There’s immense value in finding folks who will love you through your “stuff,” people who know there’s more to your life than simply one moment in time. I was reminded this morning of that gift.
Most of you know that I struggled as a teenager. I was trying to find my fit…I was listless. My parents, my church and my friends felt helpless. There was a couple in our church that worked with the youth group. They went on trips, they taught Sunday School and had students at their house, perpetually. They invested in tons of people. I’m just one of those people; one of their “kids”.
I’m at a conference this week. I’m staying with them. As I listened to stories and recalled my childhood, I started to get nostalgic. It was good to be loved. It is good to be loved. But the story went on. These people saw me through some tough times but they were also there through some really good ones, too. I suppose I turned out ok. I went on to try to model that kind of love. When I went into the ministry, I hoped to inspire others. I still hope for that. Keri and I have many “kids”. Many have stayed at our house, eaten our ice cream and cried on our shoulders.
One of my “kids” went into the ministry and became a worship leader. She and her husband are gifted musicians with loving hearts. They are a shining example of what I love about finding your “fit”. I got to officiate their wedding. They moved to my home church, she became the worship pastor where my dad used to serve, and are now leading people I love. She leads the same family that poured into me all those years ago. Full circle. Full heart.
I suppose the point of the Good Word today is this: if you are emptying yourself and serving others then you are making a difference. I know it’s hard. Sometimes you wonder if it’s worth it. I promise you, it is. Having loving, nurturing parents isn’t enough. We need other people in our lives. People who will love us through our “stuff.” People who will speak blessing into our lives. People who will love you, despite you.
If you don’t have people like this, find them. Seek them out. If you still struggle with it, be that to someone else. Careful now… you can’t give what you don’t have. We all need to have someone love and pour something good into us.
Brad and Shelly, it was worth it. I promise.
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you. Psalm 9:10 (NLT)
Matt Hastings lives with his wife Keri and their five children in Tullahoma, Tennessee. He is the pastor of the Estill Springs Church of the Nazarene. [Editor’s Note: Matt has graciously allowed us to republish his weekly email devotionals on our site for our readers.]