Radical – relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough. Thorough. Complete. Total. Entire. Absolute. Utter. Comprehensive. Exhaustive. Sweeping. Far-reaching. Extensive. Drastic. Severe. Major. Desperate. Rigorous. Profound.
Over the course of the past few months, God has been stripping my heart down. He’s rebuilding and reshaping it with renewed eyes; renewed perspective; a renewed spirit.
We’ve been walking with vulnerable women and children since the end of 2014, and God chose these past three months to truly begin to humble me; to break my heart down; to open my eyes to truths that I had not been able to clearly see.
Over the course of the past three months, we’ve had three little people come in and out of our home. All three are right around Beckett’s age (2). God has used these three little ones and their mommas to change my heart towards vulnerable women. God has stripped judgment from my broken heart and has opened up a door to an increased sense of love and compassion towards these women that we walk alongside.
One of the mommas we’ve walked with recently sent me a text that God used to deeply impact me. It brought me to tears and rocked me to my core. The last sentence of the text said this, “You are the best person ive met in so long not too many people like you and your husband and family.”
Now, please understand that I do not share this to glorify myself or our family. I share this to display God’s work… to glorify our good God. Yes, we may volunteer to help families in crisis, but God is doing the real work. He crosses our paths with people who are changing our hearts. These women and babies are changing our life, all in His name.
This momma is young, she is beautiful, she is hard-working, and she loves her little boy. She wakes up in a shelter each morning, gets herself and her toddler ready, and gets both of them on public transportation, traveling from one major city to another in the metro so that she can go to trade school. She drops her son off at a daycare, goes to school for the entirety of the day. Then, she repeats her commute back to where they are staying. Every single day, she faces obstacles of which I have never, nor will I likely ever experience. As this momma and I discussed where I’d drop her son off to reunite the two, she mentioned in passing that the stroller she used to commute with her toddler had broken. Friends, at 10:30pm, I posted a request to our neighborhood Facebook page looking for an umbrella stroller that was no longer needed. Within approximately 5 minutes, I had two families offering me strollers. By morning, I had other messages offering to purchase strollers for this momma. That’s the reality of the world I live in. It was so simple to find a stroller for this momma.
This beautiful momma asked Together for Good for help with her son while she solidified a place for them to safely sleep and to align all the paperwork needed for daycare. Because this momma asked Together for Good for help with her son, she received incredibly harsh comments from other women living around her at the shelter. She was told she was a bad mom. She was told that she wasn’t raising her son properly. When she shared this with me, I cried. Why does it have to be so hard for this momma? Why does she have so many barriers to success stacked against her? Yet, every day she trudges on towards her goal – to make a better life for her and hers son.
I have been praying about God’s theme for our life this year, and this past week, He gave me the words.
God has drawn our family to a verse over and over again. A couple of years ago, we named it our family verse:
Mark 12:30-31 – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Simply put: Love God. Love people.
Radical Love – It’s outside of the box love. It’s messy and complicated. It surpasses our comfort-levels. It can hurt, but it can introduce others to the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ because HE loves us radically. His love is thorough. It’s far-reaching, It’s absolute.
The Lord is breaking my heart for the circumstances of the vulnerable women we walk with. He is opening my eyes to the judgments of my heart, and He is miraculously breaking them down. He is changing me. He is opening the door to compassion. He is showing me that “black and white issues” are often grey. He is working in me, introducing me to a love that is extreme, and I am just trying to live a life following a God whose love is so great that it surpasses our understanding. I’m just a woman who receives radical love from our good and gracious God and because of this, I want to introduce others to this God and His radical love.
This post was written by Together for Good host mom, Ericka Byer. It originally appeared on her personal blog where she writes about family, life and hosting kids from hard places. You can find the original post here.