The look on her face showed much.
Sadness filled her eyes. Shadows appeared under them as evidence of fatigue or illness. The corners of her mouth pointed downward, and her head followed.
I didn’t mean to stare, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. And as I watched her saunter by, I could nearly feel the heaviness she carried on her shoulders.
My heart went out to this fellow sojourner. Of course I didn’t know this stranger’s story, and it would have been inappropriate for me to ask. So, I whispered a few-word prayer and asked God to meet her in her need.
Ever have one of those moments when you’re reminded of something and a thousand thoughts and memories fly through your mind? This was one of them. I began recall times in my life when I was in her shoes. When I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders. When I was walking through seasons of heartache, grief, sadness, and sickness. I thought of the weight of motherhood I carried when I felt I was failing at it miserably, and of wifehood when I was far from a stellar spouse. And of the days of discouragement, comparison, and fear and when I felt I was being swallowed by life itself.
I was then reminded of those who walked beside me in those times and how I believe God placed them in my life to bless me, to encourage me, and to help keep my eyes lifted to Him.
They didn’t tell me to “get over it.” They didn’t try to fix me. None of them tried to give me well-intended advice. They weren’t a burden in any sort of way. They just loved me… they simply loved me.
I want to be like that.
I want to be a blessing and not a burden.
If only I would have thought of this quicker. Maybe I would have done something to lift the burden of this woman who caught my eye. Maybe I could have offered a smile instead of a stare. Could I have acted in a way to be a blessing and not a burden to this stranger? Could have have made a small difference in her life in that moment?
Sadly, she was long gone. Will God ever cross my path with hers again? Maybe or maybe not. But I learned some important lessons that day.
God may use you or me to lift the burden of another by being a blessing.
Yes, even me. But will I be ready? Will I be willing? Will I be aware enough to do so or will I be absorbed in my own life, thoughts, troubles, burdens? I pray I’ll be that blessing someone else needs.
Let love continue among you. Don’t forget to extend your hospitality to all—even to strangers—for as you know, some have unknowingly shown kindness to heavenly messengers in this way. Hebrews 13:1-2 VOICE
Friend, we’ll look at this more tomorrow. Until then, do you have your own story to share? Of when you lifted the burden of another by being a blessing or when someone else did that for you? Or of when you, like me, maybe missed an opportunity to do so? (Let me encourage us here… even if we miss an opportunity, I believe God teaches us through it and we’ll get another opportunity to use that lesson.)
I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for being here.
Much love to you today,
Linking this post with friends Lori and Carol and Anita.
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Thanks, Julie, for this exhortation to speak into the pain of others’ lives. I’ve fallen into the false thinking that what I have to say would not help or that people want to be “left alone” — and I’m learning that I need to rethink those conclusions.
I fall into that same false thinking, Michele. I so understand!! I’ve realized sometimes words aren’t even necessary to be a blessing. Praying we all are sensitive to God’s leading and His loving of others. So glad we can encourage each other as we journey together. Bless you, Michele!
The gentleman in the very cold airplane this morning shared his winter jacket as a lap robe from my flight from the frigid Flagstaff (18 degrees) to Phoenix :).
I’ve discovered that if I keep my eyes wide open, looking outward instead of inwardly, there’s always someone in my path longing for a smile, a brief touch, or a simple word of validation. It costs me absolutely nothing and pays terrific dividends. The more I do it, the more I want to. Thanks for your gentle encouragement, Julie!
Alice, your words spur me on. Thank you. The first step for me is exactly what you described… keeping my eyes wide open, looking outward instead of inwardly. Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Blessings!
Anita, how wonderful! That gentle certainly was a blessing to you. Such a great example. Thanks for sharing it here, friend! Bless you!
Julie, your words were a blessing to me today. Thank you, your writing and your heart for others helps to remind us to see each person in our day through the eyes of Jesus.
Hi Carol! Thank you for stopping over today. You nailed it… seeing each person in our day through the eyes of Jesus. Yes, I want to be more like Him. Blessings to you!
This is great, Julie…and I especially agree with the advice never to say, “Get over it.” It’s used so very often against dudes with PTSD, along with its even more evil brother, “You’ve just GOT to get over it!”
Thanks, Andrew. “Get over it” can be one of the most hurtful and hopeless pieces of “advice.” Sounds like you know that all too well. Thanks for sharing your perspective here, Andrew. It’s a blessing to have you here, as always.
Don’t we all just simply want to be loved. Beautiful!
Yes, Amanda, you are absolutely correct! Have a blessed day!