See the Hurting and Reach!

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I need to explain something to my faithful readers and maybe a few lurkers.

I’m old.  I know that some of you won’t think 46 is old, but it is.  Due to a mysterious illness, I’m older than my chronological age reveals.

Now that’s nothing new to my faithful readers and maybe a few lurkers.  But…

What you may not know, I’ve been writing from a place of disappointment in a new season of life.  It is a season I don’t really understand, but it’s here and I’m dealing with it, keeping my eyes on Jesus.

I write to reveal what I’m learning and what I’ve learned.  You see, I had a vibrant and fulfilling ministry before this illness took hold of my life.  Sometimes I wonder why it has been taken away, but I do believe it is for my good and His glory.

I don’t really like to talk about “successes” in ministry because 1) I’m not there now and 2) I don’t want to sound arrogant.  But I’ve come to see many are struggling with what they are to DO in this walk of faith.

When I first began asking the Lord what He would have me DO for Him, I didn’t feel He was answering me quickly enough.  I felt a pull to study, to equip myself with the truth, for whatever He would “eventually” lead me to DO.  I could see I was created a woman and had married a man and we eventually would have children.  In that understanding, certain roles had already been ordained for me.  God first, my husband, my children, then the world.  With my priorities straight, I knew I would be doing my best to NOT send into the world more hurting and dysfunctional people.  I took those roles seriously and worked within my home to create a safe, secure haven for the people He gave me.  So what about ministry outside of my home?

With the tiime I had left, I taught.  He enabled me to teach, I knew this was the gift He had given me.  Through neighborhood and church Bible studies, speaking at various functions, homeschool seminars, and visiting my neighbors…I taught.  But it didn’t stop there.

How can we live in such a hurting world, knowing our neighbors all around us, and not reach out to meet their needs?

The neighbor struggling to feed her family, eating peanut butter and jelly two times a day because that’s all she has — her husband is spending every extra dime to feed his addiction.  Do I make a big batch of spaghetti sauce to help her feed her children?  Once, twice…every week?

The new family in the neighborhood having immigrated from Mexico, using lawnchairs for furniture.  I have a set of living room furniture, in good shape, do I have a garage sale or explain to the mother that I would love to fill a need?  Watching the teenage boys carrying the furniture away, being thanked so warmly, for doing what?  Just giving away the stuff I’ve accumulated.

The distraught mother at the park, sharing her story as we watch our children play.  She has nowhere to go and it’s getting late.  Do I invite her in for lunch?  All I know is her name…Angelica.  Yes, bring her in, feed her, ask her what she needs.  She needs me to watch her baby…?  Just for a little bit, while she finds a place to stay…?  OK…sure.  I love babies so I’ll hold him and sing “Jesus Loves Me” ’til he falls asleep, wondering if he’s just been abandoned…?  No, she finally returns around midnight.  I fell in love with that little guy and have prayed for him and his mom many times.

So … the question has been this month … What can I DO?  At this point in my life, this season, not much.  But please, let me encourage you…those of you with strong bodies…

Reach out.  See the hurts.  Make yourself available within your sphere of influence.  And talk about why as you do it…let them know you love your Saviour and He has enabled you to give.

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39 responses »

  1. Michelle, thank you so much for working so hard to exercise your ministry from the ‘place of disappointment’ you’re in. This blog may be very different from what you were able to do previously, but you are reaching out to so many people – guiding, teaching, and sharing God’s love. You’re amazing.

  2. My body may be healthy and my muscles may be strong, but your spirit has got both of them beat by hundreds of spiritual miles, Michelle.

    You’ve told a lot of little stories in a short space, Sis. Very effective. Very touching. Very much demonstrative of The Saviour’s gift to you, which have shared with others through your actions and, only now, much later as your body is fading, told us these stories–still using your gift as a teacher.

    And what a great gift that is.

    What a great gift. GREAT.

  3. What can you do? You can be. When everything is stripped from us is sometimes when we are reminded that it’s not what we do, what we have, what we can give. It is who we are, what we say and how we live. You, like Job, are a great example of the steadfastness of faith at it’s most difficult. You are showing people that once you know better you can’t pretend you don’t. You are showing that you are not ignorant of God and so you won’t deny Him and His wishes even in the hardest of times. You are ministering.

    And I only say this to you because I KNOW. And I admire that you are steadfast.

  4. So the illness has advanced your years. I heard Dr. Lester Sumrall say once that the first thirty years are for learning, the second thirty for doing and the final thirty for giving. It seems to me that you are giving encouragement, wisdom, and depth of perspective. So you have been promoted into the golden time of giving. Bless you for it.

  5. Michelle…

    I don’t think you realize how beautiful your writing is.

    Your faith and heart for God, and sharing his world is so apparent.

    Michelle you humble me with your spirit. Nor up above me there in his comment said it best. Your spiritual awareness is so awesome.

    He is using you, and will continue to use you. Your spirit is to beautiful for Him not to use.

    Love ya sis.

