Burden Carriers

A 2016 Repost from My Journey of Faith Magazine by Karina Allen current for today.

2015 was quite the year! There were so many highs and lows I feel like I have spiritual whiplash. There were amazing places I went to and amazing people I met. God opened several doors of opportunity that brought me closer to my calling.

Then, there were the rough spots. There were several situations that continued unresolved for months. There were people who betrayed me. There was financial strain and a number of disappointments.

One right after another, each circumstance arose. Good and bad, happy and sad, joyous and heartbreaking. 2015 was quite the year!

The one constant through it all was the One who is constant. God, my Heavenly Father held me when I cried and danced with me when I was elated. Then, He went further and blessed me with the sweetest community I could have asked for. He surrounded me with women who love Him more than life and who love me well.

Time after time, this is what happened…

“Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6: 2)

My family relationships are not very strong. They never have been. And that’s okay. God is still good. He has been faithful to step in and fill the gap with spiritual family.

The Lord has exceeded my expectations of what family and community look like. The whole “doing life” with people is supposed to be a real thing. It is supposed to work. It is supposed to be a blessing. It is supposed to be a gift.

Bearing one another’s burdens is a mutual sacrifice, a mutual dying to self, a mutual considering others as better than ourselves. And, it comes in all manner of forms. I’ve had the privilege of walking with some friends through death, illness, broken marriages, financial upset and emotional turmoil. They, in exchange have blessed me with the gifts of time, treasure and prayers.

Every time I came with yet another prayer request, they listened attentively and prayed earnestly. They never tried to fix the situation or pretend to have all the answers. They repeatedly put feet to their faith and movement to their compassion. Carrying the burdens of another is hard and messy and awkward. It requires strength, wisdom, discernment and perseverance. We cannot come up with those attributes on our own. It is most assuredly a work of the Holy Spirit.

In the book of Acts, it describes the early church as meeting daily. They broke bread with each other and studied the Scriptures. They prayed, worshiped and met each others’ needs, no matter how small or how large. I fear, that in this day and age, we, as believers have strayed from their example. We have become ridiculously busy and ridiculously disengaged with real life community.

The early church is the prime example of God’s heart for community. How I long for us to grab hold of His heart! It is in community where we thrive and flourish in ways we can’t when we’re alone. It’s there where we are sharpened and challenged to grow in God. It’s there where we experience what it truly means to be the hand and feet of Christ.

I am blessed when I receive, but the greater blessing lies in the giving.

2015 was quite the year! I learned how to better carry the burdens of others and I learned how to better allow my community to carry my burdens. It’s a process. I’m in process. I’m believing in 2016 I will continue to walk out the greater blessing. That is prayer for you as well.

What was your biggest lesson learned in 2015?

Karina Allen