This right here, friends, is a blessing stopping me in my tracks.
I have just recently jumped into another area of service in my church. One that, honestly, I’ve been thinking I should be part of for ages and always found a reason not to.
Our meal ministry fell aside awhile back when one of our amazing, involved in everything, heart the size of
Texas Alaska women moved away. I felt a quiet nudge to take it over. After all that is an area I am quite comfortable in. Lots of experience cooking for large crowds, culinary background, etc. However, I was very Who Stole the Cookie From the Cookie Jar about it. “Who me? Couldn’t be”
I was involved in preparing and delivering meals. That is something I have always enjoyed but was hesitant to take on any of the planning until it came to a head at a women’s ministry meeting and we were asked who was willing to take it over. Myself and two other ladies volunteered so we could split duties and expand it to cover more than just food.
It has been a ride. We have put on meal prep events and been blown away by church donations but also put in a lot of our own time and resources. It has been challenging to settle into a new routine with my family. Especially considering that I have one child who tends to act out in very embarrassing ways to seek attention when I am busy.
I have always been very careful in protecting my home life so there is space for my children, my marriage, and my sanity(or at least what is left of it). I do firmly believe that motherhood is a mission field and that the work I do within the walls of my home is important, valued by God and worth the time and attention it takes. So taking on another ministry is something I have to do prayerfully because I do not wish to take away from my first ministry.
What I see in this area, however, is the chance to have great conversations with my children about love in action. Seeing a hurting friend and asking how we can help. Bringing meals to grieving families which really is more about nourishing souls and expressing sympathy than the food itself. There are so many things I’m not quite sure I am doing right as a mother and I eat humble pie on a regular basis but this feels right for me. When we hear a friend is sick and my 4 year old quickly chimes in with “we should pray for them.” and “should we bring them food or write them a card.” Those moments I know I’m doing something right. My children may be confused about how to share me and it may be a challenge but they are taking it in and growing by being involved in this service with me.
We have felt a financial weight by being more involved in this too. Nothing crazy and I don’t mean to make it sound like we are struggling because I know we have it better than many others. We did feel it though. I had to make a choice to purchase less fresh produce for our family so we could buy more food for others. Needs have been popping up left and right and I was realizing that if I met them all it would mean nothing but rice and beans for my family and all the others. Still helpful, still worth giving but I did want to give graciously and provide colorful and nourishing vegetables to all of us.
The other night I was ladling soup into bowls for my family when I got a call that a Costco truck had broken down on the hwy and somehow our church had gotten ahold of tons of fresh produce. Produce that was deemed unusable but still mostly good. All I had to do was meet a friend and receive this blessing to put to use in Meal Ministry and as a thank you for the time and resources we had donated. The God who can turn a feeble meal of fish and bread into a feast for thousands had intervened. He saw our small sacrifice and poured out his abundance.
It was quite a lot of produce with much of it needing to be used quickly so I made phone calls and arrangements to share with friends in need and called in my wonderful mother to help me can. I am a novice canner and way too intimidated by the pressure and hissing to walk through it alone. My mother, however, spent years raising children in Bush Alaska and is a wealth of knowledge on food preservation. She guided me and researched with me on things that were new to her, helped chop, stir, pickle, jar and season. She helped me steward this gift. This food was a wonderful blessing and it came with a responsibility. I could sit on it, let the fruit rot on my counter because there was no room for it in the fridge, use what I can of the vegetables and wait aimlessly while it all goes bad. I could have done that but I would have wasted so much that has the ability to nourish my family and others. It is like the gift of eternal life. It enters our hearts and with it comes the responsibility to share it, to preserve it. To be the salt of the earth bringing the preservation of Christ’s saving grace into the lives we encounter.
We can share it with joy by small acts of love to those closest to us. Like these delicious jalapeno poppers that my husband loves so much but we don’t often splurge on. We can share it with old friends and new alike. Soup for sick friends in need or nourishment, produce for the friends with many mouths to feed needing a small break in responsibility. A reminder that they don’t have to carry it all. Because, friends, we don’t. Our giftings, our talents and our resources come with a responsibility to steward well but we are allowed to call in reinforcements. Much like I called in my mother for her canning wisdom. I call in wisdom and extra hands in the gift of my own motherhood. As a woman who has lost a baby, taken longer to get pregnant than I hoped for and watched many friends walk through more losses and struggle much longer to conceive I am acutely aware of the gift my children are. I am also aware that just because they are a blessing it doesn’t mean I don’t need help to carry them.
So, friends, wherever you are. If you feel prompted to step into more service but don’t know how it will all work out. Pray about it. You can ask God if it will take too much away from your family, you can ask what it will bring to them. That is between you and God and my opinion ends there. Just talk to Him, He is much wiser than us. Maybe you have giftings and blessings that need to be stewarded, pray about that too and remember you can ask for help. We are all in this together. The good, the bad, and the beautiful. We are in it to point to Jesus in our abundance and in our need.