"What can I get you?" Paul asked as he stooped over me.
"New tonsils," I replied. It was week two of mono--a virus like the worst, longest, and most painful flu you can imagine--and I felt like a disgusting ball of misery.
Paul laughed softly and seated himself next to me on the couch, careful not to bump me or to move suddenly. After hours--weeks, really--of caring for my every little need, he knew that my best therapy was simply having him near.
This post has been adapted from an article by Yaasha Moriah that first appeared in the newsletter Incorruptible Beauty. Click here to learn more.
“I had my abortion yesterday.”
Hearing these words over the phone from a woman I had counseled just a week earlier, I felt as if my body had deflated. I had seen the statistics, I had done the research, I had personally heard the stories straight from the lips of post-abortive women. I knew what this woman’s future could look like. And for her child…there was no future. I immediately wondered: What could I have done to spare both mother and child from the painful consequences of abortion?
Somehow when I had become a counselor at the local crisis pregnancy center, I had never thought much about this aspect of ministry. In order to offer hope and healing, I had to be ready to bear another woman’s burden and to pray for her as earnestly as I would pray for a dear friend.
Sometimes we're afraid to serve someone because we think that what we have to offer is too little. I cannot count the numerous times when I have done nothing simply because I felt that, if I was going to bless someone, I had to do so when I could offer a lot of time or commitment. So I failed to reach out to others in Christ-like love because I felt inadequate.
And I missed so many opportunities.
This article first appeared in the Winter 2011 issue of the quarterly newsletter for Christian young women, Incorruptible Beauty.
What if true service is not about doing something big or joining a recognized ministry? What if it's just about serving where you are, with a cheerful attitude and a desire to glorify God?
Question: What are some practical ways in which you can serve today? Feel free to comment and continue the discussion.
The woman’s world had just fallen apart. Her son, who was deathly allergic to bee stings, had been doing lawn work when he came upon a nest of ground bees. He never even made it to the house for his Epi-pen.
While the woman and her family grieved over his death, the local Jehovah’s Witnesses heard of the tragedy and sent meals to her home, reaching out lovingly with genuine concern.
This shocked the woman. She was Catholic, and her church made no such efforts. Before long, she had joined the Jehovah’s Witnesses and was going door to door with them, sharing her story.
The Message of Compassion
I’m not a Jehovah’s Witness, nor do I ever intend to be, but when I heard this story about a woman in my own community, it resonated deeply with me.
When I was a young girl, everything that an older girl did (“older” being about 13 and up) was fascinating to me. I wanted to be just like her. I followed her around and constantly demanded attention: “Can I tell you a story? Hey, are you going to the fair on Saturday, like us? Watch me turn a cartwheel!” When she did pay attention to me, I was ecstatic. She liked me! She found me interesting!
I have very fond memories of the “older girls” of my childhood. I still respect and love the woman who played pretend with me and my siblings, the teenager who dressed up dolls for hours with us, and the young lady who enraptured me with tales about race horses and captured stars and evil witches. Those women, in their own small way, changed my life.
When my aunt died unexpectedly, family and friends spoke at her funeral service of the little ways in which her kindness had impacted them, and one of the stories that most stirred me was someone’s recollection of my aunt’s faithfulness in sending cards.
She didn’t wait for a particular occasion to make someone feel special. People in her community and amongst her loved ones all recognized the hand-painted watercolor cards, with the usual chatty note inside.
“I was thinking of you the other day, and thought I would send you a note. How are you? What is going on in your life?”
My aunt’s cards are now treasures in my family, memorials to the woman who spread such light and encouragement to those around her.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.