I hesitate to start a page about serving others.
I’d been going back and forth on whether or not I would, and voiced my concerns to Andrew, specifically referencing Matthew 6:1, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them,”. Andrew pointed out to me that the purpose of the verse is to check your motives – why are you telling people how you’re serving others? Is it for your personal glory? So others will give you a pat on the back? He already knew the answer as he was asking me this, but I want to make sure others know the answer too.
I’m in no way trying to flaunt what I’m doing. This page has come out of a struggle I’ve gone through as a Christian mom, feeling isolated from the rest of the world while I joyfully serve my family. I’m not in a position right now to clean someone’s house who’s on bed rest, nap schedules don’t allow me to run extra errands for an elderly neighbor, etc.
I often feel alone. My spiritual gift is serving and while I ache to serve others, I’ve struggled with how. If my kids were older we could go to a soup kitchen, food pantry, do yard work for a neighbor, walk dogs as favors to people, shovel driveways, or whatever else someone needed help with. But my kids are young.
I also want my kids to understand that while it’s my job and joy to serve them, they aren’t the center of the world. I want them to see that there are others who have needs greater than their own. In the midst of me serving my family, I want my family to learn to serve others.
My pregnancy and the birth of Cooper were the biggest trials our family has ever been through. We received so much help and yet still felt like we were drowning. I remember one particularly rough day, promising myself that when this was over I would never again be so quick to turn down a service opportunity because I felt like I was too busy caring for my kids. Before our trial, I would often blow off emails from our church for ministry needs because it wasn’t a convenient time for me to help. God used our NICU experience to convict me deeply of my lack of compassion and empathy as well as my self-centered attitude.
In the hospital, I had never before been so desperate for time, energy, sleep, prayer, meals, encouraging conversation, scripture specific to my trial, baby sitters, and chocolate. Despite the comfort and peace God provided, my needs were extreme. I cry thinking of how God provided through people in our church. I was so thankful they didn’t blow off the church emails because it was inconvenient for them at the time. I have never felt so little control over my life. Looking back on our situation and looking around at others currently in their own trials, I understand now that they don’t have the luxury of saying, “Sorry, but this isn’t convenient for me right now.” They don’t have a get out of jail free card. So for me, when going through smaller everyday trials, to turn down opportunities to help someone who can hardly help themselves because it won’t be easy for me is a completely wrong attitude. And, furthermore, in all honestly, when will I ever be in a situation where serving will be a breeze? Possibly never.
Serving isn’t about my comfort and convenience, it’s about meeting needs in a Christ-like way. Christ served people through sacrifice, ultimately the sacrifice of his life. We’re commanded to live like Christ and I believe sacrifice is one of the biggest ways to do so. Sacrifice my facebook time to prep food for a friend. Sacrifice my movie night to visit someone in the hospital. Sacrifice the time I think I deserve to recharge my batteries, to invest in someone facing a trial far greater than mine. Serving others is about letting them know, beyond merely words, that you truly care for them and empathize with their needs. It’s about loving your neighbor more than you love yourself. In sacrificing yourself to meet their physical needs, you’re being the hands and feet of Christ. You’re letting them know they’re not alone. You’re ministering to their hearts when they so desperately need it; it’s not to be taken lightly.
I’ve been praying about it and pondering what that looks like with a 1 and 3 year old, who I can’t neglect in the process of serving others and who are very limited in their abilities to serve. They can’t do hard labor, they can’t focus on a task for long, Cooper gets into everything where ever we go, etc. But I kept thinking surely there’s a way. God’s since put three things on my heart that I plan to share about through here, solely for the purpose of encouraging other moms with young kids that there are ways to serve with your little ones! I hope this is helpful to other moms who have dealt with this same struggle! If you’re already serving with your wee ones, I’d love to hear what you’re doing as well!Here’s what God’s placed on my heart:
1 – Involving my kids in preparing nourishing, real food, to those in need. Moms with a rough first trimester, moms with newborns, a Christian with severe illness, a non-Christian with a broken arm, a family in a financially hard time, the list goes on and on. God used an encounter through my IG account to bring about this burden. A mom named Heather contacted me about kombucha SCOBYs I offered KC locals. Through our convo I found out she was interested because she wanted to make kombucha for her youngest daughter who is going through leukemia. God opened the doors for us to be able to make her a healing, nutrient dense meal, kombucha, cultured vegetables, and some chicken broth for her gut infection. It sparked biblical conversation between Emery and I while we prepared everything and it was a service opportunity right up our alley.
2 – My grandma shared with me a few months ago how she’s started going to nursing homes to play the piano regularly to give the people there something fun to do each month. She’s been able to have great conversations with them and it’s been such an encouragement to her. God left her story nagging in the back of my mind that whole afternoon and I finally realized how perfect that would be for our family. We don’t play musical instruments, but we decided to “adopt” a grandparent or two from a local nursing home once we move to TX at the end of October 2014. We plan to go once a week, meet with the same one or two people [we plan to ask to be paired with someone who is in physical state that wouldn’t be hard for Emery to see and who also doesn’t have anyone who visits them.] We plan to do different things each week – play games, bring artwork from the kids, bring baked goods, dinner, dessert, take them on walks if they’re wheel chair bound, being flowers to cheer up their room, etc. It’s something I can prepare for during the week with the kids, something our whole family can do together with such young kids, it gets us involved with the same people every week [vs evangelism with new people each week and potentially no deep connections], and they’re stuck there so they probably won’t ask to get rid of us, haha! Although they’re not necessarily going through a temporary and stressful trial, I would personally hate being stuck in the same place all the time. I imagine my heart would be heavy and I would ache for something to brighten my day. Some love, encouragement, and fellowship. How many people are stuck in their rooms and can’t get out whenever they want? I thought I was going to die of loneliness when I had to do that for 18 weeks with both my pregnancies – the seclusion was overwhelming. I can’t imagine knowing the rest of my life was going to look that way.
3 – On that same note, I would love to find out if we could visit people that are in the hospital long term, particularly kids. Too often I feel like going out for a night on the town on a Friday night, but the only person it benefits is myself. How much more of an impact would it make if our family gave up some of our nights of luxury to encourage others who are suffering? There are sweet children battling cancer who’s parents can’t be there with them. How much relief and joy could that bring them to have other kids come visit them and adults come pray over them?
So that’s where we’re at – the very beginning of learning how to serve with little kids. I hope this page is an encouragement for you to explore ways God might have your family serve in your community. I’d love to hear what He puts on your heart! If you’re already serving with little ones, I’d love to hear what you’re doing!
Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider how we might spur one another on toward love and good deeds!”