Today I (finally) finished 7 Women by Eric Metaxas. (Thanks Mom for that surprise Christmas present.)
It is an interesting read about 7 strong women of faith who have made a significant impact in our world.
The last woman that is highlighted is Mother Teresa. While reading about her life and her heart, I found myself fighting tears.
She was quoted as saying, Every small act of love for the unwanted and the poor is important to Jesus. This is ringing so true to my heart these days. I see/hear so many stories of people who are truly unwanted. And these are not just some people, but people who I know, who are a part of my life. It breaks my heart to know people, often children and young adults, are simply not wanted. No one cares about them. Well…not exactly no one. But it seems like no one to them, and even others at times. But the truth is, Jesus cares about them. So, it’s important to Him that we care for them.
Later in the chapter, it is recorded that when Mother Teresa talked with anyone, even celebrities and politicians, she reminded one and all that taking care of the poor and hungry was nothing heroic or extraordinary. She referred to it as ‘a simple duty for you and for me.’
From the book, I learned that this simple duty has inspired over 4,000 people to join the ministry she started around the world. What an amazing example of discipleship! She wanted to be like Jesus, so she lived like she thought He’d live, and people followed her example.
What I find even more interesting about this woman’s life is that in her personal writings, which were found and published after her death, it is evident that she often struggled with her faith. Though I don’t think her belief in God ever wavered, she expressed the struggles of feeling like He was distant at times. I’m sure it was a difficult life, seeing so many hurting and discarded people every day over the course of so many years. Metaxas continues by saying, And yet, many who knew her well–who witnessed her joy, her smile, and her work–would have been puzzled by her revelations.
I want so badly to display the fruit of joy…yet I struggle. This year it is what I desire to focus on…And when I look at an example like this, I am really challenged. I want the joy of the Holy Spirit to to be so rich within me that it is evident to all, even when I encounter life’s pain and challenges. Even when I am confronted with the reality that people around me feel unwanted and are discarded by others. Even when I face challenges that seem impossible to overcome.
God help me to be joyful and demonstrate joy, even in the midst of brokenness.