. I confess my pride and choose against my human tendency to think that I am self-sufficient. Help me learn how to share Your love with others in need but also help me learn how to receive Your love with a gracious and humble heart.

In Jesus' name, 

Now It's Your Turn 
Ask God to help you become more aware of opportunities to share His love with others.

Examine your heart. Do you have the attitude of a servant? Are you willing to serve others?

Are you willing to be served by others?

Is there any pride in your heart that would keep you from serving others or from being served? Are you willing to confess that pride and cultivate a humble attitude?

More From The Girlfriends 
I am a slow learner when it comes to asking for and allowing others to help me. I was raised to be independent and strong - both of which are good things - except when they become roadblocks to God's work in my life. Can you relate? Today, I am celebrating the fact that I am a member of the family of God. I am often needy but never alone. Girlfriend, we say the same thing to you as a Girlfriend in God. We love you.  We want to serve you and we are here for you.  Blessings!

FREE MP3.  Do not let the enemy or your own heart tell you that you are not good enough to be used by God to serve others. Check out this MP3, "Can God Really Use Me?" Download, save and enjoy.

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Originally published Friday, 09 April 2010.