by Phyllis Ducey

Love one another? I think not. Isn't it impossible to love everyone? Some people can't even love their family members. Gee whiz, 1 out of 2 couples end up in divorce which just goes to prove that we can't keep loving. You hear in the news of children killing parents and vice versa. Where's the love? Realistically, it must be impossible to love one another, right? Oh, I think you can love a few people in your life but all? How is that possible?

They don't look like me, they don't talk like me (that could be good), they don't have my wonderful sense of humor (wonderful?), they don't eat what I eat (do I really want to go to their place for dinner?), they don't smell like I do. How can I love them?

How do I make that work when someone is just not my cup of tea? When I find that I want to avoid them and am making excuses to cut short our conversation?

To Christians the answer is obvious.

Have you ever had someone in your life like that you just did not want to be around? I have and that is how I learned to "love one another."

Once I finally decided to commit my life to the Lord (as I have shared before, I was quite slow making that decision) I made up for lost time and started growing by leaps and bounds. Before I knew it I was asked to be a deaconess, to be a "circle leader" (had a group of women that I would contact to assist with cooking for people and food for events - this was not my strong point, I hated making phone calls), leading Bible studies and involved in a few other things at my church. There was this one woman who I perceived as always having everything going wrong in her life. Just one tragedy after another and in my opinion seemed to have entitlement issues... expecting that the members of the church should be doing things for her because she was a single mom.

I could only deal with this woman who I will call Susie (not her real name) in small doses and found that I would avoid her if possible. But somehow Susie ended up being in everything I was leading! Susie was in my section of the church that I was serving as a deaconess, Susie went to the Bible study in my home, Susie was in my Sunday school class and several other things. Everywhere I turned Susie was there... needy and wanting my time that I thought may be better used for someone else who was more like me.

One day my Pastor told me that He was reorganizing the circles and he was putting Susie in mine. I told him right away that it was not fair. Susie was in everything I did, I needed a break. He said no, he told me that I was the right person to work with Susie. Hmmm, I had thought him wise but at that time I doubted his wisdom. I prayed. I did not pray to like Susie, I prayed to love her. I told the Lord that I was totally incapable of it and if He wanted me to love Susie, He had to do it through me. So every time I was face-to-face with her, I would begin praying: "Lord, you know how I feel but I am willing to change. You love Susie as much, if not more than you love me. Allow her to see You through my eyes and help me see the beauty You see in her."

To be honest for a long time my feelings about Susie did not change except when I was face-to-face with her. I would then pray and feel this enormous sense of love and empathy for her. That was not something I was capable of. Not because Susie was not a lovable person (she was) but because I was (and am) a self-centered sinner.

One day Susie was in my home during a Bible study. I can remember the night very clearly, Susie started walking towards me to talk and I purposely walked a different direction to avoid her and talk to another person. However, she cornered me. Once she had me cornered Susie proceeded to tell me that she was in a class that emphasized they should thank the person who had helped them grow most in the Lord. Susie was there thanking me for being a mentor and helping her grow in the Lord! Oh... my... goodness. I wanted to crawl in a hole. I felt like pond scum. (Even as I type this I cry). I kept thinking as she talked, if she only knew how horrible I really was, but she didn't. How could the Lord have used me in such a way that she could only see His love through me? Susie did not see that I avoided her at times nor did she see that I tried cutting short conversations... Susie only saw the answer to my prayer... God's love through my eyes.

I want to make sure you understand. I was not being hypocritical and pretending to be liking her. It was different... I was different. Through God's answer to prayer, my love for her as I looked into her eyes was genuine.

How can I love everyone? I can't. I am not capable of it but God is. I still pray that same prayer whenever I am with someone that I know I can't love or that I don't like. I look directly into their eyes and I repeat those same words "God I know you love this person as much as you love me, if not more so. I am willing. Allow me to see them as you see them. Help me find something loving about them." It makes no difference what are their beliefs or how they live their lives because I know He loves them and wants each person to draw near Him. And I pray that I may be blessed enough to help that person see Him through me.

That prayer has not failed me. I find that if I say that prayer, look deep into their eyes, I can have a sincere sense of love and empathy for even a total stranger. Having said that the prayer has not failed me, I must say that I have failed to pray that prayer at times. Guess I must still have some more growing to do myself!

Susie became very dear to my heart. We drifted a part as our lives went different directions but she will always be a treasured gift from the Lord to me for how He used her in my life to grow in Him and how He taught me to love through her.

Below are some great gift or keepsakes that have to do with love. Each shop is unique and full of great items. Please check them out and don't forget it is less than 6 months until Christmas!!

Comments (11)

On June 27, 2010 at 11:12 PM , KippysSoMature said...

Phyllis - made me tear up just reading it - speaks so clearly and deeply to me - His words through you :) It is true - He does and will do that in us - we cannot do it - it is amazing...and so very humbling - which is always a good thing :O)
to be more humble, less me, more Him - His work in progress, which he has begun and WILL complete :D

On June 27, 2010 at 11:51 PM , Sue Runyon said...

Wow, Phyllis, that is a powerful testimony. Thank you so much for sharing it!

On June 28, 2010 at 12:35 AM , Lizzi said...

Omg I loved this :-)!!! Thank you for that. I think everyone has people in their lives that they'd rather just get away from, but through Christ we can love them as we should.

On June 28, 2010 at 1:11 AM , Art and Sew Forth said...

Phyllis-this brings many memories of the VDP's (very draining people!)I have had in my life. I have a very similar story with a woman in my church. She wasn't the one who really needed was me. Thanks for sharing!

On June 28, 2010 at 6:52 AM , Julie Riisnaes said...

Thanks for sharing this! It so much easier to learn stuff when people explain how it works out in real life!

On June 28, 2010 at 8:29 AM , ZudaGay said...

Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Phyllis! I think everyone has those hard to love people that pop into their lives at times. I know I needed the reminder to pray for them and to see them through the eyes of Love.

On June 28, 2010 at 8:57 AM , MYSAVIOR said...

Wonderful, as always!


On June 28, 2010 at 9:59 AM , Sue Runyon said...

Did I mention that those are really great item picks? :-)

On June 28, 2010 at 2:15 PM , Our Family said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. I can't tell you in words how this has affected me. In a good way. :)


On June 28, 2010 at 9:23 PM , Deb - Two Cheeky Monkeys said...

Phyllis, once again you have shared so honestly with us and challenged us so much with your blog post! Thank you.

:) Deb.

On June 29, 2010 at 6:11 AM , Melody said...

Phyllis, you are a wonder. Bless you.