Chuck and Julie Bergeron, young missionaries to the Navajo Indians in New Mexico, were on their way to Dubuque, Iowa for deputation work.
While driving through Kansas, Chuck became very ill. Doubled over in pain, he was taken to an area hospital where he was diagnosed with an acute gallbladder attack.
Julie was stranded in a strange place, pregnant and caring for their four little girls. What would they do, where would they go, how would she care for herself and her young children hundreds of miles from home?
Caring folk, aware of their need, became Jesus with skin on to the Bergeron family. They offered the use of a small camper trailer parked near their own home. Their extended hospitality included access to the main house should Julie have a need. It wasn’t home, but it provided immediate security, stability and a place to lay their heads at night.
Hoping to maintain a semblance of order, Julie kept a schedule of sorts during the two weeks Chuck was in the hospital. One day she slipped over to the main house for just a moment with her two youngest daughters, leaving her daughter Joy, 7 and Elisha, 5 in the trailer. If they needed her, she was close by.
Julie and the girls made their way to the adjacent house unaware that a savage tornado was headed their way. It descended on the unsuspecting young family with sudden ferocity.
The fury of the storm set a formidable barrier between the young mother and Joy and Elisha. Her girls were so close, yet so far away. Frantic, she pulled her babies near. While they waited out the storm, she anxiously prayed for God’s peace and protection. They were so small, and the storm so great.
As soon as its fury was spent, Julie gathered her girls and together they ran to the little trailer. She had no idea what she would find, or how she would bear the grief if her girls were injured or worse.
Covering the short distance in record time, Julie flung wide the door to the still standing trailer. It took a moment for her to take in the picture before her. Cuddled in the center of the trailer, staring at the door, sat Joy with her arms wrapped tightly around frightened, crying Elisha. They were holding onto one another as if their lives depended on it.
Joy did well until she saw her momma, then her facade crumbled. Through her tears, she sobbed, “I was trying real hard to take care of Elisha, but there wasn’t anyone to take care of me!”
Sometimes in our caring we become so other conscious that we neglect to take care of ourselves. A very wise person once said, “You can’t give out of a deficit.”
You, too, must have rest, nourishment and encouragement if you are going to be strong enough to help others. Do what you can and then leave the rest to God. He is in control of the timing and circumstances. Let go and let God.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (NIV)