  6. OK, you guys (or better put, all y’all). Thank you for all the words of comfort. I do appreciate them; however, if all you got out of this post was some old sick person telling you how pathetic her life is now, then let me please say, you didn’t get it.

    I do now have a bit of understanding of where I am and why. I do see it is possible to teach from this place. I pray I will remain faithful to do so, as He equips. That’s my hope. Thank you for the encouragement to do it.

    But…did you get the point?

    Please, see the hurting people around you and reach out to them. And as you have the opportunity to give of yourselves, sacrificially, speak to them about the God who makes it possible for you to love them.

    I really like the kind words, honestly, but I would like for us to maybe challenge one another, to spur each other on to the good works He has prepared for us to do.

    Pray, ask the Lord to show you what He has for you each day, and then trust Him to make you aware of where you need to move.

    Lord, show me the hurting people around that You would have me reach, for You. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear the cries of those You have placed in my life, along my path. And as I reach out, give me the words You desire for me to speak, to give an account for the hope that is within me. I want to be Your vessel for Your glory. In Your dear Son’s name, I ask. amen.

    Love you guys…you’ve really been a blessing to me today! Thanks. 😉

  7. Michelle,
    When I read this…I…was, convicted’s probably the best word. When I read all those little stories of what you’ve done I looked around and thought to myself “wow, i’m an ***.” I don’t do crap for anyone, I want to, I like helping people. I can just never seem to actually do anything, you know?

    I’m not sure what it is, I know that I’m capable of reaching out to others…I just can’t seem to inspire any sort of trust or openess in others.

    *shrugs* could be I’m not trying hard enough, could be I’m overanalyzing. I don’t know.

    But you’ve inspired me.

    I think I’ll go and see what I can do for others. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    G

  8. Hey, Goth!!! I need to catch up with you. I haven’t been to see you in a while…sorry about that. I’ll be sure to go read tomorrow, I’m up way past my bedtime right now.

    But I did want to say…I’m glad you’ve felt inspired. Please, don’t overanalyze. I’ve done that for too long myself. I honestly feel I was most effective in helping others when I lived my day-to-day life and began looking at those around me while asking the Lord for insight.

    I don’t need to keep preaching. I’ve done enough of that. But I’m so glad to see you here and to know you’ve felt inspired. Please, do let me know how it turns out.

    I’ll check on you tomorrow. Love you, Goth! 😉

  9. Hey girlie… I can’t speak for the others, but I can tell you I heard your real message loud and clear and took it to heart. I just felt more compelled to give you a cyber boost because it doesn’t seem that you often “complain” (which you didn’t here either, it just came closer), so you opened a small door for us all to encourage you and tell you how cool you are.

    Personally, I get really uncomfortable when people do that to me, but I hope you soaked it all in today. Your message is received, but thanks also for giving us an opportunity to tell you that you’re cool, too. 🙂

  10. Hey Michelle, I’d be surprised if we didn’t all get the message loud and clear. It was beautifully put and, as Nor said, the many little stories illustrated your point perfectly.

    I think everyone responded to YOU instead of addressing your point because you’re so loved. Just thought I’d mention that!

    [Hey Nor – I snuck in with a short comment! 🙂 ]

  11. Hi Michelle, I heard you today, thank you for the reminder to reach out to the hurting. I see them everyday, and my heart breaks for them, but I don’t often do much, I don’t often know what to do or what to give, I see the need but not the answer, I feel clumsy and stupid in giving what I have and so that has been my excuse. But I am convicted to reach out again, to give even if it feels stupid and meaningless.

    And secondly, thank you for reaching out via the blogosphere and giving words of encouragment and truth. You’re a blessing and a friend.

  12. reaching out in everyday life, requires us to be real with the Lord, and to submit to HIM that for whatever reason HE would have us reach a hand to someone, that HE is working. I think we often want to know why or how this is going to do any good, and we need to just do it, and let all the answers to HIM. HIS perfect plan. I never want to forget what hurt looks like, or hopelessness, or a look in a childs eyes that does not know love…I agree if we are struggling with seeing it around us, a simple prayer to see it will open the eyes of our heart. So many verses on God being near to the needy, hurt, hungry, fatherless, widows…In Daniel, Neb was told that he should reach out and help the oppressed, that was his last warning…that spoke volumes to my heart as to where God’s heart is. And then also in Matthew … What you have done to the least of these, you have done it to me.

    Love you! sorry for posting on your post! 😉

  13. “I heard your real message loud and clear and took it to heart.”

    YAY! Thanks, Sara. It is uncomfortable to hear y’all’s words, but I am trying to let them soak in. Let this soak in, Sara, “I love you!” 😉

    “I’d be surprised if we didn’t all get the message loud and clear.”

    YES, Alan! It is about the message. Feeling “so loved” doesn’t come easy for me. I do appreciate it, much! Love you, too. 🙂

    “I heard you today, thank you for the reminder to reach out to the hurting.”

