As we were driving a couple days ago, my dad had an audio version of the New Testament playing. I was struck by the story in Acts where Peter sees the lame man begging and says, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I unto thee" (Acts 3:6, KJV). He then heals the man--a much better gift than money.
I've been feeling bad this summer because I haven't had money to help my parents buy groceries or help pay for my younger brother's missionary service in Denmark like I had planned on. I've felt like I showed up and have been a burden all summer; I was sick for most of the summer, and my mom has spent a lot of time taking care of me and Cimorene as well as all her usual responsibilities.
But for the last few weeks I've been feeling better, and I've started finding ways to contribute. While my mom's been at school I've spent time cleaning. I've cooked several meals. I drove my younger brother to work, sports, or meetings every night last week. Such as I have, I've been giving. And while I still wish I could contribute financially, it doesn't eat at me anymore. My spirit is more at peace, because I know I'm contributing.
But I know that in a couple months I'll be back in a position where I have little energy, feel overwhelmed, and don't feel able to serve anyone. I struggled with that when Cimorene was born. Logically I knew that my job at that time was to take care of my daughter, but I still felt guilty that I wasn't taking better care of my house and husband, and that I wasn't serving anyone around me.
As I was thinking about this, I remembered an experience I had when I was about 6 or 7 months pregnant with Cim. I was feeling bad because I felt like everyone had been serving me lately (mostly my husband), and that I hadn't been helping anyone else. I prayed one morning that God would help me find someone that day to serve.
That afternoon, right after I got to one of my classes, I overheard two sisters talking. They were discussing how they had both missed lunch that day because of tests, and how hungry they were (it was about 2 p.m.). I suddenly knew how I was supposed to serve. Less than an hour before, I had bought a 12" roast beef sandwich, and I had only eaten one half. I quickly pulled the other half out and offered it to them. They were surprised but grateful, and my heart was full.
It was such a small thing, but so big for me. Just knowing that the Lord could still use me, even when I was tired and overwhelmed, helped me feel valuable and needed.
Remembering that experience helps me to remember that there's always something I can do, but I have to be looking for opportunities to serve. They may not always be obvious, and they may seem small, but they will be there, and if I'm praying and staying close to the Lord, I will see them. And then, such as I have, I will give.