I was really blessed recently to host an open freezer meal shower for a friend expecting her 3rd. He has some heart issues, so there’ll be a lot of hospital stays initially after his birth, making life all the crazier for them. When we set up the shower, I wanted to bless Amanda…..but I had no idea how blessed I’d be in return.
It was so awesome to see how many people stepped in to help. We did an open-ended invitation on Face Book, and people were so generous. She got meals from people who barely new her, as well as people who didn’t know her at all. Someone even stopped by that I had never met in person before- and she didn’t even know Amanda. There were moms with 7 or so little ones who took the opportunity to bless another mom.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about how the body of Christ is supposed to work. Few of the people who came had any sort of “obligation” to do so. Most had more than enough on their own plates to justify not. Like the mommy with 7 littles who didn’t even know Amanda. And yet they came anyway. And then I thought about the fact that while meals would be greatly helpful, they probably weren’t absolutely necessary. Amanda’s mom lives nearby, she’d help a lot. They certainly wouldn’t starve, or even live on McDonalds every night if no one brought meals. Amanda probably would’ve procured more of her own meals if they hadn’t received any. As I was thinking through that, I was thinking that meal help isn’t life-or-death for any mom, really. In fact, help, period, often isn’t.
But that’s not the point. Jesus doesn’t extensively evaluate and weigh each need, deciding whether any is large enough to be attended to. The body is just about people blessing people- which comes full circle as the ones blessing are blessed back in their seasons of need.
I felt the same way after Vivi was born….we got meals from a wide range of people, many who really didn’t need one more thing on their plates. If you compared our family with those who brought us meals, 9 times out of 10 we probably had more free time on our hands. And then I remembered….people blessing people in a continuous circle….that’s what this is about; not who needs it the most.
It’s a huge blessing to band together and “bear each other’s burdens”. It’s really awesome to be part of a “working community”- a place where people help each other, and band together to help others. This, friends, is Jesus in action. Sure, you could plod along your own path, never reaching out, and never allowing others to reach in…but life would be much more bland and lacking in miracles this way!
On the opposite side of giving help, I’m learning that it’s a part of the circle of love to receive help, too. That it’s okay to not do it all yourself. That if no one was willing to receive help, the circle couldn’t keep going. It’s a good thing to allow others to bless you….and then pass it on by blessing others.
Have you taken the opportunity to reach outside your sphere and into the life of someone else recently? Have you allowed someone to offer you a helping hand when needed?
Some Ideas For Offering Help:
My personal favorite “target” is young mommies. They’ve just always had a special place in my heart, especially those who have several young ones, but no “efficient” helpers yet. So, this is where God’s directed most of my helping energy. However, there’s lots of others who need help, too. There’s widows and widowers, there’s moms homeschooling a variety of ages, there’s families where the provider is temporarily laid up, there’s large projects (like putting up a new roof) for families, and so forth. The opportunities are endless! Often, it’s easy to see a mom who has her hands full and mention something like, “I’d love to help if you ever need anything….” But however sincere that statement might be, most people wouldn’t call and say, “Yeah, I could really use some freezer meals this week….” It wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if they did, but it doesn’t usually happens- so your chances of helping are best when you can offer some specific ideas for help. Here are a few specific ideas:
-Provide several freezer meals for a mom. Not necessarily because she just had a baby (though, certainly, this is a good time to, as well!), but just because you know she could use the extra hand.
-Offer to spend a day (or morning, or afternoon) helping a mom clean, or watching and playing with the kiddos while she cleans or catches up on stuff.
-Mow lawns, do yard work for an elderly friend.
-On the same token, do housework for an elderly friend. How about just being friends with an elderly person?
-Pull together a large group of people and have a party while conquering an overwhelming project- like installing a new roof.
-Find a mom who’d be interested in help homeschooling her brood.
-Offer to teach a sewing or cooking class, or some other art you know, for local girls. I know a lot of moms would love to pass these things on to the daughters, but have a hard time just fitting in the basics everyday, and so never get to the extras.
-Have a bake-off, and bless your neighbors or others in your community.
-Find ways to get involved in a local community ministry. An example of this is that our local pregnancy center suggests, as something people can do to help, hosting a baby shower, with the pregnancy center being the “guest of honor”. The possibilities with this one are endless…