Last year, I participated in a refugees mom’s group, and I realized that alongside getting to know their new babies, these brave women were also getting to know a new country and new way of life. It is these women that I pictured when I read Zechariah 7 this week:
“Treat one another justly.
Love your neighbors.
Be compassionate with each other.
Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, and the poor.“
Upon reading these verses, I prayed for wisdom and compassionate hearts for our country’s leaders. Yet I also desired work in my own heart – how am I to love my neighbor, the visitors and poor in my city? How am I to love those brave refugee women?
On a run later that afternoon, I approached the top of a hill with a view of Atlanta’s skyscrapers. As I looked at the clouds descending on the tall buildings, I thought that perhaps I needed to ask an even loftier question: How am I poor, an orphan, and a sojourner?
Jesus tells us that whenever we feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, provide a room for the homeless, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned that we do so unto him: “Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.”
It’s important to consider how are we doing these acts of mercy for others. Yet alongside this question, we need to ask how we have been receivers of this same compassion.
I am a sojourner, trying to discern where I am headed.
I am an orphan when I forget that I am a child of God.
I am poor in spirit — or as one translation puts it: at the end of my rope. I need less of me and more of community to speak truth and life to me.
My small group at church is relaunching, so we took time this week to close out our current group with remembering the past year together. When the group started, Grant was only three months old, and I lacked confidence as a mom. Throughout the year, this amazing group of five ladies continually invited me into joy amidst a chaotic time and challenged me to remember the truth – that I am beloved and a child of God.
I was hungry for validation as a mom, and they gave me the bread of truth: I was created and equipped to be Grant’s mom – not in my power but in my Creator’s.
I was thirsty – drinking from an empty cup of self-doubt, and they reminded me of where my joy comes from.
I was naked – feeling vulnerable, and they clothed me with love and acceptance.
And I could go on…
Right before the Zechariah passage that I mentioned earlier, God affirms that he will usher in his peace and rest. This is the same rest in Genesis after God finishes creating the world and rests not from weariness but in satisfaction with his creation.
Let’s usher in this eternal hope to the present, beginning with our own soul and extending out to our homes, our neighbors, our world.