Joe's family pulled in together and rallied around us. Joe is one of 6 siblings and all but one are married. His uncle and wife live a little over an hour away and is a general contractor. They all pitched in and loved on us in tangible ways. I receive texts every morning from both of his sisters with encouragement and love and willingness to serve us. They knew we had several projects we had started and were likely to not get finished anytime soon. One of the projects -our shower- had not been touched in two years. We now have our new laminate flooring complete, our shower is tiled only needing a little touch up with grout and our yard has been picked up and a bench and beautiful olive tree provided in Naomi's honor.
Our church and Mops group has assembled a care calendar filled with meals for each evening for almost the next full month. Many people have offered to help in many tangible ways that really have touched my heart. On Tuesday we have some women from my MOPS group coming to clean our house. Several people have mentioned working on a memory garden for Naomi. My sisters in law have picked up Sophia and given us a break. One of them took me shopping as most of my clothes were maternity or used during pregnancy and I wanted to feel pretty again. I received text messages on Friday to encourage me on the first week anniversary of Naomi's heavenly arrival. Many people are lined up to provide play dates and crafting times and whatever alleviates my grief as soon as everyone goes. Needless to say, we have fully felt the deep sympathy and the strong desire as well as actions to alleviate our suffering.
Earlier this last week, my dad and I took Sophia to target to grab some things while some work got finished in the house. Sophia had a difficult time listening and I was definitely on repeat "Sophia, come here!", "Sophia, listen and obey please!", "Sophia sit your bottom down".... So on and so forth. I had many people looking at me and giving me "those looks". I felt like scum. I was trying so hard as a mama but I was emotionally exhausted and she was emotionally confused (too much uncertainty with what was going on). When I got home I really got to thinking about compassion. We've received so much of it from those that know about what was going on but from those that have no clue why I may look like I'm in a daze and trying in futile to control my daughter I receive those disgusted looks. I really took a look within and thought about how often I might do that. Do I have compassion for those around me when their child is acting out or the person is in la la land? Do I remind myself about the fact that maybe they're going through something and just need a little leeway? It's too easy to jump to conclusions but so often we really don't know whats going on behind the scenes. I don't have a sign that says "I lost a baby last week" and nobody else has one for their suffering either.
This really has convicted me. We need to step outside of our self and share compassion with everyone around us regardless of whatever we know about their suffering.
Some verses to consider:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: