“It has become more vital to protect our own station than advocate for a world that needs Jesus, who came to us, wrapped in our skin, speaking our language. If we were not too beneath Christ, who died for us while we were still sinners, then how dare we take a superior position over any other human being? How lovely a faith community that goes forth as loving sisters and brothers rather than angry defenders and separatists.” (Jen Hatmaker)
So one of the first questions I received after yesterday’s post was…now what? HOW do we respond to this interruption? This passion? This unsettling? One of the first things we got involved in a couple years ago was an amazing organization in Conroe called Compassion United. It was formed after the Redus family set out one morning with a cooler full of breakfast tacos to meet the homeless in Conroe. They had no idea what they were doing, except that God had asked them to do it. 8 years later they have expanded into a large ministry that helps feed the hungry, teach life skills to those in their men’s shelter, help pregnant moms in crisis, and more.
Our Sunday school class started volunteering to prepare and serve dinner and/or breakfast every month or two at one of their locations. I was so overwhelmed and intimidated the first time we went. I had recently completed a study by Kelly Minter where she challenged us to actually know the needy so I intentionally introduced myself to those that I could. That day I met Diane. Her feet hurt, life was hard, and she just needed a good meal.
Every Tuesday in the summer our church helped prepare and serve breakfast to families in need in Willis, TX. My eyes were opened to the fact that many needy families struggle more in the summer to provide food to their children. Many of them live on one meal a day, if not less. During the school year they receive the free reduced breakfast and lunches so summer becomes a huge expense on these families. This was an activity my kids could attend too. We only got to go 2 times this summer but I love opening my kids eyes to serving others. We have also recently become involved with a kinship family through the Angel Reach organization. Angel Reach provides transitional services for kids aging out of the foster care system. They also help support kinship families – those that have taken in/adopted a family member’s child. Unfortunately these caregivers do not receive state funding, like in other adoptions. So depending on their situation, they may struggle with supporting the extra kids. Angel Reach provides them with food, clothing, home repair assistance, support, among many other things.
Meet Brenda and Loretta. Without hesitation, Brenda took in her husband’s 3 grandchildren when their mother lost custody. Her life was majorly interrupted 4 years ago.
Meet sweet sweet Norma. Don’t you want to take her home with you???
Loretta and Norma also have a brother but he runs too fast to be in pictures. I’m sure all you boy moms can relate.
We have just begun this relationship with their family but I have the privilege of speaking with Brenda (the mom/grandma) weekly and getting to know them better. Such a simple thing that has already blessed me so much. We are supporting them with several other families from our church group and are so excited to see how our resources and gifts can help them realize their own gifts. Sometimes it’s as simple as throwing an 11 year old girl a birthday party.
Sometimes you may have a neighbor that is in over their heads, new to the neighborhood, or struggling with something you don’t know about. Invite them over. Take them dinner. Offer to watch their kids. I’ve found that so many people are willing to accept help if needed, you just have to ASK. And if you don’t think you have anyone around you to help, just start praying. God will show you.
It all comes down to the fact that people crave relationships. Relationships with each other and hopefully a relationship with their heavenly Father.
“Church should be what ends up happening as a natural response to people wanting to follow us, be with us, and be like us as we are following the way of Christ.” (Jen Hatmaker)
I sit back a lot and get frustrated because I can’t figure out the end game. If God had given me a detailed outline of how my life would go and what I was supposed to do, it would’ve been super helpful. So we have decided to just say “yes” when we feel like God has called us to something and pray that what we do makes a difference in the lives of others.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Another piece of advice I was given (but don’t always follow) is to keep your schedule as empty as possible so you are available to others. Intentionally set aside a day or two a week where you have no plans so when God comes knocking, you can answer. Maybe it’s unexpectedly being able to meet with someone who needs a listening ear. Or watching someone’s kids who need last minute childcare. Taking someone to the doctor. Satan rejoices in the fact that we are so BUSY. When we are busy we don’t have time to help others. We don’t have time to sit down and have daily quiet time with God. And sometimes I am leading the pack on this so have made it a goal to just slow down and be still whenever we can.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Just say yes. Start somewhere. We could not and have not done any of this without the help of friends who want to walk this journey with us. None of this has been done in our strength. God provides all that (thank goodness).
Would love to hear how any of you have answered your own interruptions!
Posting in 2 days has nearly killed me. Actually summer is about to kill me. I only have pre-schoolers and I’m still over it.
Hopefully we will be back to our regularly scheduled program come September when I finally have extra hours each week to use the restroom in peace and sit at the computer without someone trying to staple me to the office chair. Talk about interruptions!