Next week is my mom’s birthday. Well, it would have been. My mom died 25 years ago suddenly and unexpectedly from a brain aneurysm. She was in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner one moment and in a coma in the emergency room the next.
My mom and dad lived in Michigan, and my husband and I were in Texas where he was finishing up seminary. My sister called, and I booked the first flight out of DFW the next morning. My prayer was that I would arrive before she died. I did. I walked into her room at 1:20 p.m., and she died at 7:25 p.m.
I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I remember that day in vivid detail. If you have attended a You Lead Training event in the past few years, you have heard me tell a story about my mom. If you have not, here it is.
I grew up in a church-going home, not a Christian home. I loved church; I loved the church choir! I learned how to play the piano from our hymnal, and for that reason I love hymns. My mom loved hymns as well. Her favorite hymn was “Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior,” primarily because my mom felt passed over. She also loved “Amazing Grace,” I think because she had a longing for the full experience of God’s grace.
When my Mom was a young adult, she found herself pregnant outside of marriage. Because of the culture, the generation, and the denomination she grew up in, she was excommunicated from her church and from her family.
It was a wound she would never recover from.
It was a loss she would never grieve.
She would come to know the Lord, but because of her wound, she would forever hold community and relationships within the church at arms length. It was simply too risky.
She would forever hold the Lord at arms length as well, never able to fully dive deeply into the well of His grace.
My mom was a hurting woman in crisis, and there was no one to minister two great gifts to her in the immediate moment. These two gifts require no wrapping and are not costly to give. These two gifts, offered freely, could have changed my mom’s life. These are two gifts you can offer the women you serve and lead. What are they?
Space and grace.
When someone is in a crisis or in personal pain of any kind, one of the greatest gifts we can offer her is space—space on our calendars and in our hearts for her to tell her story. However, space isn’t the only gift we give, it must also be given with grace.
When we invite someone to tell us her story, we must receive it without judgment and respond with grace. We offer the same grace we ourselves have received time and time again. By offering space and grace, we gift a hurting woman in the name and manner of Jesus. We become His hand to hold hers, His ear to hear her story, His heart to carry her pain, and an example of His grace poured lavishly over her life.
Would you be willing to give the two gifts that no one could seem to give my mother?
If you lead a women’s ministry, would you lead the kind of group my mother could attend? Will you be intentional to offer space and grace to the hurting women you come in contact with in the days ahead?
Two great gifts. No wrapping required.
Kaye has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through LifeWay Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live in the Chicago burbs where they are both on staff at Willow Creek Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the LifeWay resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.