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Metro Stories Series, Article·

Metro Stories: Melissa

I was always the one willing to carry other’s burdens but had difficulty letting others carry mine.

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I was always the one willing to carry other’s burdens but had difficulty letting others carry mine.

This past year has been filled with many ups and downs. At the forefront of these ups and downs were a plethora of health struggles. But through the strength of community, the Gospel has been made clearer and clearer. By God’s grace, my health issues were non-life threatening, yet, very humbling as they helped reveal to me how weak and fragile our bodies are. Over the span of a year, I underwent two minor medical procedures with two completely different mentalities. Throughout the beginning of my health struggles, I became reliant on myself - hiding my struggles from community and attempting to “fix” myself without any help. I became withdrawn, anxious, and fearful as I saw no end to my health issues; hopelessness began to set in. As I started to pull away, my Metro community sought me out and reminded me of the importance of community-dependence. The concept of bearing one another’s burdens, even to the point of where it hurts, was something I had trouble seeing as a two-way path. I was always the one willing to carry other’s burdens but had difficulty letting others carry mine.

Through this difficult season, my close friends consistently reminded me to not only let God take control but to also let them in and to let them walk closer with me - a foreign and uncomfortable concept. However, as I began to depend on the Gospel and my community more, those feelings of isolation, fear, and anxiety began to melt away. Though I was physically still in pain, I began to heal emotionally, mentally, and relationally. God began revealing to me how dependent I was on my own health; I realized that my dependence was to the point of idolization. As I was being stripped of my health and strength, I saw how much I relied on it - for my job, my hobbies, and so many other daily life activities. It was easy to become sad or discouraged by my physical weakness. Thankfully, my community surrounded me. They walked with me, taught me to take care of my own health, and encouraged me to see the good that comes from the struggles. Had I not been surrounded by community throughout this challenging season, I would have spiraled deeper and deeper into my idolatry and the unending path of hopeless anxiety. Relying on God and the community He has blessed me with, reminds me daily that life is so much more than my physical capabilities.

Having reflected on the pain and struggle of this past year, I know that I have truly experienced God’s unconditional love and care for me. This in turn has fundamentally deepened my love for community. I never truly understood what it meant to be part of a community until coming to Metro. Not only is Metro a congregation that I worship with on Sundays, but Metro is also a family that lives out God’s calling by caring for myself and others so deeply. The warmth and love that pours out from this community is such a beautiful representation of how He loves us as His beloved children.

“A new command I give you; Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

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