    I’m so glad, Ripple. It is clumsy and awkward at times, but I think that’s good too, pushing past those feelings for the sake of others. Love you! When do you plan on visiting the good ole US of A?? 😀

    “I never want to forget what hurt looks like, or hopelessness, or a look in a childs eyes that does not know love…I agree if we are struggling with seeing it around us, a simple prayer to see it will open the eyes of our heart.”

    Amen, Darla!! He will show us if we simply ask. Anytime you want to post on my post, feel free! You speak words that build up and I love it…I love you. 😉

    Have a great Lord’s day, ALL!

  14. I really like the kind words, honestly, but I would like for us to maybe challenge one another, to spur eachother on to the good works He has prepared for us to do.

    Ephesians 2:10
    For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    Love it sister.

  15. Michelle: I pray for you every day….I hear the hurt in your blog, but also the strength. In your weakness He will be made strong….Love you

    “Reach out. See the hurts. Make yourself available within your sphere of influence. And talk about why as you do it…let them know you love your Saviour and He has enabled you to give.”

    This is my daily prayer… 🙂

  16. Hey, pretty lady! I like that avatar! 😉

    The more weak I become, the more broken…somehow He gets lifted higher. It’s strange, but good. Love you, Debs, you’re in my daily prayers, as well.

  17. Hi there, gorgeous. I don’t have time to read the comments (I usually do!) … I’m still trying to get through my ginormous inbox of posts. But I will say – you have truly blessed my life through this connection of fingers, keys, and electronic bits. I don’t know the end any more than you do, but I do know that God is faithful, and His words are true.

    Thank you for sharing your heart. Your ‘ministry’ has not ended …

  18. “I don’t know the end any more than you do, but I do know that God is faithful, and His words are true.”

    I’m holding on to that thought, Annie. Thanks. Love you, sweet thang! 😉

  19. Sis~I could relate on so many levels to your post. This new place from where you are writing, worshipping, praying, studying/reading the Word; it sounds so familiar. I have felt like I’m in a similar place since Daddy died. It’s different and it’s a little uncomfortable at times, but like you, I believe that it is for His glory and for Him to take me to a higher level of faith in Him.

    I have been a little complacent these past few months in terms of “doing” as much as I know I am capable of doing but I try to stay atuned to the Holy Spirit’s leading in the small things that I physically feel able to do for people [phone calls, cards, emails, posts, prayer].

    I know there is much more work to be done. I pray that in this current season, God prepares me for a much higher calling of missionary work in His kingdom.

    I love you. You have done a lot to encourage me in my trials and tribulations. Daddy’s death is undoubtedly the hardest thing I’ve been through yet and you have been such a huge pillar of strength for me during this time. Honestly, if it had not been for you, I don’t know how I would have gotten through so thank you for allowing God to use you in that way to bless me. I praise God for your obedience.

  20. Visiting the US? I’d hop on a plane tomorrow if I could, but this is going to fall into my longterm goals im afraid;) love you

  21. Thank you for your kind words, Gch, they came at a good time. I love you and will continue to be there for you. You bring much joy to my life.

    As far as being complacent, no, you’re grieving. You have continued to reach out through the encouragement you give, even as you grieve. It’s a beautiful testimony of His Spirit within.

    Have a good week — I’m gonna miss you!! 😉

    I have many of those long term plans, Ripple. When I get to Thrive Africa, I will be sure and look you up. But…South Africa’s kinda big, isn’t it? Are you even close to Alece’s place? Silly questions…that trip isn’t happening anytime soon…just dreaming! Love you. 🙂

  22. I am very sorry to hear about your mystery illness. I will be praying for you for sure. My wife had a mystery illness…it was finally discovered and has been a huge blessing.

    This post was very convicting. Thanks!

  23. Thank you, Nate. I’m sorry to hear about your wife. It is hard when you can’t give a name to what’s happening.

    I hope that conviction was a good thing. 😉

  24. You have NO IDEA how much this post was an answer to a situation I was asking the Lord about today. There is a needy family that lives close to us, and I was asking God how much I was responsible to do to help them since the mother has begun making it obvious that she needs help in several different ways. Your post just answered my question.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  25. I am hurting and you reached out to my blog and commented. That made me feel appreciated and loved. See your presence and words are healing. Thank you!!!

  26. Wow, Tracie.

    I’m adding you to my roll. Your willingness to speak honestly about your life and love for the Lord…well, it’s not usually seen in this sphere. Glad to make your acquaintance! 😉

  27. Ps. Can you tell me how to add someone to my roll? Yes in public I am admiting it. Because I need help in many blog areas and I am not ashamed to ask for it 🙂

  28. Thank you, Tracie. Your heart is beautiful…hope you like the new post.

    How to add to your roll:
    Click “Manage” on the dashboard and then click “links”
    You’ll see a list of all your links and the option to “add new” — click it
    You’ll have three fields
    1) the title of the link, however you want to title it. I stick with the blog title, some give personal names. This is what will be on the roll.
    2) the URL (http:/traciejane.wordpress.com)
    3) a description of the link, some describe the person.

    That’s it! Pretty easy. 😉

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