friends

The Four Friends: A Lesson in Compassion

I read in the book of Mark today a very familiar story. It’s the one about the paralytic who had some pretty amazing friends. Jesus was speaking to a crowd so large that there wasn’t even room to enter through the front door. No elbow room here. The man could not get in to see Jesus because he was physically unable to move his own body. That was the first challenge. The second problem came in the form of a crowded room. He had friends, though. Friends who knew his deep need, knew that Jesus could help him, and cared so profoundly for him that they had to get him to Jesus.

When the front door didn’t work, they resorted to the roof. They “removed the roof above where He was. And when they had broken through, they lowered the mat on which the paralytic was lying”. These friends had some unshakeable faith and some serious tenacity. They literally would not take “no” for an answer when it came to getting their friend to Jesus.

Big Faith

As I read this encounter this morning, I was struck by the following verse: “Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven.'”  This is followed by words directed at the Pharisees in response to their questioning whether or not Jesus had any right to forgive sins. Leave it to the Pharisees to have an argument while a man comes through the roof! Jesus then heals the man.

Let’s go back to the faith part. The faith of the friends.I think these four friends are pretty spectacular. They gave up their day and physically worked hard to get their friend to Jesus. Even though seeing Jesus was impossible, they found a way. I get the impression that these friends knew the paralytic very well. Perhaps they had watched him live with this disability and had felt his pain with him.

Bring Them To Jesus

I want to be like them. I want to be the type of friend who has lived with the needs of others and loves them so deeply that, no matter the obstacles, I’m bringing them to Jesus, especially, when they have no strength to do so on their own. When my friends are strapped for faith, I want to carry the load. I want to know them so well, that I actually know when they are in need.

Are They Really “My People”?

Can I be this for the people I so enthusiastically call “my people”? Am I willing to inconvenience myself for the benefit of a friend or a neighbor? Am I willing to be inconvenienced for the sake of my friends’ spiritual, physical, or emotional well-being? I may not tear a physical roof off a building or lower them down on a mat but can my friends count on my prayers of faith to hold them up when they are too weak to pray for themselves? Can they count on that text message of encouragement or the card in the mail that lifts their spirits? Can they rely on that meal or offer to babysit when they are too overwhelmed to know which way is up? Do my actions reflect those of the 4 friends? Or do I spend my time, like the pharisees, focused on the law instead of on active compassion.

I want to be like the four friends. I really do.

Jesus,

Help me to live like the 4 friends lived. I want to live with sacrificial love as the banner of my heart. Help me to see beyond the every day inconvenience to the eternal impact of a simple text message or unexpected meal or card in the mail. May I find myself on my knees more than using my fingers to tap, tap the “I’ll pray for you” comments on Facebook.  May I truly know my neighbors and my friends to the point of knowing their needs and desires. Help me to walk with them through their most paralyzing days and rejoice with them in the miraculous days that follow. And when my faith waivers, may I be so richly blessed to benefit from the love, faith and strength of those carrying my mat and ripping off roofs to get me to Jesus. And like the man in the story, whether it’s my miracle or the miracle of a friend, may You be glorified.

Patty

On Being a Mom

Dom and Charlee

This weekend I will celebrate my  4th Mother’s day.  Dom was just 4 months old that first year. I knew very little about being a mom and admittedly know even less now two children later.

It’s amazing how time and children can strip away the knowledge you thought you had about being a parent.

Although my understanding of parenting has shrunk, my heart has most definitely grown.

I liken it to the Grinch at the end of the story. His heart grew three sizes when he experienced real love extended by those sweet little Who-Villagers.

My heart seems to grow every time I hear my son shout: “The sun is awake!”

my happy little boy

It stretches each moment as my koala baby girl clings tightly to me as she straddles my  left hip.

Charlee

And it swells when my children laugh.

my little boy

A few weeks ago, I witnessed my son’s first exposure to bullying. My momma bear claws came out, my blood literally boiled and I wanted to cry. I actually did. I never knew that I could love so fiercely.

All this love growing within me.

beautiful Charlotte Leigh

Even as I type this my son has his arms wrapped around me in an awkward choke hold that translates in his 3 year old language as: “I love you mommy”  and it’s uncomfortable and breathing seems to be optional but my heart is growing, ever increasing in size this very moment.

Being a mom isn’t glamorous.

A shower in private and brushing my teeth first thing becomes a luxury I rarely enjoy. Fixing my hair, doing my make up, having clothes that aren’t wrinkled all on the same day? That’s a rare treat.

But I wouldn’t trade all the designer jeans, the most stunning hairstyles, or finely manicured nails for this love that grows ever larger, stronger and fiercer day by day.

Dominic Truth and Charlotte Leigh, you are the reason I bear the prestigious  title of Mommy and I love you big as the world!

 

Dom and Charlee