The name of my blog is My Hands To Serve. My purpose for this blog is to encourage all of us, myself included, to look for opportunities to be of service to those who cross our paths, whether on a daily basis as with our families, as a specific ministry we devote regular time to, or periodically as we simply go about our lives and come across those who may need to see and hear about the hope we have through Jesus.
I have not been terribly consistent with that focus due to various reasons, namely that I just have not spent as much time blogging as I would like and also due to not really knowing the full extent of my own calling for service and being a little embarrassed about it seeing as I am too old to be this ignorant.
I have read 2 different books in the past week that highlight different avenues regarding service toward others.
The first book was Falling Free by Shannan Martin. I loved the author’s humorous and passionate writing style. Her admissions of faults and weaknesses were refreshing to someone like me who enjoys knowing I am not alone in the faults and weaknesses department. It was not so much a teaching tool, but more a book about how her family does life. However, I spent a good portion of my time reading it feeling terribly guilty that I am not doing more. I mean, they adopted children of various races, they lost high-paying jobs and moved from their dream farmhouse to a smaller home in the city, hubby became a jail chaplain, they have taken in various teens who needed a place to stay, they do life with those that would be considered outcasts, and a whole host of exhausting activities that would send me straight to a quiet corner that I would never want to leave.
The second book was Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World by Karen Ehman. This book was written in a more upbeat and straight-forward teaching style by a woman who is an admitted extrovert and social butterfly and whose spiritual gifts are encouragement and hospitality. It was a perfectly wonderful book and I can see where it would be a beautiful inspiration to someone who lives to light up a room with cookies, casseroles, gifts, and the presence of Jesus. I am not that person and have to admit that, with my personality, I was even more intimidated by this book than the first one. I am positive it was not either author’s intention to intimidate anyone and I take sole responsibility for my own reactions.
Two of my favorite writers are Kristen Welch and Ann Voskamp.
Kristen was just a regular mom and blogger who went on a mission trip with Compassion International a few years ago to blog her experience and came back to the states with her life forever wrecked by what she saw. She founded The Mercy House, a maternity home for young pregnant girls who have been rescued from poverty and hopelessness in Kenya, and she now also oversees other ministries as well, helping impoverished women around the world gain dignity and know their worth by starting small businesses to support their families. As if that’s not enough, she has also recently opened a physical store in south Texas selling many of those hand-made items from around the world to continue to help support and give hope to women who are learning daily about our wonderful God.
Ann went on that same mission trip with Compassion International and has worked since that time in various capacities with Kristen for The Mercy House as well as in her own life adopting a sweet daughter from China and sponsoring an immigrant family to begin a new life in Canada where she lives. She rocks my world every day with her poetic writing style and uncanny ability to speak right into my soul with her words. I am sure there are many more contributions that both of these women have made to God’s Kingdom than I even know to write about.
Talk about feeling small and insignificant out here in the backwoods of rural Oklahoma where I live my regular life and fall into bed exhausted at night because I work 2 part-time jobs.
My purpose for highlighting these 4 inspirational, yet very different women, is to try and convince myself that it is okay for my calling to service to look different than their callings. They are all doing wonderful things to further the Kingdom of God on this earth. But they are all doing very different things according to their own specific God-given talents and giftings.
Right this very second, I need to get up from this laptop and go make supper. I don’t want to. Cooking is not my spiritual gift. I would rather sit here and write, even though it has already taken me approximately 2 hours to get this far on this post. I am not a speedy writer nor a profound one. But I do enjoy it and, although it has taken me a while to get this far, I am excited that this post is beginning to take shape and to see what it has become since I really had very little idea what it would look like when I sat down and stared at a blank screen 2 hours ago. The thrill of a blog post that begins as a mere idea and morphs into over 1,000 words in a span of a couple of hours or so exhilarates me.
However, believe it or not, while I don’t enjoy cooking, in the past I have enjoyed working in our local soup kitchen during our church’s rotation every few months. Prep work, ladling soup, handing out sandwiches, filling cups with ice and tea and water, cutting cake. I can do all those things and enjoy them. But please don’t put me in charge of making sure the soup tastes good. I can’t handle the pressure. And neither will I be the one floating around the room engaging the folks in conversation unless I have time for a 3-day nap and solitude for the rest of the week. Rather, I will be the one behind the dessert table handing out cookies and making a mental note of facial expressions while I ask God to give me a heart for intercession.
In all the reading I have done this week, there was one chapter in one of the books that perked me up just a little bit. It was in the book written by the beautiful woman with the hospitality gifting and it was the chapter about The Sick at Heart. What a chapter to have perk you up. It says something about me and my melancholy temperament, for sure. But it helped me realize a little better that, with my own life experiences and my God-given temperament and my love for all things psychology, I do empathize well. Couple that with my enjoyment for writing, and I am now praying for God to open my eyes to see those who may need an encouraging word sent to them via, get this, snail mail. I may be putting myself out there prematurely and if so, I will have to backtrack at some point and admit that maybe I jumped ahead of God for the sake of a blog post. But time will tell. God knows how to back me up and start me over and I plan to be as pliable as I know how to be in allowing Him to do that.
What a lot of words I have written here without much of a point except to try and encourage everyone who reads this post to accept themselves for who God created them to be and to be willing vessels of service through which He can do His Kingdom work here on this earth and show Himself, through us, to all who need to know Him.
God has given us all hands ~ hands to serve. Let’s use them to serve Him well.