“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” John 13:14-15
Suffer the Kindness
This weekend, our family had the gift of being back at our old church (in America). The entire service was beautiful and allowed me to feel deep emotions that have been stored up within my heart. Our pastor preached a sermon on servanthood and focused on the passage where Jesus washed the disciples’ feet.
As he was speaking, I was reminded of my wedding when Titus and I washed each other’s feet (in both America and Kenya). On both days and both continents, I wore white and had freshly manicured feet. Titus was also dressed and looking his best. There was joy in the moment, in the giving and the receiving. I knew the water, basin and towels were symbolic of choices we were making to love and serve one another.
It was in the days and weeks to follow that we learned so much more about “washing feet,” until it actually became a saying in our house, because there were plenty of moments when I didn’t want to give or receive. And there was always a choice before me.
This school of learning to love and serve spilled over into parenthood. It dwells in our work at Living Room. It’s growing in our home and family. And in this season of bringing our children with all of their hurts and our hopes for their healing to America, I have been struck by how hard it can be for me, like Peter, to allow others to wash my feet. The journey that my family is on is so much bigger than ourselves. There is no way we can do this without community and support; and yet, there is often this desire within me to see how to repay or give back when a kindness or generosity has been given to me.
Right now, I am learning to simply receive with gratitude.
To the dentist, who I’ve never met before, who surprisingly said, “no charge.” I was not entitled to this kindness and certainly wasn’t expecting it but grateful nonetheless.
To the art teacher who welcomes my little ones to come and create, I say thank you.
To all who have given clothes and toys, strollers and beds, I am overwhelmed by your generosity.
To the friend who has lent us their car, thank you.
To the family who has opened up their home and lives to the seven of us, there are no words. We have a baby and several toddlers. We are not low maintenance guests; and yet, we are grateful.
Honestly, we are experiencing humbling kindness on a daily basis. And I can hear within my soul these words from a teaching I listened to years ago by Dan Allender. He said, “Don’t defame their gift. You are figuring out in your heart and mind how you can repay the gift you have been given. Suffer the kindness of God on your behalf.”
Suffer the kindness of God.
“Father, may we graciously receive from others as if it was coming from You—gifts that cannot be repaid. Amen.”