It all started with a furlough. Last January, me and my fellow “non-essential” feds, had a lot of time on our hands. At first, I embraced the change. I threw myself into errands and perfect-looking breakfasts for my kid. Around the second week, I grew restless.
I find that God gives you a gift that doubles as your Achilles heel. For me, it’s my restless nature. It serves me well at work; I operate like a short order cook. There is no challenge or chaos I don’t love cleaning up. But that attitude lay dormant in my spiritual life. Until the furlough. As I sat on my couch, feeling sorry for myself, I glanced up at my icon of Archangel Michael. From time to time we check in on each other. This became one of those times.
|My Aunt painted this. Pretty cool, eh?|
“Booh hoo! Rich girl got furloughed,” Michael began. (We are on a first name basis, Michael and I).
I spit out my tea and paused Netflix.
“What do you mean rich? I’m middle class! I have bills to pay, daycare to cover . . . a mortgage!”
“You know as well as I do you have enough for yourself and THEN some.”
I turned off Workin’ Moms, feeling properly chastised.
“Well, fine, what’s your point?”
“Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Get off your butt, and do something for someone else.”
“I can’t go off and get a volunteer job. I have a small child at home. What if she get’s sick? I might be called back to work at any moment, you know!”
Michael stopped talking, and I knew I’d lost. Here’s the cool thing about God. He meets you where you are. My restlessness, my ability to connect work with chaos went into overdrive with a new goal in mind.
Pulling the laptop to me, I began googling, stumbling on the Carpenter’s Shelter. I’d driven past it so many times, wondering what exactly went on there. Turns out, a whole lot–like housing homeless families. I felt sick to my stomach. Here I was worried about paying bills.
I had a great job and money in the bank. Do you think God gives out cookies in heaven for that? Ah, no.
I began with serving lunch at the shelter with a few other furloughed feds. On my feet, slapping lasagna on plates for homeless families, I felt a rush unlike I’d ever experienced. I wanted more! But when we returned to work, there went my free time. I knew I needed to find other ways to serve. I thought about the calendar, deep in the Lenten season. Easter was only a few weeks away. What about linking the Carpenter’s Shelter with my local church? Maybe they could create easter baskets for the kids, we could do a donation drive, maybe an easter egg hunt . . . the ideas came fast and furious. Once the deluge started, I couldn’t wait to make connections. We pulled it off, because DC Metro “got it” immediately, and the Carpenter’s Shelter knew how much the kids would love it.
The point in all of this is not to toot my own horn, but to show you how to use your skills–your gifts into making holy moments. It doesn’t have to be volunteer work. Your moments can (and should) look different from mine. The neighbor you always see peeking out of her curtains, the cart that didn’t get returned at the store. Start with your gifts, what you are good at, and do that thing. The best part? You can teach this to your children. Sharing toys, helping mom (by leaving her alone?) I kid, but you get the drift.
I’m grateful for DC Metro church and the opportunity they embraced, and I’m super grateful for the Carpenter’s Shelter for making it happen. But as I sit writing this, staring at Archangel Michael, I know it’s just the beginning of my journey.
It starts today, it starts now. The easy part is getting started; let the Holy Ghost guide you. The hardest part is letting go. Someone else is in control. Or haven’t you heard? 😉