Service. It's become pretty common in our culture. It's hip, it's cool, everyone's doing it. Or are they?
I used to serve weekly. Starting in college, I found some areas where I could help others and it was doing things I really enjoyed.
At Baylor, I was in charge of a weekly afterschool children's ministry in a low-income Waco neighborhood. Basically, I planned games, art and crafts, and snacks for school aged children at a community center. We also helped tutor the kids with their homework. Most of the time it was a fun, relatively easy way to love on some kids who needed it. Occasionally, it was rough. These children didn't always respond well to authority or instruction and really who could blame them? Most of them came from single-parent families who were doing their best just to get by. I'm not sure they all had time for "quality" time with their children when they were trying to pay bills and keep everyone feed and clothed.
When Lance and I got married, my service became whatever the youth at our church were doing. But, my life had changed, I was working full-time and really didn't make service a priority. I had helped with the youth, but these were generally kids who had everything and needed nothing. I was a friend to them, but that was pretty much it.
When N arrived, I was working in several areas of our church, but gave them all up except for teaching my 7th grade girls in Sunday School. I felt like my child needed most of my time (and he did!) and that commitment was the only one I could really make on a regular basis. We have continued to give financially to things such as orphan care and Compassion International, but...
Now, almost 7 years later, I'm ready to begin serving more. LeeLee is 3 now and so things are becoming a little easier for me to do whether at home or elsewhere by either including the kiddos or having some time with their daddy while I serve.
I want my service to be from my heart. I want to do things that I'm passionate about and that I feel I have something to offer. So...here are the few things I'm starting with...
Tomorrow, our church is hosting a retreat for single moms. I so admire these women who are doing everything on their own. I'm on my own for just 2 months of the year and I know how hard it is. I can't imagine always parenting on my own. So, I've volunteered to be in the "pampering" room. We will be doing pedicures and manicures for these women. I'm very excited to do this. We all love to be pampered and it's great to be able to do this for someone else!
A more long-term service project is one our church is doing called Family Promise. This is a ministry with other churches in our community to help families who are homeless. We will host families to sleep/eat in our church building as they try to get permanent housing. This is something Lance and I want our kids to do with us, so they will see the importance of helping others. Our children are so blessed with so much and I want them to know that not everyone has the opportunities they do. So, we will be helping with meal preparation and will be spending one night a week at the church to serve these families during this time in their lives.
As the kids get even older, I'm sure more opportunities will come our way, but we want to keep it simple for now.
I've taken a break to serve my own family for a few years, but I'm ready for our family to now start serving others. It will be fun, it will probably be hard at times, but it's what God has called us to do. Love others.