By Maridel Sandberg, TFG President/CEO
Are you feeling like I often do these days?
Do you measure up like you think you should?
Did you drop those pounds?
Did you make it to the gym three times this week?
Did you follow the rules in that parenting book?
Did you miss your mom’s birthday?
What other “failures” have you faced today?
How many times have you just felt like, “I will never measure up?”
I know you know this feeling. It’s something we’re all familiar with in one way or another.
Do you feel it to the depths of your soul like I do?
Our human nature has a way of just beating ourselves up due to the unmet expectations we place on ourselves or that others place on us. Some days, the expectations feel so heavy that I feel HOPELESS.
When we minister to struggling moms and host their children, it is easy to fall into the trap of expectations.
I’ve said this myself and heard it from others, “I will host that mom’s child, as long as someone holds her accountable.” Or, “Who is going to check in on the mom while I watch her child?”
What if the mom you serve doesn’t meet your expectations?
When I’m training in new volunteer host families, I often ask them this question:
“How many of you have lost 40 pounds in two weeks?”
Unsurprisingly, no one raises their hands. It’s a good illustration of the heavy expectation we sometimes knowingly or unknowingly put on these sweet mamas who are reaching out for help.
I can’t imagine how it would feel if someone told me, “I will only volunteer to help if I can see a change in you. I want to be able to prove to others that my staying up all night with your crying child was ‘worthwhile.’”
It’s UNREALISTIC and UNLOVING. And it’s not where I want my heart to be.
The truth is none of us will measure up.
I won’t. You won’t. She won’t.
At Together for Good we believe that when a precious mom reaches out and bravely asks for help, it is a divine opportunity for her to taste and experience the love of God in and through us. This love that is defined in Scripture as, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).
Not once we cleaned up. Not once we followed all the rules. Rather, while we were still sinners…
We love because he first loved us, before we ever deserved it. He fills us with His love and we pour it out on those around us. Unconditionally, because that’s what He did for us. Next time you are ministering to someone, ask yourself, “Am I being loving? Am I coming alongside this family with patience and kindness?”
So let’s change the measuring stick, and let’s keep it simple. Let’s love first, with the love that Christ showed us, and let Him do the hidden work in each heart as we simply say yes and follow Him on this wild life adventure.
May Jesus teach us how to love better every day we are on this earth…and I praise God for His unrelenting grace as we learn and grow together.