Empathy…the Gift that Keeps on Giving

by marfis75
by marfis75

I’m pretty sure at this point not a soul is reading this very long God Story that I’ve felt so inclined to pen. And if you are still here,  God bless you, you’re a warrior and friend.

In short…I asked, God spoke, I did. Thus this story (Part 1, Part 2Part 3 and Part 4).

I’m not sure whether to call this final part of the story a beginning or end. I guess it’s a little bit of both. It is an end to the thought that originated these last 4 posts and into this one. It is an end to some of my own personal testimony and story that I have never really written or told in full before.

It is also a beginning. It is the beginning of where I am now. It is my present process and purpose. It is the starting point for some life stories and God stories being formed and yet to come.

I am only beginning to see what and why and how…

I’ve come a long way from constant transition to an empathetic heart that keeps me up late at night (it’s 1:09am as I write this). I still struggle. I don’t do empathy perfectly I don’t even respond each time God asks. I find habits of transition alluring and easy and am not always able to stop wandering toward them.

But I’m trying. I’m starting by remembering.

Almost everyone I know, and definitely those I know well, I met because of transition. You see, when you’ve been through as many transitions as I have you can spot a person in transition from across the room. You can see it in their face, hear it in their words, sense it in their actions. You read it in between the lines of their Facebook posts and hear it during the breaths of their prayers.

And then I have a choice. Do I walk (or even run) the other way or do I engage. Do I become involved?

Ignoring is the easy thing to do. I can almost justify it. “This is their transition, not mine.” “Maybe God is trying to teach them through transition, I’ll just let Him do his thing.” Or “I managed just fine, so will they.”

Engaging is the hard thing to do. It means listening (often without comment or input) to someone as they try and work out their story, this is burden bearing.

It means that if God is using transition for a big change that maybe I’ll be involved now but post-transition I’m not needed, this is being a vessel, regardless of the length of need.

It means being fully who I am so the person transitioning knows they are not alone, even when I don’t feel like I have anything to give, this is being strong in The Lord for he gives life and breath.

Over and over again I’ve begun to engage. I’ve started to take the risk. And over and over again God has asked me to pour myself out only to fill me fuller than I was.

Several years ago I took a risk and colead a small group of parents with my husband. I felt inadequate, disconnected and totally not on the same page as the people in our group. I never felt like anyone was “getting it” when we first started, myself included, yet we continued on.

And what did God do? He poured me out. God just kept nudging. Call her, talk to her, say yes to her, sure you know your time with her is limited to the schooling her husband is in but ENGAGE ANYWAY.

And I did. And that mama did move away. But before she did God created a bond between us.

From afar, I have seen that mama add 2 more miracles to her family, be baptized into Jesus and love others in a way that is wider and deeper than even I can.

The mama who I was sure I had the least likely in common with not only became a survivor of her transition and thrived through huge transition but a friend. One who is a now constant encourager to me.

God asked me to pour out, to engage her transition, to live with her through it and in the end I was not tired or scared or hurt or lonely but FULL. Filled up with Spirit and love and compassion and I didn’t even ask for it! It was an unexpected gift.

That is grace.

No, it doesn’t always work out this way. I have followed God’s call towards people who have turned their backs or been filled and transitioned away or just weren’t interested in encouragement. Not every relationship is meant to be forever but I made a commitment to go where God calls and so I just keep pressing on when I hear Him.

I commit to engage those around me in transition not because I can or because it makes sense (I’m married with almost 4 kids – it’s not like I have endless free time!), not because it’s comfortable (short term relationships are hard and require quick and deep honesty, talk about uncomfortable) and not even always without fear (I’m human, I could really screw things up at any point!), but I engage because God gives us each a little piece of grace to pass on.

My grace is empathy in the midst of transition…He has wasted nothing of my past fears and failures but made it all His, all grace, all love.

In the end it’s all His. WE are all His.

So what keeps me up at night…what burdens me…it is you. It is the face of each woman that I sense is in transition, even if she doesn’t know it yet. It is your soul that God has etched on my heart.

And when God says engage…beware…I’ve gone all in. He is mine and I am His and you can be too.

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