Right before our big move we found out this would most likely be our last pregnancy. Once we arrived in Austin, it was confirmed that a hysterectomy was necessary after we delivered our little one. It rustled up a host of emotions.  But eventually I got over myself, accepted that this would be our last baby and that this was God’s plan.  God had been so very generous to bless us with a big family full of healthy children.  Quietly I prayed, ‘’ Please Lord, help me to slow my life down to enjoy every minute of this last tiny, wondrous gift from you.”

This isn’t what I had in mind.

I spent December 7th – 22nd on mandatory bed rest in the
hospital. On the 23rdour son was born 5 weeks early and put in the NICU with a list of health concerns. An unexpected complication during my surgery required an additional emergency procedure. I awoke to a long and painful recovery.  I wasn’t physically able to get to the NICU to see my sweet baby for two full days and it devastated me to be separated from my newborn. I was weak and helpless and in more pain than I had ever been. But God surrounded me with His reassurance.

My husband and mother spent most days with me, with my mother-in-law holding down the fort at home. Almost every nurse spoke of their faith in God and my spirits lifted. The football team, the Bible study I attend as well as this amazing church all took care of meals through a care calendar, leaving my family’s greatest worry being, “Will we be able to eat it all?”  My father got the kids where they needed to be and countless new friends offered help in every conceivable way. My mom did laundry around the clock, grocery shopped after everyone else was fast asleep and still managed to play and sing with the children.  Pastor Meyer visited me throughout the 23 days in the hospital, and once I got home. My father-in-law fed me some of my favorite foods to offset the yucky hospital fare.

Prayers and encouragement and a cheering section second to none answered our prayers. Baby Andrew and I both came home (he’s doing great, by the way!) and mostly all our needs were met – think about that!  God stood with me in the pit I was in.  Never before were Troy and I more humbled and more grateful and more in awe of God’s power.  His Children were caring for us the way He would have. “Do Unto others” means something very different now.  It left us desperately searching for “How will we ever thank all these people?”

It reminded me of a Catholic friend who told me of an exercise they did at their church during Lent.  One of the priests washed the elders’ feet, reenacting how Jesus washed the disciples’ feet before the Last Supper John 13:4-8 “….He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?”  Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” –John 13:6-8 

Many emotions must have stirred in Peter – surely he felt uncomfortable, a sense of inferiority and of being undeserving. In part, that’s how I feel. Who are these people that barely know us, giving so selflessly, and we’ve done nothing to deserve it? But yet, I see the joy in their eyes to serve me – and who am I? I can only imagine the joy Jesus feels watching us “Loving one another.”

It has planted in me a deep desire to give back in new ways and serve once I’m strong again.  I would urge you to introduce yourself to the wonderful people who lead the outreach ministry here at Mt. Olive. See what they have planned for 2012, then pray and search your soul as to how you can help them serve. You most likely will get an answer you weren’t planning on either – trust me. I guarantee sharing your time and talents will bring you exponential joy and fulfillment.  Our Heavenly Father never wastes our time. As the gospel song says, “Reach out to Jesus, He’s reaching out to you.”

And remember, on His 33rd birthday when Jesus might have been putting together a bucket list of sorts, He willingly listed at the tip- top “Die for you.” That will put your work in perspective. No one is going to crucify you in your outreach effort.  But heaven might be a little more crowded someday thanks to you and the example you illustrated for others in how you choose to live your life here. Be a beacon on top of a hill, be a light to others and show them the way to serve cheerfully and have a servant’s heart. Reach out to someone in the hospital or nursing home. Reach out to a child needing nurturing or guidance. But answer the call and reach out this year as He would reach out. Your outreach effort could lead someone home. Take it from me, your kindness will make a huge difference.

 

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