In my late teens and early twenties, I spent a lot of time serving in different ministries at our home church. It was my passion. My own life had been so impacted by others who had invested in me, I wanted God to use me in the same way. Then, I had our first daughter, we did some moving (4 times in the first 4 years of marriage to be exact), and I stopped serving all together. My ministry had become motherhood. I am so thankful that God has blessed me with the chance to make this my full time mission field but I still felt this desire to be serving my church family as well. I also feel like it is SUPER important for our children to see us being an active member of the Body of Christ. So I began praying about areas where I can serve, without taking away from my family.
|One of my middle school girls, Caroline, all grown up. I have been so blessed by my time as their Sunday School leader.|
Providing Meals- The women's ministry in our church organizes Care Calendars for families that have just had a baby, lost a family member or has been very sick. I never realized how important this was until I was on the receiving end of it after Ellie Grace was born. This is probably the easiest one for me and the one that my kids can actually help with. I usually just make a double portion of what my own family is having. I let my littles wash fruit or bake some goodies to pack up and I take them with me to drop the food off. In most cases, the families are not up for a lengthy visit, so we just hand it over at the door and make our way back home for our own dinner. I try to leave any instruction on a little note, just in case they don't eat it the night it is delivered. If something comes up, you can always call in something for delivery.
Prayer Warrior- Sometimes we will have people at church announce prayer requests or praises they would like to have lifted up. But for the "smaller" (nothing is too small or too big for God) everyday requests we tend to keep them to ourselves. Whenever God places someone on my heart or when I see a new mommy who looks just as frazzled as me, I try to make it a point to ask them "how can I pray for you?". I know that I have needed prayer but felt that it was too silly to ask for it, when I finally do, God comes to my rescue. Not that I am saying God can't answer my prayers before they are lifted up, but I think sometimes he is just waiting for me to humble myself and ask for help. Case in point, when Brooke was 2, I was struggling with potty training her. It was my first time doing it and was at a loss. I was talking to another mother about it and she asked me to be praying for her and her son who were going through the same struggles. I was amazed that she was praying for potty training!!! I thought I was the only one! So we started praying for each other as mothers and for our children, wouldn't you know that in less than a month both kids were completely out of diapers!
Mentorship- This is something that I have gotten most out of practice doing. Most of us know that God calls us, in Titus, to mentor younger women. Sometimes we think that this is just for the "elder" women in church but it is for all of us. There is always a younger woman to reach out to. It doesn't have to be anything super formal. In fact, I have found that the less formal, the better. Prayerfully consider who God would like you to invest in and make a connection with her. Invite her over to your house to hang out, take her to grab a coffee before church one Sunday, ask her to come with you to the grocery store, go watch her cheer at a football game. I know initiating the relationship can be intimidating, but what she really needs is an older friend she can talk to. Most of us have faced similar issues and insecurities, she needs to know you can come out on the other side a stronger person. I know one of the things I worried about when I taught middle school girls was that they would ask me a question and I wouldn't have an answer, but I learned that it's ok. God can teach you through them. When you honestly say "I don't know, but lets figure it out together." It shows them that we are still learning, we are human and only God has the all the answers. We show them that we love them and care about what is going on in their lives so much, that we are willing to devote our time to helping them find the answers. Just make sure you keep her trust. If there is something that you feel her parents should know about, offer to stand by her while she tells them. If she refuses, prayerfully consider how God would have you handle the situation.
All of these can be done in your home, with your children, and can have an eternal impact. I truly feel like you are blessed ten fold when you devote time to blessing others.
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.