I’m excited to introduce Sybil to you today! I pray that her passion for others encourages you! ~ FFS
I have always appreciated warm, sunny weather tremendously. Yet, I can’t help but notice how my gratitude for sunny days grows exponentially deeper, after a string of stormy days. That is just as true in the living of life, as it when it comes to weather. After enduring a season of storms in life, I have a greatly deepened appreciation for the calm. An appreciation so rich, in fact that I likely would never have grasped it to the same level, had I not weathered those storms.
I have always been very much a people person. As a licensed counselor, I have even received years of training on establishing rapport, empathy building, and much more that enhanced my compassion for all those suffering around the world. But never before had my heart broken for hurting people like it has since living with a broken heart myself. As the song goes, the song in my own heart TRULY became, “break my heart for what breaks yours.”
This new-found awareness and broken heart has lingered long past the renewal and restoration God has brought to my life. In fact, it is my prayer that I will always be broken-hearted for that which grieves God. I hope and pray that I will never be the same as I once was! As a new creation in Christ, I know that God works all things for my good and for His glory! He has a purpose and a plan to use suffering in the lives of His children to refine us and mold us more into His likeness.
That is why I am not afraid of suffering. I am not tempted to turn from it when I observe it in the world around me. God has used my own suffering to make room in my heart for others who are suffering. I am drawn to them and their stories. I want to pray for them, I want to come alongside them, and I want to live in community with them. This is an opportunity to live out the command of Galatians 6:2, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
One such situation of suffering my eyes have been opened to is that of struggling, single moms. For seven years, though I was married, I walked miles in the shoes of single moms most days. I was what some people refer to as a sometimes single mom.
The discouragement I lived with during those days opened my eyes to the suffering of single moms whose husbands never came home, and to the suffering in a shared custody situation that divorced women may often feel. Suffering is a very relative term, indeed I was acutely aware of how much worse things could be for me. However, that didn’t change the empty ache in my heart, as I felt weighed down by a near constant sense of loneliness. I was parenting almost all the time, and almost always felt overwhelmed. I would see the commercials on TV, advertising this or that depression medication, in which the viewer is asked whether they are experiencing sadness, etc. I would nod into nothingness, affirming the question from the TV in the empty room. I would be moved to tears by every touching commercial on TV or by radio broadcasts like K-Love during which someone was sharing a moving story.
I didn’t really know what needing God meant until I had no other choice.
I didn’t know what it meant until I had been so broken open that the tears would fall over every story I would hear of the brokenness of others. This time has left me with a boundless love and appreciation for single moms of all kinds and I am thankful for the opportunities God has given me to reach out to them. I pray God would open my eyes to serve these women all the days of my life.
Sybil can be found homeschooling, volunteering in various capacities, laughing with friends, or loving on her husband and children when she isn’t writing for her blog, She Lives Free. There you will find DIY and decorating ideas, inspiration and encouragement on marriage and motherhood, and thoughts on giving and living abundantly. Sybil thoroughly enjoys co-hosting a linkup for bloggers called make a difference mondays and would love to meet you there or in the make a difference mondays community group on facebook.