Hi friend, this post is part of my series: parenting a hurting child. I pray that you will be blessed. Check out the other posts in the series and be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss any updates.
It was a rather ordinary day. Light rain beat down on the windshield as we drove home from our weekly Bible study. Our car pulled up to the stop sign and she stole our hearts. A precious lady standing there in the rain. Her bleeding sign echoed her bleeding heart. The sign pleaded for food for her gran-babies and my daughter couldn’t look away. “Mom, we HAVE to give her some money.” I didn’t have to reach into my wallet to know that I only had a $50 bill. It was literally the only money we had, but our rent was paid and there was food in the pantry. So we gave.
My daughter’s generosity moved me. The lady nearly jumped into our car she was so excited… and God blessed us. No, He didn’t rain down $100′s to replace what we had given, but He placed in our hearts a joy that can’t be achieved any other way. That day as I drove home I realized the truth that we had missed. God calls us to give ALL that we have. Not when we think things are good or when we think we have the energy or when the college fund is padded. We are called to give freely, now.
I think it’s fairly easy and maybe even acceptable to claim that we don’t have anything to give. And maybe we don’t usually have much money, but we still have a LOT to give. You see, it’s in the giving that I found healing. It was in the long nights crying with broken souls, reminding them of God’s promises that I was able to find confidence in those promises. It was in the constant claiming them, and writing them, and declaring them before a broken group of people that HE healed me.
I’ll admit, it does seem a little backwards. Broken people should be accepting help and allowing others to pour into their lives…and I do that. But, as I receive from HIM, I must use it to serve another. (1 Peter 4:10)
How can we serve?
Serving is intentional. It typically takes more than a few bucks given to the woman in the rain. Often it requires planning. Especially with little kids. I know what you are thinking…how can we possibly serve others when I have 4 little kids running around. I promise you can. Serving others doesn’t just mean going on an overseas missions trip or serving dinner in a soup kitchen. Not everyone is called to fix up a widow’s home with your church group or pack boxes to feed starving children.
Serving is also in the everyday. It’s holding open a door for that lady with a stroller. It’s making dinner for your friend who just had a baby. It’s spending time with a lonely friend even when your schedule is packed. It’s the giving of whatever you have in the moment to benefit someone else.
Compelling them to serve
I had this idea to create a service jar for our family. The concept is simple: we fill the jar by doing acts of service for others. Once the jar is filled, we celebrate by doing something for ourselves. (Ya know, like going out for frozen yogurt, or having a movie night with popcorn) To fill the jar, anyone in the family can share something that they did for another and then place a marble inside. We have a point system. 1 marble for service to your family members. 2 marbles for service to anyone else. I do it that way simply because serving others requires more intentionality.
So how do we fill our service jar?
There are ideas on acts of service or random acts of kindness all over the internet. Check out my Serving Others pinboard for some of those. One of our favorite things to do is make bags to give to the homeless. My friend from Meet Penny shared a beautiful post about when her family made Homeless Blessing Bags. She even included a great list of ideas for things to put in the bags.
Another helpful post is 50 random acts of Kindness by Kris at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers. I love her ideas! Very practical for families with young children.
Friend, I once saw a story about a momma tiger who gave birth to dead cubs. She was so sad that she couldn’t eat or move. As the days progressed, her condition became alarming and zoo officials made a bold move. They wrapped a few baby pigs in tiger skin and laid them on the momma for comfort. Within moments, the broken momma had purpose and she rose to the occasion. She began eating and moving again saving her own life by taking care of those baby pigs. The picture is beautiful: serving others in our brokenness brings healing.
May we all be moved to compassion for others, serving them through the graciousness of our children!
Your turn~ in what simple ways has your family served another? Let’s share our ideas with one another.
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