On Sunday evenings I play the piano for our church service. I noticed that a lady who had started coming a few months earlier, had started to play the piano prelude, before I came up to play for the service. I had never met her, or talked to her, because she sat in a different section, and we had never really crossed paths.
One Sunday evening though, I passed her as she was coming down the aisle. I introduced myself to her, and learned that her name was Linda. I commented that I didn’t know she could play the piano, but that I had enjoyed listening to her play before the service. She thanked me, and we both went on our separate ways.
I was going through a very difficult time in my life when this happened, and was dealing with some challenging health issues, along with trying to care for my growing family. I was struggling with fatigue, and discouragement. It wasn’t something that many people knew about, because I just didn’t talk about it other than with my friends, usually.
So imagine my surprise when Linda approached me a couple weeks after we met, and said to me, “I know you really don’t know me, and this may sound really strange to you, but what do you and your family like to eat? I can tell you’re having a hard time, and are struggling, and the Lord has laid you on my heart. I want to bring a meal over for you and your family this week.”
This surprised me for several reasons. I didn’t really know her, and was amazed that she was SO willing to do this for us. I didn’t think it was that obvious that I was struggling, and not feeling well. Also, I don’t know if I would have listened to the Lord, like she did! I’d like to think that I would, but you have to admit, it was rather unusual.
As a result of this, Linda and I became good friends. In getting to know each other, I found out WHY she picked up on my physical problems. She had gone through many physical issues over the years, and was still dealing with some. She was able to just see it on my face. To help me, she watched my kids at times so I could rest, invited us over for meals, and other times came to visit just to help with whatever needed to be done at our home. What a blessing she was to me during my time of discouragement! This was many years ago, and writing about it and remembering it, still brings tears to my eyes.
So why am I writing about this? I’m writing to encourage you to look around, and see if there’s someone you can bless and encourage! Ask God to open your eyes to the needs of those around you, and then be willing to LISTEN when He speaks to your heart! It will mean SO much to the person that you encourage, and it is also a great example to your kids of showing God’s love to others!
Perhaps you’re thinking that you aren’t a very good cook, or maybe you don’t even have money to provide a meal for a family. Don’t feel limited by this story. Be creative with your talents, and ask God to open your eyes as to how you can help bless someone. Here are a few of the things that the precious ladies from our church have done for me when I was going through rough pregnancies, and other health problems.
I still have many of the notes that ladies wrote to me when I was going through some problems, and couldn’t make it to church for awhile. It is STILL a blessing to get them out and remember the love and prayers that were offered to me during that time! There’s something special about the fact that someone will take just a few minutes to write you a note, and let you know they are thinking about you and care about you. The nice thing is that it’s a lasting encouragement, because you can read it over and over again.
One lady from our church loves to clean, and wanted to do something to help me. She asked me to choose what I would like her to clean – either what needed it the most, or what I hated doing the most. It was rather embarrassing, but I told her that my oven really needed to be cleaned. She smiled, and said that she LOVES cleaning ovens! Someone else had my older kids, and she said she’d keep my youngest, and she sent me out the door to do whatever I wanted, while she cleaned for me. I came home to her smiling face, as she told me that not only was my oven clean, but she had washed my windows also. They were sparkling clean. (Something you didn’t see ever in my houseful of kids!) It was a great treat for me to get away from the house with no kids, AND come home to a cleaner house!
*Basket of love
This was such a fun idea! The basket included some good books for me to read, and some healthy snacks to keep beside my bed. Also included were things for the kids — some fun, quiet things. These included stickers, coloring books, and little puzzles. It was really sweet that someone thought of them, too!
*Watch the kids
Anytime a mom isn’t feeling good, it’s a blessing when someone offers to take her kids for awhile. It eliminated some of my guilt over the kids not getting much attention, or getting to go do the “fun” things I would usually do with them. Often, other moms would take them to the park, the zoo, or just to their house to play with their kids. My dilemma was usually how to use that “free” time. Should I sleep, do some work, or just relax with a book? Regardless of the choice, I was always refreshed by the little break.
I hope that this story, and these ideas will challenge you and get you excited about reaching out to be a blessing and encouragement to someone around you who is struggling. Listen for the Lord’s prompting, and obey! You will not only be a blessing, but you will be blessed!