Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as a Human Resources Specialist.
Two young girls sat in front of me – two young girls looking for answers, two young girls longing for love.
These two young girls lost their mother, my friend Blandina, seven months ago. There’s a chance that you may have read about my surprising friendship with Blandina and the pain of her passing on the insights before. Knowing that I would be going back to Malawi, I wanted so badly to tell her children that I had been thinking about them, wondering how they were, wondering where they were. But that message changed when I got there.
It changed when I learned that their father remarried a woman of another faith just two months after Blandina’s passing. It changed when I heard that their younger brother no longer attends church and that their older brother was nowhere to be found. It changed when I learned that despite obvious obstacles, these two young girls, Brenda (around 12) and Alinnfe (maybe 9) continue to come to church every Sunday all on their own.
With the help of the pastor for translating, I sat in front of these girls, praying for words to say. The pastor opened with a question, “Do you know who this is?” as he pointed to me. “That’s my mom’s best friend,” they replied. My heart may have stopped at that moment as their response sunk in. I took a deep breath and told the girls how much I loved their mom and how I missed her deeply. Tears started streaming down Brenda’s sweet face as I told them that I know that their mom loved them very much, that God loved them and would watch out for them, and that I loved them as well. I asked if it would be okay if we could now be friends. And through those watery eyes, Brenda looked up at me and responded, “Yes.”
She then hugged me and would not let me go. We simply held each other in one of the holiest moments I’ve ever experienced. I was crying. Brenda was crying. Even the pastor was crying. I stroked her back and gently kissed her on the top of her head – reminding her over and over that God would watch out for her. We stood in this divine embrace for at least five minutes as she clung tightly around my waist. I truly believe that I was able to be a part of a message from God to let these girls know that they will never be alone. It is a moment for which I will be eternally grateful.
Being a part of God’s message to these girls was a reminder that His love is far more encompassing than we think. We can often view it like a river flowing from His heart to ours, but that idea barely does it justice. His love is more like an ocean – with no distinct beginning or end. We find ourselves surrounded by His love with opportunities to receive while simultaneously reciprocating and giving it away.
The depths of this ocean of love can be the source of sympathy for our hurting friend, patience for our troubled family-member, help to our struggling coworker, and encouragement for two young girls who recently lost their mother. When we recognize its mightiness and vastness, we see how He chooses to pour it into and through us to bring hope, healing, and His Kingdom here on earth.
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