A couple years ago, God placed this deep desire for discipleship on my heart. At the same time, he was working in the heart of a friend of mine on that very thing. We both felt passionate to share the gospel with the women around us in a very real and tangible way. Everywhere I looked were women in despair, hopelessness, frustration, and numb to the world around them. My heart just wanted to cry out to them, to let them know Christ who heals all unbearable, and seemingly unbreakable wounds.
So we started focusing on discipleship with the premise of “twelve” – that Jesus had twelve that he walked through life with and so we didn’t need to evangelize the whole town or city or state, but just twelve. That seemed reasonable. Of course, we also realized that our husbands and our children took up a number of those slots in our lives. But the rest of the slots we were eager to intentionally fill.
I thought the extra slots would be the most difficult to focus on – to consistently and intentionally invest into the lives of other woman when I had so many responsibilities already.
But I discovered two things I hadn’t expected…
First, I discovered was that it was so much easier to share God’s mercy and love with someone in a very tangible way than I thought. So many women just want to be heard – to know they matter. And we don’t have to do that with organized Bible studies or coffee dates. It can be a simple text, or an email. A call every other week on the phone. It could be a small gift of a new journal or Bible. Or just offering to watch the child of a single mom so they can have some quiet time. It was so easy and rewarding to foster these relationships.
The second thing I discovered was how hard (in comparison), it was to do the same with my children. With the other women, I didn’t have to feel responsible in disciplining them – I could just pray for them and allow God to work on their hearts. It was so much easier to be less pressured for a correction in behavior than it is for my own child. At home, I had to encourage children to do something they really don’t want to do. And sometimes that left me frustrated. And tired. And less-than encouraging.
Children are such a true refining tool. They rub us raw to reveal to us our insecurities, or selfishness, and our impatience. But they also show us that God is alive in us – when we give more than we know we could on our own… When we are patient even though we might be justified in our impatience… When we shrug off an offense we know we would struggle to forgive if left to our own…
And the reality is that God calls us to both – to love the woman down the street, and the girl-growing-fast in our homes. To encourage the boys begging for stories on our laps and encourage that Boy united with me by God as one flesh. We enter into discipleship when we step in to whatever God places in our path that day, and rely on His grace and truth to be our guide.
I am so thankful his mercies are new every morning, and that He has promised to equip me and you for this task.
May we follow Christ faithfully, live life boldly, and love others passionately for His glory!