I intended to entitle this article, “We’re All on the Same Boat,” but as I began to formulate my thoughts and feelings, I realized there are many moms who are not on the boat at all. Many moms are floundering in the waves not knowing where to get their next gulp of air. And many are sinking alone in an ocean of pain.
And while I’d like to write to those who struggle alone, and one day, I hope I will, for those of us on the boat, I say, who will pull them aboard?
We are all mothers. We gave birth in pain and fear, we realized an overpowering love for our child, we struggled to do our best — to raise them to obey, to be kind, to love others, and ultimately to love God. But not one of us is exactly like another. We all have shortcomings, we all have sinned, and we all have made mistakes, big mistakes. Some of us are better at covering them up than others, some of us keep our dirt inside, and others share openly with a twist of “look how far I have come.”
And we all have different resources. Some have financial blessings, some have a supportive family, some have amazing friends, and some have a wonderful church. But some, a great portion, have none of these things. And for those of us who do, do we consider that when we make our judgmental comments?
“There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?” ~ James 4:12
Some mothers have lost their parents, have abusive husbands, have children incarcerated, and have no food in their pantry. Some have valid deep emotional pain, of which they cannot share. They aren’t polished. They swear sometimes. They smoke cigarettes. They can’t afford to meet for lunch. They don’t have a car. They don’t have a babysitter. They know they are a mess on the outside, and they desperately want to get it together, but they don’t know how. Their hearts are yearning for help and love and encouragement, and the door is closed in their face every time they turn around.
“Do you see, do you see, all the people sinking down, don’t you care, don’t you care, are you gonna let them drown? How can you be so numb, not to care if they come? You close your eyes and pretend the job’s done.” ~ Keith Green
So now you’re thinking, “Yes, I see what you’re saying . . . I’m sorry I never noticed or saw it like that . . . what can be done? What should I do?”
The church has fantastic intentions. “We can pick you up, we have free childcare, come for a pot luck dinner, if you can’t bring a dish it’s no problem, we have plenty. We have MOPS, we have Ladies Bible Study, we have Sunday school.” All of these are amazing tools that open the door and offer opportunity for building relationships, but it’s not enough. The church is an entity, but God uses individuals.
The only real way to rescue the sinking, and pull them aboard is through love. Is through viewing our fellow moms with compassionate eyes, realizing, if not for the grace of God, we too would be sinking fast. And compassion cannot be faked. True compassion hurts. True compassion prompts action.
Does your heart hurt enough for this sinking mom to cause you to pray? To pick up the phone? To give some time? And as you reach out, is love for this one growing in your heart? Do you want to pull them in and offer the comfort of a friend? Genuine friendship?
In a friendship, do we preach, “repent!”? Do we only invite a friend to church to receive a pat on the back from the pastor? Or do we treasure our friends, and send them little encouraging notes? Look forward to spending time with them? Listen to their problems and cry with them, listen to their victories and cheer loudly for them? Bare our soul so they know we understand, and offer help in a practical way if they have a need? This is the way to rescue. This is the way to love and build bridges of friendships that withstand the test of time.
To love is to give. To love is to be like Christ.
And if they are in sin, what does our Father tell us to do?
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” ~ Galations 6:1, NIV
Restoration is a process, it takes time. It takes more love and more tears and more prayers.
And what is our motive? To rescue? Yes! But also to love, to be an active vessel of the Lord, pouring out to others what He has given to us. We receive the blessing of being used by Jesus to comfort another.
So to all of us moms out there I say, be a member of the Coast Guard. Be a rescuer. Be a friend. Make it a lifestyle. Our children are watching us, and see examples of compassion.
If we want to raise up children who are rescuers, we must first become ones ourselves.