Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. — Galatians 6:2
Some plants — like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, hollyhocks, delphiniums, gladiolus — need extra support in order to thrive. Their flowers or fruits are usually too heavy for the plant to support, and sometimes that fruit could rot if it touches the soil or scald if not protected by foliage.
The solution to this is staking. A branch, a length of bamboo, or even a store-bought stake will work. Gardeners simply take a thin strip of cloth and, at intervals, tie the plant to the stake. Whatever staking system is used, the function is the same: provide extra support to the plant when its blooms and fruit are more than the plant itself can bear.
Sometimes we try to support more people and problems than we can bear on our own. The burdens of life can seem impossible for us to manage. And that’s when we can take the idea of staking out of the garden into our friendships: we can be the stake for the woman whose child was arrested for drugs, whose husband was unfaithful to her, or who was just diagnosed with cancer.
Whatever the burden, if a woman we know is allowed to remain “down,” she risks rotting away in depression and loneliness, but if her situation is too exposed, she could get burned by gossip and assumption.
When we offer our time, our listening ear, and our prayers, we can support these hurting women whom God loves the same way that a stake supports a plant in the garden. When we willingly bind ourselves to this person for her sake, her burdens will no longer be as heavy. In fact, those burdens become purposeful — refining character, strengthening faith, and eventually providing an avenue of ministry to someone walking a similar path.
Who in your world needs staking today? Reach out to her; invite her to join you for coffee or lunch. And ask the Lord to equip you to be a strong stake for this person whose burdens are heavy.
Lord Jesus, my heart aches for ______________________, and I don’t know how best to support her. Help me reach out to her with the love and grace You have shown me — and help her to know she has a trusted friend in me and especially in You.
Excerpted with permission from Devotions from the Garden by Miriam Drennan, copyright Thomas Nelson.
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In so many ways the culture around us encourages women to compete with one another, to knock other women down, and to be guarded against the same kind of treatment of others. But, that is not the path to the life-giving friendships God designed us to need. We need sisters in Christ who can know our story and hold us accountable. We need girlfriends to do life with and make us laugh through our struggles. And, we need to be the kind of women who support and celebrate each other during times of failure and difficulty and times of success and victory! Are your burdens heavy right now? Are you asking for help? Is there a sister, friend, church family member, or acquaintance in your life who is uniquely struggling, grieving, or overwhelmed right now? How can you come alongside her and stake her with your love, support, and presence? I’ve been in both situations — deluged with struggles, and at other times having the bandwidth to be able to pick up some of the burdens of others and carry them until they were strong again. Come share with us on our blog about being women who support women! We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full