On The Journey, Judy Bowman

“Tender hearts”

I’m a weeper. I thought about using the word “crier” but that implies something rather dignified and demure. Picture a tight shot of a beautiful Ingrid Bergman as a perfect tear slides slowly down her flawless cheek. This does NOT describe me. I weep. Great gasping gulps of air in between baleful bellows and bursts of waterworks. Imagine a Bigfoot howling underwater and you’ll have a pretty good idea. And I weep at lots of stuff. Sad songs, of course. The National Anthem, certainly. Puppies. Kittens. To be honest, almost anything, given the right mood. It’s been this way all my life and I blame it on my grandfather. He was what we in the South call “tender-hearted.” Every summer my family would make the long drive to Texas to spend a week or two with him and my grandmother. At the end of our time with them, we’d pile into the car for our drive back to Georgia as my grandfather stood weeping and waving to us in his driveway. He was my kindred spirit.

Someone with this personality trait, like me, has come by it naturally. It’s part of our makeup, of how we relate to the world. It’s probably part genetics and part how we were raised and the examples set for us by the people in our lives. Knowing that my grandfather and I were both teary types always made me feel closer to him. It also made me feel a little bit better about the waterworks. But there’s a different kind of tender-heartedness that’s a gift of the Holy Spirit. In this way, our hearts are conformed to the heart of Jesus.

Jesus was definitely tender-hearted. But not the merely weepy type like me and my grandfather. Jesus cried for his friend, Lazarus. And then He raised him from the dead. He wept over Jerusalem. And then He suffered and died for her salvation. He tenderly poured out His life in the Holy Eucharist the very night that the men with whom He’d shared it would abandon and betray Him. Yet “having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1). Jesus’ tender heart is courageous and strong. Throughout His public ministry, both His heart and His mission proclaimed love, mercy, and holy purpose. “I have set my face like flint” (Isaiah 50:7). His tender heart led Him to the Cross.

To have a heart that is tender and open like Jesus’ Sacred Heart is also to conform our will to His will. His tender love was a love that called a sin by its name and with the clarity of His light and justice. Jesus was tender to the sinner but never soft on sin. We’re called to follow Him. Our hearts must be just as eager to root out and name our own sins. A tender heart is one that is frequently tilled and weeded by our examination and repentance. Frequent confession is a great “tenderizer” as the Church knows and teaches. Tender hearts seek Jesus in prayer, which is our lifeline to a relationship with Him. We learn to deny ourselves so that we can become more like our Lord, who poured out His heart in love for us. And so we are also charged with service and giving of ourselves. Among the primary acts of our service is to forgive. Tender hearts reach out to those who have wronged us and offer them mercy like our Lord does. We give our hearts away despite knowing that sometime they’ll be trod upon. We look at Christ’s courage in loving and trusting others and we imitate Him. Tender hearts don’t carry grudges. We are vulnerable to the pain caused by other people and we love them anyway. Even when we’re hurt, we remain sensitive to the pain of others. We comfort, we console. We mourn with those who grieve. Tears shed out of love for another’s pain are precious to Jesus. We shed them freely.

I’m thankful for those early memories of my sweet grandfather who cried for me as I left him each summer. He showed me I wasn’t alone in being quick to cry out of love. When someone called me “tender-hearted” I felt close to him and it made me feel less different. My life is richer for it and my faith is nourished by my tears. You’ll know when you see me at Mass—I’m the one at the end of the pew, always looking for a tissue.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” — Ephesians 4:32

MaKayla Thomas, North Whitfield Baptist Church

This Sunday Brother JT Sanders preached on all the praying mothers and other children of God that are willing to get down to business with the Lord; people that really want to see God move in their lives and others. He mentioned some of the praying mothers and women in the Bible, like Hannah, who came to God and put their faith in Him. As for upcoming events, we have the Youth Rally this Friday and Saturday. It starts on Friday at 7 pm and Saturday at 2 pm. We would also like to let everyone who wants to help with VBS know that they need to meet after church Sunday, May 19th. Be sure to come down to North Whitfield sometime! We would love to have you!

Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

Mother’s Day at Pleasant Valley Baptist. We were honored to have so many mothers with us to worship the Lord on the Lord’s Day. First and foremost, the Lord should always be honored and worshipped. But on this special Sunday, set aside to recognize and acknowledge the great sacrifices mothers make for their families and children, we honored all mothers. Each mother was presented a beautiful, lovely red rose. As the children of mothers, we should honor and treasure all each has done in our lives.

In Sunday School, we had a brief focus on how Mother’s Day came to be and on Ann Jarvis the founder of this national holiday. Mother’s Day is also recognized in other countries on different days. While Ms. Jarvis was not a mother, her goal was a personal recognition and acknowledgment of her own mother. At the end of her life, she died penniless fighting against the day she had been responsible for establishing because of the great commercialization of the day. The official flower of Mother’s Day is the Carnation. When the carnation withers, it does not lose its petals but draws them into the heart of the flower. A beautiful sentiment of what children mean to mothers.

An even greater demonstration of love is the Lord. No greater demonstration of love can be seen than God sending His only begotten son to die in our stead for the sins of the world. Christ freely sacrificed Himself on the cross that we might spend eternity in heaven with Him. While mother’s give us physical life, it is true each of us faces death in the future. Each will stand accountable to the Lord for the things done in this life. Christ is the true giver of life, eternal life with Him! Trust Him as your personal Savior. Believe, confess, and receive Christ today!

Continue to join with us in prayer for all those on our prayer list knowing God knows their names and their needs. Please pray for the Bryson family in the loss of Alvin. Pray for health needs including Lula Petty, Carolyn Denton, Emma Jo Davis, Warren McAllister, Denise Pitts, and Claudia Armstrong. Pray for our Pastor, his family, and their needs. Remember the needs of the church for growth, ministry, and seeing souls saved and lives changed. Pray for VBS scheduled in July. Our country is in desperate need of prayer and revival. God promises if people will hear and turn from wicked ways, He will hear and heal our land. Pray we hear, pray we turn (repent). Our president and leaders need our prayers. Always, pray for military, police and first responders. Remember to pray for missionaries around the world.

Missionary serving in Mexico, Mr. Abbott, was recently killed along with other members of the family in an auto accident. Please remember that family in your prayers. We need to pray always, one for another.

Happy birthday to all celebrating this special day this week. May God richly bless you on your day!

Vacation Bible School will be July 22-26, 6:30 pm for ages 4th-12th grade. Our theme this year will be Farm Fresh Faith. Make plans now to have your children and young people involved with this exciting ministry. Schools will soon be out for the summer. Make sure you know where your children are and what they are spending their time doing.

Service times are Sunday School 10 AM, Worship 11 AM, Evening 6 PM with prayer time at 5:45 PM. Wednesday Bible Study and Youth at 7 PM. Call 537-3633 for transportation.

If you have a desire to know and learn the Word of God, you need to be at Pleasant Valley Baptist. Pastor Flood always presents God’s Word, as lead by the Holy Spirit. It will be profitable for your soul and you will leave knowing you have been in the presence of the Lord. Do you need entertainment or do you need to experience God in your life? Come soon to be blessed. We are waiting to see you!