If you know me, you know I believe hospitality extends far beyond the table. It's a posture and lifestyle -- the intention we make to show up, lean in, and offer full presence in the places we dwell. It's the effort to love people fully and support them through hardships, disappointment, and pain.
A large part of "showing up" involves carrying each other's burdens. We hear this one a lot but I ache to know what it actually looks like in action. How do we put this into practice? And what does it feel like to others when we do?
In efforts to grow in this, I'm opening our space up to other voices. We can learn so much from each others stories.
Heather and I went to High School together and reconnected a few years ago when she was living near my parents. She has an infectious smile & beautiful singing voice. She is a friend, sister, daughter & mother. Heather writes honestly about the power of community in walking through a divorce and the resiliency of the human spirit. I've been so inspired by her story and the ways her people have rallied around her. I couldn't help but ask if she'd offer a few words right here for us.
Lucky for us, she said yes.
what does "Carry each other's burdens" mean to you?
Prayer and practicality. The two p’s.
If we do not spend time in the quiet, praying for others we are only a show. Prayer is an opportunity to truly bear a burden -- your own personal time, time you could spend however you choose, but you choose to spend it sending God’s will and love another person’s way.
Practicality. Give what they need. Isolate a specific area of need and provide.
what does it look & feel like in action?
The two P’s in action: I wouldn't be where I am if my girls had not prayed into what was best for me. When they heard my husband had left me, that I was looking for a new place to live, they gathered and prayed that I would enter into the community that would become my new family.
They knew, what I believe was the holy spirit in them, that I needed a village, and that's what they were. I just so happened, without any knowledge of their prayers, to move into the very neighborhood they were praying me into. They prayed for strength, I received it. They prayed for opportunity, it was given. They prayed for vulnerability, it was birthed.
The second more practical piece is an action. They took action in my life. They saw a need and they delivered. I would hand them my work schedule and between them, they would figure out who was watching my children on which days. I didn't have enough in me to take care of this technicality, so they saw to it. When I was empty, they filled a space that allowed me the freedom to just be. To rest. They were my anchor. When the waves of grief and pain attempted to sink my spirit, they held on with such veracity. The grief was no match for their immense strength. I was tethered, they had a hold on me and without them I fear I would have been lost.
What did you find most kind?
Saying you are not alone and not letting someone BE alone, are two very different things. I don't mean that my people were with me every single second of the day, but when I needed them, they were there. Plain and simple.
has your view of“carry each other's burdens” changed or stayed the same?
It is an honor to carry a burden with someone. There is trust there. Trust is invaluable. It does not come easily. When I made the choice to trust the women in my life to love me, I let go of responsibility to please them. It was authentic. It was real. Authenticity is the sweetest aroma. It attracts people, even when it’s sadness, it draws people in because we all know what that smells like. You are like me and I am like you will never push people away.
This is the exact relationship the Father longs to have with us. When we are mad He wants us to tell him. When we are overwhelmed, he wants us to ask for help. Its real, it’s honest, it’s us. Our hearts are way more important to God and to the people who love us than our circumstances. If our hearts are open, we give others and God the opportunity to have purpose. To do what we are meant to do. To carry things for each other.
I'm so grateful to Heather and her story. Let's leave her some love & encouragement below!