Have you ever doubted that God can use you where you are? Maybe you feel like your gifts and talents don’t really fit into what ministry might look like.
Last night our Sunday school women, and a few friends, went to an unwed mother’s home to serve dinner. I always look forward to our time with these women and count it a privilege to get to serve along side the girls in our class. When we are put in situations where God asks us to step outside of ourselves and serve you begin to see all kinds of talents and gifts come out!
In the past it seemed that every month was a real struggle for us to “break through the walls” that the women put up each time they walked through the kitchen doors. It was very obvious that there was an “US vs. THEM” mentality. The girls of our class were really bothered by the fact that we seemed to only feed the girls when we knew that we were there for a much bigger purpose. Yes, meeting a physical need is important and what God calls us to, but what about their souls? How would we ever reach them if no one ever spoke?
We started putting note cards on the tables and asked the girls to please leave us a prayer request so that we could pray for them once we left. It helped. The girls started asking us to pray for their situations and we began to learn things that helped us better know how to reach them. But we were not satisfied. We wanted more.
We decided that every other month we would do a craft. We have done scrapbooking, picture frames, clipboards, and other crafts that have allowed us to sit down next to these girls and just talk. We also found that if we could get them to bring pictures to incorporate into the crafts that they would share a little about their situations and we could offer some words of encouragement straight from God’s Word.
The hard part? Some of them have come straight from the streets into this home for pregnant women. They have nothing. We would ask, “Do you have a picture that we could use for your frame?” and usually they’d go to their rooms only to return with an ultrasound picture.
This is the cool part… God began to work in the heart of one of the women in our class. She is a photographer with a local agency that does school pictures and other things for their agency. She began to think that if we took their pictures and allowed them to have them at no charge then maybe they would begin to see their self worth.
She showed up last night with equipment in hand. We prepared the girls a yummy spaghetti dinner and then it happened… they started showing up in the dining room. Several of them had had their hair done, they had their makeup on, they were wearing their best clothes and they were so excited!! They had looked forward to this night for a while and they were so ready to have their pictures made. Some of them already have children and they had worked to dress their little ones in their best so that they could have a family shot done.
There was laughter. There were smiles. There were friends having pictures made with friends. Our class was standing in the middle of these young girls and experiencing something that we’d never experienced in this place… JOY!!
I believe that we sometimes get an idea in our minds about what ministry might look like. We think that we can’t teach or we can’t sing (and we don’t want to take care of kids in the nursery!) so we must not be able to serve. We’ve never written a book or stood before thousands to deliver a life changing speech, but what about what we DO have? We do things in our lives everyday that make us unique. We are nurses, teachers, decorators, office assistants, and architects. We are able to help make a space more beautiful, build a new space or help someone feel better. God does not call us all to be teachers or speakers or singers! He calls us to be obedient and to use what we DO have to honor Him.
I loved just standing there and watching. I watched the young moms talk to our class members like they were friends. I loved seeing the girls smile and realize that they are beautiful. Yes, they are in a hard spot in their lives, but our prayer is that one night of smiles helped them to see that they are beautiful in God’s sight and that He has a plan for them.