Faith Stories: Love from St. John’s Reflects Christ’s Love
“I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.” –John 13:34-35 (CEB)
Being a mother has taught me a lot about love, but the journey to become a mother of two has revealed new depths of love from our church family. We were new to the church when Jane was born. We were surrounded with love then too, of course, but Livia’s birth has shown me how that love has grown in just over four years.
The struggle to get pregnant wasn’t something we talked about too much, but I knew we were supported in our waiting (and frankly impatience). When I did get pregnant last summer after more than a year of trying, I was rocked with terrible morning sickness. I received grace and support from those I was working with – on The Walk efforts and general church communications work. I was encouraged to take care of myself, and we rejoiced together at the news and prayed for a healthy pregnancy.
As the pregnancy progressed and things became more real, we experienced an enfolding love. Our Sunday school class gave us a baby shower and encouraged us every step of the way (as our then-Sunday school class did during my pregnancy with Jane). Each coffee time and passing of the peace was an opportunity to chat about the baby, ask how I was feeling and encourage Jane as she prepared to become a big sister.
After waiting so long to get pregnant we had to wait a long time to actually have the baby too, as I was overdue by nearly two weeks. When we were finally induced, Pastor Jay surprised me by meeting us at the hospital to pray – for the health and safety of me and the baby especially. As someone working behind the scenes at the church I sometimes forget that I’m a member too, and Jay’s presence at the hospital meant a great deal to me although I never would have thought to ask.
Due to Livia’s jaundice we stayed an extra day in the hospital, which messed up our child care schedule with my mom’s departure and sister’s arrival. Ms. Jami and Ms. Jill blessed our family by taking care of Hurricane Jane on the day we came home by taking her to church, Sunday school and even lunch out at her favorite restaurant (Fuzzy’s Taco – who knew?!). That favor meant a great deal to us and was another real way we were reminded “you are loved.”
After we were home and getting settled we were surrounded by love even more as Ms. Heather set up a meal schedule and church members brought us nourishing food to ease the transition from three to four. It wasn’t just people we knew well who brought dinner. Acquaintances also fed us, reminding me that church family love doesn’t depend on how often you speak or how well you’ve gotten to know someone.
I knew church could be like this, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise. But since I’ve been an adult I’ve usually remained on the fringes of churches – simply dipping in a toe. At St. John’s I’ve slowly waded in more deeply, developing relationships through Sunday school and committee work especially.
Our family is beyond grateful for the support we’ve received from St. John’s. We always knew we were part of the church family and loved, but during the pregnancy and after Livia’s birth we’ve been blessed in tangible ways. Thank you.
As a member of the church, you too are loved. And I hope we all can receive the blessing of loving each other deeply as a reflection of Christ’s love for us.