In John 13:34 we read, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you...". This Bible verse reminds me that not only should we show love among our own family members, but God wants us to extend that love to our church family members, our community family, and to the people of the world. I see so many people in our church showing their love of others, reaching out to them near and far.
One aspect of showing that love is expressed in Galatians 6:2, "Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ." This verse brings to mind our Stephen Ministry here at BSLC. For the past seven years, I have seen God working in my life in so many ways through this very important ministry, first as a Care Receiver and now as a Care Giver.
I first became more aware of Stephen Ministry seven years ago. I had gone through a difficult time in my life when two of my husbands had passed away unexpectedly and suddenly within eight years of each other. I was overcome with grief and struggling emotionally with feelings of sadness and despair. During that time I was blessed to have the love and support of so many family and friends. As the dark days of grief continued though, a friend told me about how a Stephen Minister had helped her. So I inquired about meeting with one, and that's when my grief healing began.
We met each week for over three years. She listened as I spilled out my heart. She handed me a tissue when I cried. She didn't give me specific advise, but listened and validated my pain. She prayed with me and for me, and helped me see, that with God's love, I would be okay. Without my Stephen Minister's constant Christian care and unconditional listening ear during that time of healing, I would not be emotionally where I am today. I will forever be grateful for all of her prayers, her devoted support, and all that she did to help me heal and find peace in God's presence during that painful journey of grief. She will always be a special person in my life.
Shortly after that, I felt God's calling to become a Stephen Minister so that I could walk along with others as they go through difficult times in their lives. Now, after a little over two years of being a Stephen Minister, I not only am helping others but I have grown spiritually, and it has deepened my prayer life. As I share the love and hope of Jesus Christ with my care receivers, I see God working through me to help and change the lives of other people. That is an amazing experience! Through the difficult times and the good times, God has been with me all the way and has personally inspired my life. I thank and praise Him for that every day.
Loved by God to love others,