Take up your cross

Farmville Enterprise January 23, 2019

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

Two women in Greenville’s Community Bible Study have shown me what it means to take up one’s cross daily and follow those words of Jesus. The first is a 79-year old widowed Bible Study leader who volunteers with prison ministry. Last winter she got to know a gal who was incarcerated and pregnant. The mother-to-be said she had been praying for a Christian family to foster her son once he was born. The father was also in jail. The Bible Study leader said she would pray about it, and she did for 30 days. Initially she wondered if she were too old to do this. Her grown son questioned if she understood what 2:30 in the morning would mean. She considered all such details and checked into the legalities of her keeping the baby until the mother’s release. While praying for that month she committed to listen for God’s leading. After the designated time she agreed to keep the baby. The mother-to-be had the power of attorney documents prepared. The Carolina Pregnancy Center provided an assortment of items. The ladies from the foster mother’s church gave a shower. She did not have to buy diapers until the baby was six months old. This remarkable 79-year-old took the precious newborn home from the hospital and quickly was reminded of what 2:30 in the morning meant. For nine months she held him, fed him, cuddled him, sang to him, bathed him and took care of him.  For nine months she had him in church every Sunday and loved him. She said that throughout the weeks of little sleep and daily changes to her schedule, she received more from the experience than anyone. The mother was released from jail and went to a halfway house initially. After that, she moved in with family. In December the widow turned the baby over to her friend. Now his mother holds him, feeds him, cuddles him, bathes him and takes care of him. She always has loved him.  The mother was appreciative of the tremendous help provided by her friend and asked her to remain involved in the child’s life.

The second inspirational woman is a young mother of two. She and her husband prayerfully considered becoming foster parents. They went through the training and certification and added a third child to their family at the beginning of this school year. A few months later, they were contacted by Pitt County Department of Social Services with a need. The foster child’s two siblings were suddenly without a guardian and a place to stay. This obviously would mean an even bigger commitment for them, but she and her husband agreed to welcome these two children to their household. They have gone from a family of four to a family of seven over the course of a few months.

It is difficult and unnatural for us to deny ourselves and take up our crosses daily. We might not be called to do something as dramatic as what these two women have done, but certainly God calls us to action. We must be intent on listening for the call. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to shake us out of our comfortable places.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)

 

 

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