Apostolic Families: A Mother's Shepherding Moment
by Kristen Hutchinson
I am up early on a day when I could be sleeping in. These days are few and far between now as our life has drastically changed over the last few years. But I must write...
I went to bed last night with a heavy heart. "No one" sat by my girl on the bus. This isn't something I wanted to hear after we picked her up from a very LONG tournament day of volleyball games. I asked the usual questions and said the same things as this wasn't the first time she has slumped into the car and muttered these first words. Somehow, my nudging about how that must have been nice to have a seat to herself for sleeping fell flat. What it really boiled down to is that she didn't have a friend to talk to. Being a former band nerd, I know those long bus rides, and having a seat to yourself is king. Having a friend to talk to while you sit on the edge of your seat is even better. We did all the usual back and forth about being a good friend even when no one seems to be your friend. I even asked her if she wanted to quit, but there's a fierce determination in that girl who shook her head and said a resounding, "NO." So, we did the only logical thing on a late Saturday night when you're too tired to even eat ice cream. We prayed and kissed goodnight.
There's a lot of back story here that does matter but should not. I am an over-thinker. I know we are new here. It's a very small town, and we've only lived here 3 years. We homeschool. We are from a totally different culture. We are not the same church affiliation as most. The list could go on, but my thinking cannot. I get stuck after all this thinking. The one thing that rings over and over and over: IT SHOULD NOT BE THIS WAY.
It is a slap you in the face type moment when you see your child hurting.
Maybe it hurts worse because we know what being well loved feels like. We know what it feels like so well that we almost had no idea what brokenness felt like anymore. We were so far gone into the good country that we forgot what it looks like to those who haven't experienced the richness of God's love that we have.
So, it hits me hard this morning from God's word: We love because He first loved us. He knew the ultimate loneliness, and He died and rose again so that we would not have to experience that ultimate loneliness forever. Now, He beckons us to that same call to die to ourselves in an over and over again type way. He modeled the ultimate way to love, and His love involved DYING.
This is the thing that needs to be what I over-think on: how are we dying today so that others will know the greatest Love? Maybe yesterday it meant serving a bunch of middle schoolers breakfast burritos, closing our business for a day, driving 6 hours, and laying a sad little girl to sleep. Because here's the deal- they won their very first games of the season yesterday, but that is not what she cared about. The caring is what she cared about.
His love demands that we show His love to others and live to care for one another.
He may give us hard moments where showing that kind of love is the among the most difficult thing we do. Surely that's why dying is called dying. Less of me. More of Him.
We have made plenty of mistakes, and we will have many more mess ups ahead. We will get parenting wrong sometimes. We will react wrongly. We will show unkindness at times. We will want to be selfish. However, I know that it's not supposed to be this way. I know a greater love because I have been loved by it. We have been loved by it. We have lived long years in the rich love of Christ centered community, and I want others to know that same good place so desperately. That love is what compels us to stay in the hard places when it would seem easier to leave.
That love is what I tell my girls about when they are sad that life is hard here.
That love is what I preach to myself when I am sad and long for my far away friends who love Jesus so much and loved us so well. This kind of love is worth dying for because it is what makes life worth living.
Oh, Jesus! May we live our lives within the reality of how sad it will be for those who don't know you and the love you love us with. Please turn our hurt in times of loneliness into what eternal loneliness will feel like for those who don't know you. Help us die well so that others can truly live.
I’m Kristen Hutchinson, wife to Brandon and mother of 2 teenage daughters. Our family now lives in New Mexico using our cafe business to build God’s kingdom. Or as our youngest daughter Clara says ,“Oh she’s sweet but a psycho.”