Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I've been mulling this post over in my head for the past couple of weeks. This Sunday it was brought up at our small group and it was again when I went to our MOMS group at church.

The topic was basically on meeting needs for people whether they just had a baby, are going through a crisis, or just being an authentic community of believers.

The one thing that I have learned along the way is this: I must be intentional on meeting the needs of people around me. I cannot say, "Call me anytime." or "Let me know how I can help." Because if I am really honest, when people say this to me I don't or won't call them. I am not going to call someone who I know lives a busy life (don't we all live busy lives?) and say, "Will you come and clean my bathroom?"

Nope. Not a chance. I will suck it up and clean my own bathroom - even if it takes me a couple of weeks to do it. It is my own sin of pride getting in the way.

I started thinking that if I feel and do these things I am probably not alone.

What I need to start doing and saying is this:
"I have Tuesday night free. I am coming over to your house and I will do whatever you need done. I am bringing my cleaning supplies and you will put me to work."
"I am making you a meal. When would you like me to bring it over, or would you like me to freeze it so you can pull it out any night of the week?"

I know this is a little too straight forward for some people, but this is what has been done to me in the past. I was blessed last fall when a group of women came to my house and did a deep cleaning. It was so wonderful because I was 8 months pregnant and the two boys just had come home and life was hard. They said they were coming and I should make a list of things I wanted cleaned; they didn't give me much of a choice. I would have never asked in a million years for help, but they met a huge need. (of course I could have said, "no" to them and missed out on God's blessing)

I have talked to some of my friends about how I try to live my life at 75% speed. Meaning that I don't want to be running around at 100% because I can not maintain it long term. If I keep it at 75% then I am able to make that meal at the last minute, run an errand for a friend, make a phone call, or when life throws some punches I am not dropping all the spinning plates because I have left margin in my life. (This means I have to say "no" to some really fun and cool things - Can I even say godly things? ...gasp!)

Isn't that what we all long for? Margin....space...breathing space.

Honestly, right now with a new baby and 2 new sons from Ethiopia I am running about 94% just because I have so many little people and they have an enormous amount of physical needs. But this season shall quickly pass and become a distant memory. I am looking forward to finding my new normal 75%. What does that look like? I don't know yet, but I am hoping to find out this summer.


Ruth Ann said...

I really appreciated this post.

So often I think how I would love to help people, but I don't always know how. I 'think about it' forever and never actually do something, cause I don't know when is a good time, what to do, etc...etc..

This really encourages me to ACTION and I'm thankful for that. May God allow the seeds planted to have increase in His way!

Love & blessings to you!

the johnson crew said...

Just before malacahi was born (right after we had gotten our four kids back and amos was only 3 months old) a lady that i hardly even knew came over for 3+ hours and scrubbed my house. It was an amazing blessing and very humbling to receive.

Yes, help is very difficult to ask for... good point on how to offer help... being so specific. - a rebuke to me on how vague i have been in offering help.

keep on keeping on... God will continue to give you what you need when you need it.

i still don't feel on top of it... i just have to prioritize and say "oh well" about the rest... and it still takes me days to accomplish cleaning the bathroom. - be encouraged too that some of your older children will soon be able to help out in little ways around the house. - my oldest is 7 now and it can only get easier (I think.) ;)


crazylady said...

Leave margin!

I look at the upcoming month as it starts to fill up and look for the blank days that are left and intentionally cross them out as "don't go anywhere days." So that several days a month the kids and I don't go anywhere. If they are crossed out I really think twice about filling them in with things. (Even "good" things)

LOVE the forwardness. I would NEVER call someone who said, "Call if you need help." Especially if they were not a close friend. I would however accept help from someone who was serious and forward.

I am going to work on how I offer help to others so they know that I am REALLY wanting to help.

Tengesdal 4 said...

This is so awesome Angel!! What a good reminder to offer exactly what you are willing to provide! :)

Courtney said...

i love this..all of it! thanks for sharing!

Ashley said...

I love this post. Thank you for writing it! I plan on sharing it in the next few days on my blog if you don't mind...

Katie said...

great post. the percentages, good theory! i guess i never really thought of it as that. i remember when shortly after we got our 3 kids, life was crazy and i thought...pretty soon we will get into our groove and things will simmer down. several months later, i realized THIS IS THE GROOVE! just when something is mastered or thought to be something else calls us to duty. that being said, i could probably benefit from mathmatically portioning out my schedule, but that is probably better said than done. and i do have my down times, only it seems my calendar tells me when, not i. or a sick kid! sometimes i wonder where the tie comes from to do things for other people, as i have so many of them under my roof- that may not come til they are on their own!! thanks angel!

Anonymous said...

really great post.