There’s an older woman at our church who would like to meet with our 11-year-old sweet-pea. The two of these unlikely friends have been talking “knitting”. Viv wants to learn how to knit the sweaters that Lynn sends to children in third world countries. They’ve planned needle sizes and yarn type, but they haven’t gotten together yet.
This morning at church, Lynn grabbed my arm and said, “I want you to know that I keep thinking about Viv, but I’ve been sick for 3 weeks. My stomach has been terribly upset. I think it’s related to my vision. I was supposed to have Laser surgery last week to fix my blurry vision, but the appointment was postponed because of the snow. My appointment is rescheduled for the middle of April. I can’t knit until after that. But, I am really looking forward to getting together with her then.”
I said, “I understand completely. You are so dear!”
She is watching the calendar – counting down the days – until she can sit with a girl some-60 years younger than herself, and teach her how to knit sweaters to clothe the naked, in Jesus’ name.
To me, this is one of life’s most beautiful moments.
Lynn’s struggle to obey Christ in a weak, frail body reminds me of the many times I’ve had to reschedule discipleship meetings because my children were throwing up, or I hadn’t slept for 7 weeks, or I had forgotten about a doctor’s appointment.
It reminds me of the many times I’ve read half of the chapter that we were going to discuss, or prayed for my friend once in a week’s time, or failed to follow-up with a phone call… all because I was trying to get an infant to breastfeed, or potty-train a toddler, or listen to an 8 year-old’s story.
In the past, I’ve felt guilty, frustrated, and discouraged by these circumstances. This just mustn’t be the right season for me to disciple anyone, I’ve thought sadly. But now, I can see that these challenging circumstances simply are the nature of discipleship.
God calls us to disciple one another within the context of very limited bodies and relentless interruptions.
Consider Jesus who gathered his 12 disciples around him day after day. They had plenty of distractions and interruptions come their way. (In fact, when I read the gospels, I feel like they just moved from one interruption to another.)
Jesus doesn’t avoid or ignore the complex inconveniences of life, but instead uses those very circumstances to teach about love, compassion, and total reliance on God.
We can do the same, learning from – leaning on – Christ.
Our limitations, cancellations, and confessions will be the very things that point to Jesus the most. You and I are called to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Let’s not give up.
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – from Hebrews 10
(Would you like to develop a mentoring relationship with another woman, but need something to fuel the friendship? Consider asking a few of these questions to get things going!)