The other day I was asked how I did it. How did I go through the journey with my son who was sick and then two teens who, bless their hearts, needed to walk the road they walked. I got sick, then my husband got sick.
Part of the process I lived is described in six steps* with one bonus step. They aren’t “easy” but they do work. How? I and many others before me have tested it. What I’ve found to be the foundation to all of this is love, sincere love.
1 – Love must be sincere. Sincere is to have no pretense, no deceit, it is to be honest and genuine. What does honest, genuine love do? Sincere love doesn’t look to build itself up rather it builds those around it up. Sometimes sincere love does require vulnerability. The open, honest, raw sort that takes a risk because the relationship is that important.
2 – Sincere love practices hospitality. Practicing hospitality can be done with one’s own family or spouse. It doesn’t always need to be those who don’t live with you. Try it. Bring someone a cup of tea, or make a snack or meal, asking them to join you with candlelight and soft music. Of course one can open their door to a stranger, friend or extended family as well. This practice of hospitality requires you to check how other’s lives are, reminding you there is a big world out there and life is continuing to go on. At the same time you get to focus on serving someone else which has the potential to divert one’s attention, breathing life into a troubled spirit.
3 – Sincere love blesses others even when they aren’t being kind. Responding to a kind gesture or word in blessing is one thing but it’s an entirely different thing to bless someone who is not kind. By blessing others we essentially show respect to ourselves, not allowing others to tear us down and be in charge of our lives.
4- Sincere love rejoices with those who rejoice. This is a tough one but incredibly freeing. When we are navigating rough waters and make a choice to rejoice in someone’s good fortune, it gives us more of an ability to grab on to hope. Even to allow ourselves relief from the situation we are in even if just momentarily.
5 – Sincere love weeps with those who weep. I find that being with those who are hurting when going through a difficult season myself is somewhat comforting, it isn’t scary. Depending on your situation this may not be the time to be hands on offering service to those in need. Just be present.
6 – Sincere love wants to, and tries to always live at peace with everyone as much as it depends on you. Do this and sleep at night! Give those cares to God in prayer if you’ve done all you can and the other person is not willing to make peace.
Bonus #7 – We all have experiences that are not positive, that have taken us “through the wringer,”so to speak. It’s often these experiences that can be used to bless others, to bring us to a new place in life, a place we never thought possible. Look for ways to use your experience even while you are in it, if you have the strength. You know you best.
What do you think? Do you have something you would like to add to the above practices? Let me know.
It is my hope that you will find freedom to move forward from wherever you are in life. If you require some understanding or coaching around this don’t hesitate to reach out.
With love & understanding,