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Posts Tagged ‘serving’

There are few things as moving as witnessing some one show genuine love for others. Big hugs, and sturdy greetings with sincere eye contact. The receiver wears an expression showing how much it means to them to be loved as they are.

In my adventures this weekend, I was blessed to witness such an exchange and it was beautiful. I spent the evening observing and processing, while inwardly scolding myself for being such a goof when introduced to quite a few people that I did not know. Nothing quite like standing there awkwardly after giving my name, while the others are standing there waiting for some polite conversation to occur. This was one of those times where I wished I had a t-shirt or memorized phrase to spout off something to the effect of: please excuse any weird behavior. I am an introvert trying to cope with a new situation and/or human interaction.

Lately God has been bringing back to my heart the desire to love people, build relationships, and serve them in whatever way possible. I am not talking about the pretty, everything is perfect type stuff. I am talking about the beautiful, messy, walking with imperfect people toward a perfect God journey. I am talking about Mother Teresa in the slums of India loving lepers and helping people die with dignity, and Shane Claiborne becoming “family” with the people in a not-so-pretty neighborhood in Philly.

Honestly, I don’t know where He wants me to go with this or what He wants me to do from here. It scares me a bit, like the anxiety of going up the sharp incline of a roller coaster. I don’t even know how to go about it when I struggle to interact with people. I don’t know if it will be something I will just discover and do one day, or whether I will be a part of a team that could help me in the areas I am weak in. Sometimes it can be so terrifyingly exciting thinking about it! I am thankful that He is the one orchestrating it, because I have no clue how its all going to happen.

All I know is this I want to serve God. I want to serve others. I want to love people, not just say it. Family is my main core value and I want others to feel the sense of family, especially those who don’t quite fit in. If I could do anything with my life, I would serve others full time, whether it be local mission work, helping local churches or smaller non-profits. When I think about all those things, it makes me both happy to know where my heart is, but sad I am not there yet. I am in a place where I don’t know where that fits into my current life, especially as a single mom of 3 kids. There are times I feel so discouraged because it feels impossible, yet I feel excited to have a goal to attain even if I have no clue how I will get to it or what it will look like.

So for now I keep praying, hoping, and learning as I go. I know God has this all mapped out, and will guide my steps. It gives me a peace know that its ok to go through all these thoughts and feel overwhelmed and excited all at the same time. My prayer is that in the end, it will be yet another small chapter in the big story of God big love for us.

 

 

 

 

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The more I have reflected on serving and what God’s call might be in my life, I find myself realizing that serving in church is easy.  It’s when you start hearing God call you beyond what is comfortable where it gets hard.

The past couple of weeks I have been diving into books written by people I want to be like.  My ultimate goal is to be like Christ, but there are people who are striving to be like Him too, and I am learning so much! My friends on FB and in real life probably get sick of me mentioning Shane Claiborne, and now Mother Teresa, but there are is much to be gleaned from their lives. I also look forward to whoever God leads me to read about next! The more I read about them, the more I realize that I should be doing more…not that I should add another activity to my serving schedule at church, but that I should be concentrating on doing small things with great love. I should be striving to see Jesus in everyone, and reaching out to the hurting, to the outcasts, and whoever else God brings my way.

That’s all easy in theory. I struggle with knowing how short I come to truly loving my neighbor. I know that I cannot be perfect, and that I will mess up, but I want to be so much better! I find myself avoiding people that probably need me (or better worded, Jesus in me). Or looking the other way. Or thinking of how much better I am. Sometimes I don’t even realize it until after it’s all said and done! Then I end up talking with God, admitting how awful I am, and thankful He is patient and loving. He is ever working on me, helping me be more aware of my shortcomings so I can work on those areas.

Just this morning, He reminded me that I am still resisting Him. For the past 2 years, He has really wanted me to trust Him (ok maybe my whole life! lol). He picked me up when I was cast aside, and held me at some of the loneliest moments I have experienced. He revealed His love to me and delivered me from depression and anxiety. He has provided for me and my children financially and emotionally. There is so much, and yet I hold back. I still hold on, wanting to stay in control. But then there is the other part of my heart wanting to let go. I am thankful that I am more aware of that tug of war in my heart…because I think not having that awareness is worse. At least I know so I can pray about it specifically. I don’t know why I feel like I can’t fully trust Him, He is good, and would never hurt me. Maybe it’s because I feel so unworthy to be used by Him…I don’t know.

What I do know is God is calling me to something so much bigger than my life. There are still a bunch of unknowns, but I do know that He is calling me to let the rejected and outcasts know that He loves them. I have brief glimpses of part of it, but there is an overwhelming feeling of how broad it could be. I know that God has filled my heart with such compassion and the desire to help people…even since I was a child! And now, I know trusting God is going to be an important part of this call.

