About a month ago, on a blog that I read all the time (but seldom ever comment on so I bet Patrice doesn't even know who I am!) a post REALLY struck me in the heart. You can read it HERE.
Patrice and her husband Matt are kindred spirits to me in some ways I think. They have their plate VERY FULL with the care of their special son, but yet they still find time and room in their hearts to serve their God and their community. I find myself often overwhelmed with care for my kids in our situation, yet my heart yearns to serve my Lord and his people. When I saw her challenge I KNEW God wanted me to participate but wasn't sure HOW. Over the next few days, I will chronicle the journey I have been on since joining Patrice in Getting Your Serve On! I KNOW that Patrice asked for ONE blog update... but I am bending the rules! It would just be WAY TOO LONG in one post. Please forgive me!
There is one thing I want to make VERY CLEAR....I am NOT writing these posts to bring glory to myself. Just to chronicle my journey, and hopefully share hope. If I can do it with all we deal with daily, I am SURE ANYONE can find a small way to serve too!
So here goes......
If you know anything about me, you know my heart’s passion is PEOPLE and SERVING. I also happen to love cooking! Although I am the first to admit that I highly dislike large groups of people, I do love to love on people. A while back one of the blogs authors I read regularly put a challenge out there for her readers to join her in to Get Your Serve On. At the same time, in church we were going through a series on using the gifts God has given us to reach our world. This challenge and series came at a very timely time for me as my heart had been leading me to some reform, and I decided to join in. In thinking and praying on how exactly I planned to Get My Serve On I focused on a number of things.
What’s My Passion???
One thing I have learned through the years is that it is counter productive to serve if the area you are serving is not your passion. It is my belief that if you are serving in an area to just serve then your time and energy is dry, and I don’t believe that God called us to dry serving. It is also my belief that when you follow the passions God has put in your heart, then He will lead you and guide you and bless the service!
With this in mind, I spent a few weeks in deep prayer over what exactly is my passion. I mean I know I love people. I know I want to serve my community. And I know that I do that. But I really felt I needed to focus, after all my community can be quiet LARGE if I am considering serving them all! So where is the TRUE passion of my heart?
Through this prayer I have come to some conclusions. My heart is passionate for those walking the road of struggle and strife. There are many walking this road, for many reasons, so I asked God to clarify or narrow that vision down and this is what I have heard in my heart:
Many walk the tough rough because of choices that they have made and I have heart for those people. For me, it is always hard to see fellow humans go without what I consider basic needs (shelter, food, work, basic provisions).
While I have heart for these people, I REALLY have HEART for the people that walk the road of struggle that they seemingly have no control over. To me some, example of those types of people are:
The families that have disabled or critically ill children
For the most part, these families are dealt a hand no one ever expects to be dealt through no cause of their own. Many of these families deal with financial burdens that are overwhelming, in addition to the constant care of their child or children. Most of these families have little to no community support. And while most of these families struggle daily, most of them do not qualify for public assistance because those programs do not take into account the extraordinary expense of their plight. I could go on and on about how this group struggles daily for the little things, but I won’t do that to you, let me just say these are people that are often over looked and struggle daily.
The people who have been hit hard by the current economy
It seems that people are just struggling so much more recently, and it is so hard to make ends meet for many people. Many times there are families working their tails off to make ends meet and they are falling just short. Many of these people are not spending foolishly or doing anything wrong per say, but they just can’t make it. And the thing that makes me crazy is that there is NO HELP for these people really out there! If you are working hard and trying, then you don’t qualify for many assistance programs, if you have a home, but are just short on the rent no one will help you until you get a delinquency notice. The problem with this that people have to get so far behind that it is near impossible to dig out in order to get help… kind of counter productive if you ask me! So many times these people just need a little hand up but those are so hard to find!
People or families striving to overcome the evils of our society
When I say this I mean domestic violence, abuse, addiction, victims of dysfunctional families, etc.
There are many who cling on who have been negatively affected by these things, and often fitting the profile to access programs can be difficult. There are plenty of programs for victims of PHYSICAL domestic violence, but even the law enforcement won’t help you if you are not getting beat! There are lots of programs for drug and alcohol addiction, but if someone in your family has a different addition our society downplays the effects of that addiction. Sexual addicts, pornography addicts, gambling addicts…. They all have same destructive habits and patterns of any addict and they all destroy the family foundation.
Once God helped me clarify WHO I wanted to bless, then I asked him to lay it on my heart of HOW I could bless these folks. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but I wanted to make SURE it was the plan and path God wanted me on. Through much prayer and study, I do believe that this path was confirmed!
I believe that EVERYONE deserves and needs an affordable food supply, and meals.
I also believe that certain populations need education and hope provided for them.
Please come back tomorrow to see how God would have me serve in these areas!
(okay... so it's not so nice of me to leave a cliff hanger like this... but the kids are READY to go on a picnic! I promise ... I have pictures and updates on our sevrvice projects... tomorrow!)