Monday, March 3, 2008
HOW CAN WE HELP OTHER PARENTS WITH THEIR CHILDREN?
No, I don't mean how can we step in and help raise someone else's children or tell parents what to do for their children. I'm not talking about the helpful advice we give each other as parents either, nothing like that. What I'm talking about could be the difference between whether a parent can go to work or not or whether parents border on "burnout" or not, in their marriages and at home. How can we help them in those cases then? What can we do? Look or ask for opportunities to be a major blessing!! Here's what I mean:
Last week, I had friends whose family was trying to pull together and do what was necessary to take care of a sick family member. One member of the family, who is not the sick one, has a baby and the ill family member was the caregiver of this baby a couple of days a week. Now that the ill family member is hospitalized, the baby was in need of a new caregiver for a while. I had already told this family early on, that if I could help out in any way, to please let me know. Well, you or they never know how you'll be needed, but it sure is nice to know that someone is readily available to you when the time comes. When I was asked to keep the baby, I was more than willing and ready. God really had my schedule freed up on the days that I was to babysit her, and things worked out just fine. My babysitting this precious little girl allowed her grandmother to continue to work so that she could continue taking care of her family (along with her husband) and allowed the mother to continue pursuing her education at school so that some day she may be able to use her education to perhaps take care of her little one (along with her husband as well). I'm glad I was able to help, and I'm glad that when asked, not knowing what I was going to be asked to do, that I was able and willing to. I thank the Lord for His attitude in me, His arranging my schedule, His blessing on this family in meeting their needs, His using me to do it. Another lesson in this situation is that overall, we should stay as flexible as possible so that we can be used or called upon on a moment's notice. It's good to have warnings (they called me ahead of time), but when there is no time for that, how are we going to respond? How can we adjust our schedules or fit someone in on our schedules and time?
Another opportunity we had this weekend was to keep 3 sisters so that the parents could "get away." How necessary is that?!!! Everybody needs to get away, but working couples (especially ones with children), whether it's full-time ministry, full-time civilian jobs, or whatever, NEED to take some time out to refresh, re-focus and get close again. A very kind and generous friend of our friends gave them the means to get away and spend time with each other. This couple (the friends of ours) runs a ministry full time, and there is little time for rest and relaxation. They raise 4 girls, but 3 of them are underage, so cannot stay home alone, and the oldest one works. My how God solved that problem! They asked us to babysit this weekend (well, just Saturday afternoon until Sunday afternoon) and we were again, willing and able to accomodate, even with a couple of things on our own personal schedule. Well, we could help out, as God would have it, and this couple reported to us that they really needed the getaway, and they really enjoyed themselves. Because my husband and I really understand the need for couples to get away, we were thrilled to see how God would allow us to help. He can really work things out, if you're willing to be open and flexible to be used. We know that our keeping kids this past week and weekend was a blessing to the families because they told us so, but they may not know how much of a blessing it was to us. We thank God for showing us His will for the week and weekend, allowing us to be in on His plans, and freeing up our schedules to do what He ordained. What a privilege!!
Now I think back on my sister's wedding anniversary that just passed in February. I sure wish I could have been in her city to keep her kids and mine so that they could get away, but God worked it our for her. She has a couple of older kids in the home that could stay with the younger ones. She and her husband were able to get away for a little while that night, for a date. Oh well, I guess I can't be everywhere, but I've learned that God can and will use you wherever you are, and He can take care of that while He takes care of a whole other need in another city, at the same time! Look at God, the Great I AM!!
BE WILLING AND READY (if you're able) TO BLESS SOMEONE THIS WEEK. LET GOD DO WHAT ONLY HE CAN DO IN AND THROUGH YOU. IF YOU DON'T, SOMEONE ELSE WILL, BUT THE BLESSINGS YOU'LL MISS ARE TREMENDOUS!!