One thing I love about Facebook is all the (crazy, inspirational, funny, thoughtful) articles people share. Seriously, I could get lost in cat videos, parenting stories, and delicious looking recipes. I have to admit though, I avoid political diatribes and controversial news stories. Sorry, I’m more of a “happily ever after” girl.
Today I read a blog post from The House of Hendrix about some amazing women who gathered around a friend who was in chronic pain. They showed up at her house (in their pj’s no less), cleaned it from top to bottom, filled the fridge with food, and taped up verses and words of encouragement on cabinets and mirrors.
Bless those women. And bless that blogger for sharing their story (complete with silly pictures). Because when we share our stories of love and hope and encouragement, we multiply the joy. We identify the struggle (being in pain, suffering, pride, not wanting to ask for help) and we see ourselves in the serving (giving of ourselves to bless those we love, laughing, joining in community and sisterhood). And we are inspired to serve those in the world around us.
The women in our Bible study.
The couple in our Small Group at church.
The moms in our MOPS group.
The neighbors we don’t know very well.
The friends we’ve had for years and years.
The new friends we’ve just made this year.
The family in our homeschool co-op.
The friends our children make at school.
When I reflect on how incredibly I’ve been blessed – a sweet card in the mail, an encouraging text message, a FB instant message thanking me, a freezer meal, an offer to babysit my kids, and on and on and on – I remember (once again) that the Lord places us in families and communities and church bodies to LOVE and SERVE each other. That joy and encouragement and hope are too vast and grand and wonderful to keep to ourselves.
When I read that blog post today, I realized I have those type of friends in my life. On Wednesday a few moms planned to gather at the park. As the kids and I were climbing into the car, getting ready to leave, the previously cheerful and sunny day turned grey and cloudy. By the time we reached the parking lot at the park, it was pouring. As I joined two other moms, it literally started hailing!
The messages started flying –
It’s pouring! What do we do? What? It’s raining? I haven’t left my house yet. What do we do? Panic!!
And so on.
I quickly offered my house. Oh dear, and then I did a little counting. Potentially 12 kids, my house, a rainy day and a garage that is currently packed to the ceiling with mess (hey, it’s on my list, I’ve been busy). A few seconds later, I threw another friend under the bus and offered her house to the group. What can I say, I panicked. Before anyone could answer, I grabbed my phone and hurried to call her and see how she felt about me offering up her house as a sacrificial party place. That conversation went something like this:
Me – Heh heh, so how do you feel about us coming to your house?
Me – Or we could totally go to my place. It’s just your house has more room for
rowdy, crazy, cooped up banshees who wanted to go to the park and are now stuck inside kids.
Me – [trying to convey a cheerful, spirit over the phone.]
Friend – That’s fine. I’m not home and the house is a mess, but you all can go over. I’ll be there as soon as I can.
Me – Yay! You are the BEST! [deliberately ignoring any hints she might be giving that we should go to my house instead]
I sent the word out that we were moving the play date from the PARK to a HOUSE and off we went. Well, please, this group of women knows how to deal with a house that is a little (or even a lot) messy. We got right to work. One of the teens swept the floor. Two others put away shoes and tidied the entry way. I washed a sink full of dishes. One of the boys took out the trash. Two moms tackled the kitchen table and counter tops – cleaning, washing, and wiping down the surfaces.
By the time our hostess returned, we had just put the finishing touches on the dishes and started the dishwasher. One of the moms had planned ahead and had a carafe of hot coffee and three types of creamer set out (complete with cups and sugar) on the counter. What can I say, we are that kind of awesome.
I think we decided the non-park party was a hit. In fact, we rapidly realized we needed to take turns hosting. And we should only host on days when we have plenty of dirty dishes to wash and counters that need to be cleaned. Which frankly is pretty much every day, so I think our plan is a good one.
The greatest lesson for me was to see, once again, what a joy it is to serve. In this case we were able to bless this sweet friend who opened up her home to us, even though she was weary and her kitchen was full of the signs of a busy life. It was a privilege to come and take a little bit of the burden off of her shoulders.
As the scriptures say so beautifully –
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:9-13
Project 365 – Day 92