February 28, 2020

Marks of the True Christian
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do 8not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:9-18

Two weeks ago, my husband and I received our first placement as foster parents. We were overjoyed by the addition of twin baby girls to our family for what we were told would be a long-term placement. There are so many things one needs for a baby, but now we needed double!

Our placement ended abruptly after two and a half days, and we were left in a very spiritually and emotionally confusing place. During that brief period our family, friends, church, and random strangers rallied around us to meet as many needs as they could. We were astounded by the generosity and love that was bestowed upon us in such a short period of time.

I felt many different emotions after our placement, including anger, sadness, and disappointment. I did not expect to feel emotions of embarrassment and unworthiness, but I did. We received unmerited favor from our community, but did we deserve it? After pondering my feelings, I realized that I had never really been on the receiving end of such love except when I received the grace of Jesus Christ. I have helped with many missions in and outside of a church setting in my time, and I have seen God work in those places. When God’s people gather it is powerful and sometimes overwhelming; however, it is then that I do believe we get to fully experience just how gracious and loving our God truly is.

Heavenly Father, I pray that You will continue to show us your love in many unexpected ways throughout our life. I pray that you will free us from the lie that is self-condemnation when receiving your grace and help us to be as gracious receivers as we are givers. Amen.

Hannah Lane Zimmerman

About the Contributor:
Hannah is a member of First Presbyterian of Spartanburg, currently serves on the Diaconate, serves as a coordinator for SPIHN, and serves on the Welcome Committee. She is married to Matthew Zimmerman and they have a spirited golden retriever and several chickens.