Have you ever seen an infinity pool? The water appears to be spilling away, but that’s really just an illusion. In reality, the water is captured in a catch basin and re-circulated.
Such a beautiful architectural design.
And what a picture of life.
So much of life is spent pouring out, whether as a spouse, as a parent, as a coach or in a job.
Lots of time spent giving, listening, encouraging and serving. Lots and lots of pouring out.
And it’s easy to wonder what difference any of it makes.
Twenty years ago, I took a big step outside of my comfort zone and agreed to lead a weekly Discipleship Group of four 7th grade girls in my church.
Secretly, I was terrified. I felt completely ill-equipped to mentor these girls. At the time, I was the mother of a young child. I’d recently left my successful corporate career for the Mommy Track and felt ill-equipped for that role, too.
What could I offer these girls? I had a “black-belt” in mistakes. I’d made more than my share of poor choices throughout my life. But I was willing to pour out, to invest time and love in their lives.
We met every Wednesday night for several years. Along the way, we took a few weekend retreats, too. The girls shared their life struggles, their fears and anxieties as well as their hopes and dreams. Lots of laughter and lots of tears. (We’re talking teenaged girls, after all!)
As a leader, it meant consistently pouring out, with no real way of measuring whether my investment of time and love was making a difference. But I loved these girls as if they were my own, and stumbled along, without a clear blueprint for “mentoring.”
Fast-forward twenty years. I’ve stayed in touch with all four of “my girls.” Each one has experienced great joys and deep heartache and sorrow. Through these last two decades, each one has continued to grow stronger in her faith. It’s been like watching beautiful flowers blossom.
Recently, I received letters from several of the girls in honor of my birthday. One wrote: “Thank you for taking on a group of silly, boy-crazy, dramatic 7th graders and providing the most life-giving and meaningful small group experience I have EVER HAD – and I’ve had lots of amazing ones since then!! You truly have changed my life-and I know I am not alone in that.”
From another: “I felt that time and your investment in my life was a real turning point in my faith.” “You always had a great way and balance with us…we had so much fun and laughed a ton, but also truly went deep in a way that has left an indelible mark on me. You took our faith and our MANY questions seriously and helped us grapple with these things, always pointing us to Jesus.”
Wow. My heart could burst. What encouraging words to remind me of the long-term value of pouring out. (And how special to receive that affirmation in writing so that I can re-read it on days when I need a boost.)
Are you in the midst of a season of giving, wondering if your investment of time, patience and love is making a difference?
Trust me. You are making a difference. When you pour out love, it always comes back to you. Just like the infinity pool. It might take a few minutes and it might take decades.
Has someone faithfully poured into you? Why not take a few minutes this weekend and write a note to a mentor who made a difference in your life?
Your words of appreciation and affirmation will provide refreshing and encouragement to one who has faithfully invested in you.
Keep pouring out love. You are making a difference.
Image courtesy of Worthy Pools and Spas
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