Respond With Love

A little over a week ago rain began. It didn't stop. People I know and love experienced flooding of homes and businesses. They lost most of their earthly possessions. If you are one of those people this post is not for you. One thing I have learned this week is that the best thing to say to a flood victim is nothing. Just show up.

Emergency warnings blared from phones. Just as I began to register that flooding was imminent I received a text telling me that my church was opening as an emergency shelter. I jumped into action. That's what I do. Adrenaline rushes and I think I can save the world. I pour my whole self out for days. It wasn't long before I hit a wall. Sprinters tire quickly. I felt shame yet I spent a couple of days wishing I could run away. Fight turned to flight. I wanted the whole issue to disappear. I'm sure the victims did more.

Saturday morning I decided to follow through on plans I made a few weeks ago to attend a yoga and meditation workshop. I drove an hour and spent 3 hours on my mat. Survivors guilt was heavy but I went anyway and asked my husband not to tell. It was just what I needed. During the rain I prayed so hard that it would stop. When the sun began to shine, heat became unbearable, smells of mud, sweat, sewer, and mold permeated, prayers became hard to pray. I spoke the words yet felt disconnected and frustrated. Being on my yoga mat helped me reconnect with God and think more coherently. 

Sunday I went to church. More time to reconnect and clear my head. I spent the evening regrouping and deciding what is sustainable for me and my family moving forward. Living stressed out is not sustainable. Time to readjust. Normal will be different. The situation in our city is difficult, yet we are no longer in emergency mode, trying to get people rescued.

We must begin to recreate lives that we love and that love us back. I plan to be a part of the solution for the long term. That will happen only if know my physical and mental limitations, honor them, and speak them honestly with myself and others. 

I am scheduling the time that I will be giving to help our city heal. There are a so many needs, I am only one person. I cannot do everything for everyone, I can do something for someone. That is enough. I am enough. I do not need to share my plans for serving with the world, I just need to follow through and fulfill what I have committed to. 

What about you? Are you are still running on adrenaline? Take a breath. Sit down and relax for a minute and ask yourself what you can sustain? If you can't see yourself being able to continue this pace ask yourself what is sustainable. If you don't take care of yourself you cannot take care of anyone else, at least not well. Be present to your own weakness. It's in our weakness that God is strong. Let Him use you in a way that shows love to others and yourself. 

Do you read this and want to run and hide? Feeling as I often do, completely overwhelmed? Take a breath. Don't let it overwhelm you.

Do small things with great love.
— Mother Theresa

 If it is baking or buying cookies for someone and writing a simple card, do that. Just show someone you love them. That you are thinking of them and care. The person you do this for will be grateful. More importantly, you will be opening your heart to love. You cannot lose by giving. Give your love and you will only find more. 

Love,

Nicole

If you are looking for a place to give or volunteer here is a link to The Vineyard Church of Baton Rouge. You can sign up to bring teams and we will house you. Or you can come alone. So much to be done. Our church is in this for the long haul. We would love for you to be a part of the recovery process.

Let all that you do be done in love.
— 1 Corinthians 16:14
Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words.
— St. Francis
Use whatever gift you’ve received for the good of one another so that you can show yourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace in all it’s varieties.
— 1 Peter 4:10, The Voice Translation
Love others as you love yourselves.
— Mark 12:31

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