How we love matters – a brief lesson in making a difference

How we love others matters. 

Several years ago, I found myself in a place where I needed a mentor to walk beside me while I began a journey down an unsure path. God nudged me towards a lady that I knew from church, but I didn’t know her well. She agreed to meet with me, and we formed a wonderful, spiritual friendship. She was a strong, highly intelligent, no-nonsense, compassionate woman, focused on the fibers of God. She always seemed to have the right scripture and advise for every situation. She was where I wanted to be in my own spiritual walk. She was the perfect mentor for me.

As time passed, God opened wonderful opportunities for her in another state, and mentoring had to take a back seat. But that was okay. I now had the opportunity to cheer her on as she took on different roles in her life that would bless many other women seeking to build their own spiritual lives. We’ve kept in touch and it’s been exciting to see the blessings unfold for her family. 

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  I felt the need to tell her just what kind of impact she had on me two years ago. So I wrote her a lengthy email, detailing how she accepted me at a time when I really needed to just have someone believe in me – without having to jump through hoops to prove my worth. I didn’t realize how desperately I needed that. But God did. And he poured out what I needed through her acceptance and willingness to believe in my dream. Her unconditional love and friendship mattered deeply to me. She loved me because Christ loved her and she just reflects him. How she loved me mattered.

Tonight she sent me an email, telling me how much my humor, hope, and love for God and his redemption and restoration plan were exactly what she needed at that moment in her life. I had no idea. But then we often don’t know everything other people are going through. I am humbled that Jesus used me to pour into someone else, and I didn’t even know I was doing any work. That’s the best kind, right? The kind where we can take no credit.

Ephesians 2:8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. (NLT)

But how I loved her mattered. It mattered to her and it mattered to God. I just did what I like to do: encourage, build hope, strengthen bonds, and laugh. Those are attributes that Christ has built up in me. He wants me to use those traits to make sure that others feel VALUED and LOVED. Because it matters. You matter. Be sure to take what God has already put in you, and use that to make a difference. Pour your strengths into other peoples lives, because it matters.

Be blessed and be a blessing.

Heidi Cleaveland


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