“And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them.” Acts 4:33-34
Finding her sitting in a shady spot, I pulled up a chair and she began to talk. The 24-year-old told me about her three children, ages seven, five, and a few months. That was where I entered my “zone.”
You have a “zone,” too.
Earlier on Serve Day, I stood in amazement, watching as dozens of workers swarmed the pavilion at a local park where we had gathered. Within a short time the tables were organized, stocked, and ready for “shoppers.” As Serve Day 2017 approached, I had been excited to be part of a group which was serving single moms by providing supplies for their children to get them started in their new school year. I chose to be a personal shopper, walking alongside the mothers, helping them select grade-appropriate supplies for their children as the children were occupied with games and fun with other volunteers. After shopping and playing, the moms and children were invited to enjoy a meal — hamburgers, hotdogs, brownies, watermelon — the whole schmear of a summer spread.
Do not pass by a man in need, for you may be the hand of God to him. Proverbs 3:27
I met the first mom with whom I would interact and we walked along the neatly ordered tables stacked high with everything from backpacks to ear buds, markers, and the usual papers, pencils, and crayons. When we finished shopping, I asked if I could pray with her, told her how nice it was to meet her, then directed her to the line for lunch. The experience was all very nice, but I wished there was something more I could do besides helping her with the supplies. Taking a quick water break, I soon returned to my duty station to see if there was another shopper ready for assistance when one of the group leaders asked if I would go sit with a mom who was sitting alone eating lunch. It was my mom.
For years my gifting has been in administration; however, I experience exhilaration when I can use the miseries of life as my ministry. It’s kind of a “Gotcha!” I taunt the enemy with. A recent spiritual gifts assessment revealed other gifts that had come to the fore: prophecy, exhortation, and discernment. I enjoy planning and am usually quite organized, but I have a passion for interacting with young women who need encouragement and direction.
So we sat there in the shade and I listened to her story. As she talked, I sensed that she was thrilled to finally have an audience — even if it was just one person — quietly sitting, allowing her to pour her heart out. Occasionally stopping to take a bite of food or a quick drink of soda, she shared her desires, dreams, and goals with me. She told me of her struggles to lose weight after having three babies, how she had been rejected and abandoned three times by three different men, and how her home had been torn apart because of addiction. She acknowledged times she had made mistakes and was well aware of the need to make wiser choices so she could provide better lives than she and her children were currently living.
There is not one person, experience, or pain that God cannot use.
I counseled, encouraged, and spoke truth to her. This young mom who had experienced more than most in her years was eager to hear encouraging words spoken over her as I shared my experience, strength, and hope. She had been delivered a healthy dose of esteem and confidence which I was hopeful she would carry with her into the days that followed. Some of her immediate material needs had been met, but the intangible gifts of love and care she had received from our group left her beaming with hope and thankfulness … and my heart was full because of the opportunity God gave me to use what had been my misery as a ministry.
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Pam Weyant traded the harsh Midwestern winters for the sunny South. When she is not spending her time as a freelance court reporter, you will find her loving up her adorable cocker spaniel, hiking, traveling, writing creative nonfiction, or working out. Her passion is sharing her story so others can join her in celebrating the freedom found in a redemptive Savior.