I have to admit that I am a bit scared and excited…kinda like a wild roller coaster ride. I am praying about all of it, and reading all I can. I am also being faced with my own insecurities and faults. I know that my call will be relational…which means risk. For me I will have to risk getting hurt again by people in general, and that’s pretty much a guarantee. I will have to risk people misunderstanding me, and I will have to be secure in my identity in Christ. I have to weigh how it may affect my family, and make sure whatever I do, is what He wants me to do. There is so much to consider and I have to be careful not to let considerations paralyze me with inaction.  All I know is that I want to love on people with the love God has given me, so by doing so I pass on His love, so that they may one day do the same.

Here is a passage I read by Mother Teresa in No Greater Love

Who is Jesus to me?

Jesus is the Word made flesh.

Jesus is the Bread of Life.

Jesus is the Victim offered for our sins on the the cross.

Jesus is the sacrifice offered at holy Mass for the sins of the world and for mine.

Jesus is the Word to be spoken.

Jesus is the truth to be told.

Jesus is the way to be walked.

Jesus is the light to be lit.

Jesus is the life to be lived

Jesus is the love to be loved.

Jesus is the joy to be shared.

Jesus is the peace to be given.

Jesus is the hungry to be fed.

Jesus is the thirsty to be satiated.

Jesus is the naked to be clothed.

Jesus is the homeless to be taken in.

Jesus is the sick to be healed.

Jesus is the lonely to be loved.

Jesus is the unwanted to be wanted.

Jesus is the leper to wash His wounds.

Jesus is the beggar to give Him a smile.

Jesus is the drunkard to listen to Him.

Jesus is the mentally ill to protect Him.

Jesus is the little one to embrace Him.

Jesus is the blind to lead Him.

Jesus is the dumb to speak for Him.

Jesus is the crippled to walk with Him.

Jesus is the drug addict to befriend Him.

Jesus is the prostitute to remove from danger and befriend Her.

Jesus is the prisoner to be visited.

Jesus is the old to be served.

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I have been wanted to write a post on serving for several weeks and after all the reflecting I have done this past week, it’s high time I write it lol  My mind has been going in several directions on this topic, so hopefully I won’t jump around too much.

This week, while emotionally challenging (for various reasons), has brought about an awakening inside me that I wasn’t sure ever would happen. My battle with depression and anxiety had taken such a toll on me mentally, that even after God healed me, I was left with a feeling that I had lingering “damage” from it. I cannot do the situation justice in my description, but I felt “slow”, numb, and having to re-learn how to deal with emotions in a non-depressed state. I felt wholly inadequate in my job and serving, and felt guilty for not having a passion for something.

A few weeks ago, I was serving in Toon Town, and had to FIGHT with all I had not to run out in tears (which honestly may have been because I was sick that day lol). There I was trying to lead a discussion with some little girls, and it was going nowhere fast. I felt like such a failure! I used to work so well with children in classroom settings and the like, and I couldn’t even get the tiniest bit of interest out of these kids! I was so frustrated and felt like maybe I shouldn’t be helping. My prayer since then has been for God to restore my mental/emotional capacity, and I hadn’t really paid attention to what He was doing in that aspect until now.

Conversations with various  friends  and fighting through a week where I was STRONGLY tempted to isolate and give in to depression knocking on my door has helped bring in clarity (which will be fine-tuned even more when I go through Chazown and actually finish it lol) The one passion I have is serving/helping in any way I can. Serving has played a HUGE role in my healing from depression and divorce.  It helped me get my butt up off the couch and get the focus off myself.

The more I serve, the more I see people for who they are and more aware of those in need.  There are so many people going through things I can’t even imagine, and there are far more people who share in my struggles that I thought.  God has done so much for me in the past couple of years (and my life!!!) that the least I can do is give back to Him by showing others His love.  My prayer now is for God to refine that vision further. I have no clear direction (career-wise)  and I am believing for provision so I can go back to school (if that is the path He wants for me!)

Along with all that “processing”, I have given some thought about relationships and serving. I have been a follower of Christ for quite a while now, and have seen things that just bother the heck out of me (and in almost every church I have been to!) Time and time again I have seen people get involved at church and everything seems great….well until they get involved with “Mr. or Miss New Relationship”.  Then suddenly serving and ultimately their relationship with God gets put on the back burner. I am not saying everyone who has a boyfriend or girlfriend does this, and there are times when they maybe choosing to go to the other’s church or whatever. All I am saying is if you are single, be aware that you could find yourself in a similar situation. Set your standards NOW before all that lovey-dovey stuff blinds you! lol I should add the following to my “dating standards” blog post (If I haven’t already lol) : —–> Serving God and going to church is important to me…I will not stop those things just because we are dating. I have no problem serving alongside you or going to church together, but I will not stop everything and put you before my commitments to God. If you have issues with that, then don’t bother asking me out  😉

To sum it up, my faith in God is my life…He is the reason I press on.  Serving is something that pours out of me because of how much I love Him. He has done so much for me, and I see what He is doing in those around me…I can’t help but do all I can. My life is so much more than sitting around and doing what I want. If I am going to be on this earth, I might as well do everything I can to give love and hope to those hurting…because God has sent others in my life when I needed.

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1 Peter 4:10-11  As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:  (11)  whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies–in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Galatians 5:13  For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

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