“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” – Psalm 42:11, NIV
As we have been talking about Authentic Community, The Lonesome Mother, and The Legacy of the Lonesome Mother, I have had on mind to talk about hope. I mentioned in the last post on this topic, that I in no way advocate finding our “fulfillment” for loneliness in other people. Yes, we were made for community–to be an active member of the Body of Christ. And when we are not in relationship with, serving and experiencing authentic relationships there will be a hole in our lives. A hole that is created by not fulfilling one of our lives purposes… to serve and love our neighbor. If we are not loving our neighbor, our brother, the household of Christ, what are spending our time loving? Only ourselves. If we put all our love and energy only into our immediate family (our marriage and children), though it is our first call, it is still self-serving isn’t it. Because we ultimately do view our family as “ours.” We need to pursue some kind of balance in this and model it for our children.
Side note for young moms:
It is the hardest when children are little. It is easy to give ourselves an excuse that because our children are little and it is so much more “work” for us to “do it all” then hospitality (for example) can be done when they get older. I would caution young mothers away from allowing themselves to use this as an excuse not to be hospitable. Why? Because hospitality will always be difficult or “work.” When your children get older they have schedules of their own that make finding time difficult. But if you have developed the habit and trained everyone’s mindset to being one of placing value and importance upon fellowship and service from the time they are young… this aspect of community will be easier.
So we have established the importance of pursuing community and authentic fellowship…
but honestly… we still have a problem. The Lonesome Mother’s only hope will be found in a deepening relationship with her Savior and Friend Jesus. One cannot experience the kind of authentic relationships I am referring to–relationships of sharing what you are reading and learning, growing and praying for one another, encouraging and supporting one another and exhorting one another–without having that depth in yourself. That depth comes from a walk of growing in the knowledge and understanding of His Word and in experiencing relationship with the Lord.
One cannot share wisdom of the Lord with a friend in need if they do not know the wisdom of the Lord.
One most likely will not have the confidence to pray over a friend in mourning so eagerly and naturally if they do not pray regularly in quite. The reality is that the relationships that the lonely mother so desires… the truly God glorifying and intimate ones have a foundation of personal strength in a relationship with the Lord Himself first.
The hope for the lonely mother is in Jesus.
1) Pursue God with your whole heart… fall in love with Jesus as your best friend. Like that old Jars of Clay song… “I want to fall in love with you.” Yearn for Him, find fulfillment in knowing Him and having authentic communion with God. Hear His wisdom, be led by His Spirit in prayer as you talk with Him, weep before Him and experience His peace and comfort.
2)Then pursue and pray for like-minded relationships. Serve and be served. Love others deeply, be an open book. Rejoice with those who are experiencing the Lord’s blessings, mourn with those who are experiencing calamity, support and cheer on those who are pursuing to serve God, and encourage those who are struggling to see their purpose or who have no confidence in Him. Ask God to bring those friendships into your life and to grow them at His pace. Ask Him to bring friends to walk the race with you, others who can mentor you and those you can mentor. This picture is a healthy one.
All my life I have experienced God teaching me on this topic of friendship.
When I was truly experienced the Lord draw my heart to His personally I was 15 years old. That song I mentioned above by Jars of Clay became my cry, my yearning. As I listened to it over and over and over again, singing, meditating, and praying it to God, I experienced God fill my heart with contentment and I did not need anyone. However, God burdened my heart for others to experience Him deeply in their own way as well… sharing this new relationship I had found in Jesus with others and what I was learning became the foundation of my closest friendships. And the other friendships seemed so trivial, so purposeless. But as I grew in my faith, I realized there was purpose for them as well… it was to encourage and show them about the depth that can be experienced.
We cannot rely on others to fulfill our needs or our loneliness. Only God can do that. But He also designed us for authentic relationship with others too.
I feel the need to share this scripture passage with you, Colossians 3:3-14:
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.“
We have a hope that is stored up for us in heaven, but our faith and love can spring up from it and bear fruit now.
Though our hope is in the promise of what is to come, if we truly understand that grace, that promise, the hope that is found in those will spring forth a love and faith that we can share with the world today. This is our hope sisters.