Monday, November 18, 2013

Helping in Difficult Times

Several tornadoes ripped through my hometown and several surrounding cities yesterday.  We are so blessed that our family members are all safe and sound, our house is unharmed, and we have electricity.

This has been a marvelous opportunity to talk to my kids about being grateful for everything we have as well as how to pray for and help others.  After a well-timed devotional tonight about having everything we need, the kids and I had a prayer time that would've blessed anyone listening.  Hearing Griffin pray for his teacher, my sister's family, and all the people who lost their homes was like a soothing balm on my soul.

This is also a great time for me to share with you a post that I've been wanting to write for several weeks.

When someone I know is going through a difficult time, I want--I need--to do something to help.  Then I overthink it.  What if they don't want help?  What if they don't want the particular thing I'm offering?  How many times will I say something completely awkward because I don't know what to say?

Time and time again, I've come back to one go-to way to minister to people:  food.  Food is always the answer.  Food is my love language.

There's plenty of room for overthinking here, too.  Does anyone have food allergies?  Is anyone diabetic?  Is anyone in the family dieting?  Do they like this genre of food?

You see how I can drive myself crazy and often end up sitting back doing nothing.  But I recently discovered how awesome it can be to forget about those worries and just feed someone.

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to take meals to all of the following people within a two-week period:
  • Someone who had a baby
  • Someone who had surgery
  • Someone in the middle of an ugly divorce
  • Someone whose father passed away
  • Someone whose spouse was arrested

I was searching online for some meal ideas when I found a great site called Take Them A Meal.  I highly recommend looking around this site.  It is full of tips, ideas, recipes, and guidance to help people minister to others (through food and so much more).

Some of my favorite posts on their site include:

*If you only read one link I'm sharing with you today, I'd make it this one!

The post that brought me to Take Them A Meal in the first place was this one:

This particular post was written by Janelle, the author of the site Comfy in the Kitchen.  After reading this fantastic gathering of her top 13 meals to take to people, I ended up spending a bunch of time looking around her site as well.  (I do this a lot.  I'm on one website, and then I open a link in another tab, and then that site has another link to another blog that I open in another tab...Does anyone else do this?)
I read her About Me page and found out her awesome story of how she got involved in "meal ministry."  She takes meals to all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons.  She simply follows God's prompting to know whom she should feed next.  She also cooks for a crowd at her church regularly, and she has lots of helpful things to share about how to balance caring for her own family while ministering to people around her in practical and meaningful ways.  
In addition to the two amazing sites mentioned above (seriously, check them out!), I wanted to share two more posts you may find helpful if you're trying to help someone in your sphere of influence.

*Click on the occasion (baby, sympathy, get well, etc.) to get ideas of what to write.

I hope you find some of these links useful.  Sometimes we have great intentions and just need a little help turning those intentions into something that is actually helpful.  Whether you're reaching out to a group of natural disaster victims or reaching out to a close friend enduring a trying time, you can absolutely make a big difference by doing little things if you choose your words and actions wisely.  


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