Sometimes it’s a headache after a particularly trying discussion with your 14 year old about why, in fact, he is NOT going to do what he wants to do but will instead do what you’ve asked him to do and then he huffalumps around the kitchen to let you know how totally disgruntled he is with your parenting until he finally goes to bed. (insert me rolling my eyes behind his back)
Sometimes it’s a heartache when you and your spouse aren’t seeing eye to eye and cross words are exchanged and the tension creates distance. Which, in the heart of this woman, feels like love has sailed across the ocean, taking your ordinarily handsome and wonderful husband with it. And even though you know it isn’t true, it still feels sad until one of you says I’m sorry and the making up can begin.
Sometimes it’s the aches and pains of working hard to clean a house that will only be dirty again momentarily. But hey, aching back- at least my bathtubs are clean for now!
But, for tonight, as real as these are, I want to encourage you to remember these are first world problems. There are other problems that women face, here in the US or around the world, that make my hurts look really small. There are mother’s grieving because they haven’t had any food to feed their hungry children in days and days. There are women sold into the slavery of sex traffic, and every day their bodies are used for someone else’s purposes. There are women in homeless shelter’s because they had no where to go to get away from their abusive husband’s with no means to make a living and no tangible idea of how to start over.
One of the principals presented in Titus 2:4-5 is kindness. It is taking action upon the feeling of compassion. It is recognizing hurt and need in others and responding to it. We were sitting at the kitchen table tonight after church, and the above mentioned 14 year old asked why are we seeing so many shooting rampages, after hearing about the shooting at the Empire State Building. So we started talking about how as a society, people have no one to comfort them when they go through pain and they get alone and isolated and that pain can turn to hatred. Or how people get wounded by parents or friends and with no one to guide them toward healing, they naturally turn that destruction toward others over time. And of course, there is mental illness, addiction and selfishness that can play roles as well. At one point he just looked at us and said, “Well why don’t we help them before it gets to that?” Indeed.
Kindness is like ointment to emotional pain. It soothes and begins the healing. I recognize it’s hard to know where to start, but here are the places God is laying on my heart: with my husband and children; with my kids friends; with my immediate neighbors and community group and any time I hear of a person struggling and alone I am going to attempt some action of kindness as my response, instead of my usual “I’ll be praying for them”. This week alone I heard of two different single mother’s in difficult situations and have determined a tangible way to show them kindness that will hopefully point them toward the God who loved them enough to send His son for them. To remind them they are not alone and that God sees them, so He’s sending me as a messenger of that fact. With chicken casserolle, because after all, this is the South and kindness and cassrolle’s are intrinsically linked.