Meet Louisa

Creative Press

The Book

Discipleship- Pauls and Timothys Grief Ministry Motherhood

Saying Goodbye, Again…

February 16, 2021

In 2015 I sat on my pastor’s couch during small group with five other couples in the room. As I tried to put to words the feelings I was experiencing deep in my chest, the corners of his mouth began to turn up into a tender smile. His eyes did that thing dads do when they watch their child finally grasp an abstract idea and turn it into a concrete application. The days leading up to our small group was one washed with renewed understanding of God’s plan for me to live out the Great Commission given to believers of Jesus Christ. A mission, as a barren woman, I took very seriously. This was how God would build his Kingdom through me. And like he promised, he used the suffering of barrenness to prove to me I needed not children born of my own body to be significant, to love deeply, or to know another. “What you’re feeling is the love of a mother, Louisa. But be careful, for your greatest strength in loving will also become your greatest weakness”. Those words were what I needed to hear. They affirmed my being made a woman and declared my identity of a nurturer of life entrusted to me. In my case, the life entrusted to me was through discipleship and spiritually mothering others. Not only did my pastor’s words affirm, but they served as a necessary two- part warning. 

The first part of the warning served as a reminder of my humanity and being tempted to form co-dependent relationships, which are not pleasing to the Lord. Co-dependency can take many shapes and forms, but the end result is always idolatry that seeks to hide itself in the form of something good like community and relationships. 

The second part of the warning was a warning for my soul. When you love the way a mother loves, you are prone to having your heart broken in a way where people can walk out of your life and take all the love you gifted them with far away, never to be seen or heard from again. The kind of hurt this loss produces is a type of ambiguous grief. The person is alive, but death comes in the form of the ending of a relationship, whether necessary or unnecessary.

Being called to full time vocational ministry only 8 years ago, I’ve had my share of relationships ending for various reasons, but the ones that seem to hurt the worst upon their ending are those where I loved so deeply- where the lines of biological family were crossed and you are given a foretaste of the beauty of a more heavenly, eternal family. When those relationships end, I am not always ready for what proceeds. What comes at the beginning of an ending is a temptation to despair, to put up walls with new relationships, or even practice an unhealthy introversion where I don’t want to invite others in where they can know and feel my love. These times always serve as a reminder to me that my love is not primarily the need those in my path have. I am merely a finger pointing to a greater, more sufficient, never ending love.

There’s an account in Scripture where a relationship had to come to an end. The Bible says that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David. Jonathan was the son of David’s greatest enemy, King Saul. When they had to end their friendship for David’s safety, the two wept bitterly and affectionately kissed one another knowing there could be a chance the two would never see each other face to face again. There was a bond that went beyond family. This is a foreshadowing of a better covenant, a better friendship in Jesus that never ends. But, what we see is a human response to the ending of a relationship where covenantal love ran deep and the bonds of brotherly affection were what was grieved when it all came to an end. All of this once again reminds me in heaven there will be no endings. Here on this earth, I can give my love freely with the understanding that I will be hurt by the people I love most in this world. Because we are still under the groanings of a fallen world which is subject to the futility of brokenness in each other, I am reminded that what I sow in this world, even in tears, will be reaped in the next with great joy. If our heavenly Father gives such sweet and indescribable gifts here in this world, imagine what will be reaped in the world to come, unhindered by the fallen bodies. We will love one another as we ought, there will be no endings to things, and all the sad things will come untrue. I’ve felt the stinging pain of someone I longed for with the affections of Jesus turning their back on me. It’s a grief almost as significant as the actual death of an individual. When I am tempted to withhold my love, I am not only withholding MY love, but Jesus’ love he wants someone to feel through me. We all know that kind of love has been stomped on and spit upon for millennia. When the temptation to withhold creeps in, Jesus reminds me that to know him is to know him in his sufferings. Sometimes that even means having someone I love so deeply turn their back on me time and time again. I cannot always believe there is something inherently wrong with me for why these relationships end. Welcoming his perfect love to cast out the fear of being punished for something I’ve done wrong in the relationship only allows me to deepen my love for Jesus and the person who ran away. Could it also make room for others to be loved knowing I only have so much space and time to give in my limitedness as a human?

People run away. And when they do, I’ll be waiting, running toward them with arms open wide ready to rejoice with all my best upon their return. That will be true even if the day of their return is the day our heavenly home is ushered in. 

Repentance

The Shepherd, the Light, and Hoping in the Dark

We tend to think the winter solstice happens over a period of time because of the length of time our days appear to be shorter and colder. The opposite is actually true. The winter solstice event only takes place for a moment, specifically when…

December 23, 2020
Christian Hedonmism

Fierce Boat Rides

The day began like any other day for the twelve disciples as they followed Jesus from town to town; probably taking short cuts through bodies of water. For goodness sake, most of them were fishermen by trade. Surely they could navigate the waters with…

September 19, 2020
Failure Grief Lament Mental Health Repentance

World Suicide Prevention Day

It has been nearly 11 months since my last suicidal thought. Other than the occasional teenage angst, I had never experienced the mental and soul wrenching turmoil some individuals, including Christians, are consistently inflicted by on a daily basis previous to the summer of…

September 11, 2020
Ministry

The Church and Her Soil

I only went because I’m an addict to adventure. But, after my experience with The Little Grand Canyon, or Providence Canyon, in South Georgia, I can now speak of the greater metaphor it holds. Providence Canyon, or as the locals call it, The Little…

July 6, 2020
Grace in the Mundane

Walking in Mystery

With every blinding flash, a loud boom swiftly followed. With every loud boom there followed rattling windows. Summer thunderstorms in Florida will shake you to your core if you haven’t yet lived through at least one season of them. In the middle of my…

July 6, 2020
Discipleship- Pauls and Timothys Ministry Musings

Mentor

She called me her mentor tonight. Fear immediately seized me as I sat frozen while replaying the word in my head. Mentor, mentor, mentor. The moments where I failed to model the character of Christ flickered in my mind over and over again as…

June 27, 2020
Repentance

The Advocate for Those in Alcatraz

A little over a mile off the coast of the San Fransisco bay stands the Alcatraz Prison on a small, singular island. The prison was notorious for being the penitentiary for the worst of the worst criminals during its hay day between the late…

May 25, 2020
Musings

Do You Hear The Voice?

In 1994 my mom bought a 6 disc CD player with three-foot speakers on each side. This historical piece of quality musical artistry defined my childhood in many ways. The following year, the American romance movie Waiting to Exhale directed by Forest Whitaker made…

May 13, 2020