Tag Archives: Encouragement

From Busy to Blessing – Community Food Banks and Soup Kitchens

When I was a kid, my parents and I helped out in a soup kitchen. I don’t even remember the why we did, but we did. And it has been something that has stuck with me over the past 20 years. From Bust to Blessing Food Banks and Soup Kitchens @JessicaMWhite.com

Have I ever gone back, unfortunately no. Once I had the time {in college} I didn’t have the desire…funny how that works. Now with a bunch of littles, it’s not going to happen, but it will someday.

But what can we do?

I go grocery shopping. I find out what’s needed in our local food bank or at places that serve free meals, and throw a few of those items in my cart. The increase in our groceries is minimal, I’m already doing it, why not do it to bless.

Our church “adopts” several families during the holiday season {through social services}, providing them with not only gifts, but food. We always are sure to add some groceries to the stash, whether it’s a ham or turkey that’s needed, vegetables, or desserts.

We’re heading into that time of year when people struggle to not only keep food on the table, but keep a roof over their head, and clothes on their children. What with the added expense of heating homes, most people need a helping hand and look to food banks and soup kitchens for help. We can be that help. It doesn’t cost much, you’re already Martha-ing it, and it can Mary to someone else!

Click here to find more of my posts in this series: 31 Days | From Busy to Blessing

From Busy to Blessing – Love Your Neighbors

Who is my neighbor? It’s the people who live in the general vicinity of my house. right? Right, but it’s so much more than that. It’s continually looking at all those around us, and seeing their needs above our own. Jesus answered this way, in Luke 10:25-37:

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor of the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had Mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Luke 10:36-37

From Busy to Blessing Love Your Neighbors @JessicaMWhite.comWe all have neighbors, we may love some of them, we may not: You may not even know your neighbors’ name. The Bible gives us EIGHT different verses, all exhorting us to love our neighbors. I’m not suggestion that you go out and become all buddy-buddy with Mr. Wilson next door. What I am suggestion is that you love your neighbor, in whatever ways readily present themselves.

“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 4:15

We have this lovely law in our town, that sidewalks must be shoveled by 9am on the day of a snow storm. Kind of ridiculous given that most people are at work, and that the snow keeps falling. I love shoveling snow. If it’s snowing during nap time I’m outside shoveling our sidewalk, and then I just keep on shoveling, right on down the street. This is a little way in which I can bless my neighbors with my work, plus it has the added bonus of a few more minutes of cardio!

Do the same thing with your lawn: Just keep on mowing. Mind you, if you think the neighbor might have a bit of an issue with your doing that, then don’t. You don’t want to turn your Martha Moment into a fence war with the man next door.

If you’re making a big batch of something, zucchini bread from the 30lb zucchini from your garden perhaps, then take a meander around your neighborhood and leave a little love for your neighbors. My kids have so much fun doing this, no matter what it is or who we’re surprising.

Regardless of what it is, there is some way in which you can bless your neighbor. Even if you live in an apartment building there is something you can do. Be creative. Think about what tasks you have to do, then ask if you can do that for your neighbor.

Click here to find more of my posts in this series: 31 Days | From Busy to Blessing

Using Your Martha to Be a Mary for Your Community and the World

When people think ministry they think big, they think nationally, globally. Which is wonderful, but most of the time those are things that just involve giving money. Yes Martha-ness earned that money, but it’s not the same.

Very often there is work that needs to be done; hands that are needed to minister not through finances, but through faith.JMW World and Community and the World @JessicaMWhite.com

Many ministries whether on the local or global area struggle with finding people who are willing to give of themselves; whether it be through their time, their skills, or their own knowledge. Marthas are desperately needed on every level: Men and women willing to seek Christ and His work, being Marys to those around them.

We are called to be the body of Christ, as part of His church; to minister to others as He would have us do.

“Christ has no body on earth but yours. No hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out. Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.”
~Saint Teresa of Avila
 

Wondering what this looks like? It can look different for everyone. Ever heard of soup kitchens? Food banks? Charities? These are all things that can use your Martha, and through your Martha create blessings of Mary.

This Week’s Challenge: What is one thing you’ve been meaning to do on a large scale? Something that will bless someone that you may never even know. Think about how you can accomplish that goal.

Click here to find more of my posts in this series: 31 Days | From Busy to Blessing

From Busy to Blessing – An Introduction

From Busy to Blessing How to Use Your Martha to Be a Mary @JessicaMWhite.com“I don’t know how you find the time?!”
“I wish I had skills like that!”
“I could never be that organized.”

Ever heard these things? I have. And I don’t deserve such praise. See, I’m not all that organized and I really don’t find the time. I’m rather lazy when it comes to serving others, particularly when they’re in my own family.
Priorities.
That’s the big thing. Priorities is how those things happen. And no, this isn’t going to be a series about how to prioritize or reprioritize or anything-else-itize your life. I’m certainly not in a position to tell you what your priorities should be, particularly since my own are rather skewed.
Heart.
That’s the other big thing: Even more so than priorities. A change in heart, how you look at the jobs that need to get done, is the best and biggest way to take you From Busy to Blessing. How you recreate your heart, bending it toward glorifying God and showing His love to those around you. This is harder than priorities, because a change of heart is something that is sought moment by moment, through constant awareness, self-sacrifice and lots of prayer.
What things are in your life that you can do, because you enjoy them, but still bless those around you with them? Come on…be honest. I know there is something that you like to do that can bless others, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy or elaborate. It can be simple, mundane.
What this series is going to be about is how you can take your Martha-skills {the busy work} and use them as a Mary {Jesus seeking}: Taking you From Busy to Blessing.
First I want to share with you Martha and Mary’s story:

At the Home of Martha and Mary
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better,
and it will not be taken away from her.”Luke 10:38-42 {NIV}

We ALL want to be a Mary. No one wants to be rebuked as Martha was. No one wants to be the person filled with discontent. No, nothing in this world should take priority over Jesus and time with Him and the Father. BUT, in this fallen world there is still work to be done, and someone has to do it.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for
the Lord, not for human masters.”
1 Corinthians 3:23

There is a way to use our work as worship. To seek God while scrubbing pots. To praise Him while wiping snotty nose and poopie bums. To love on others, while loving ourselves and our own interests. For you, you just have to find it.
For the next 31 days I’m going to share with you a variety of ways in which you can be a blessing while doing the busy work that needs to get done.
Will you join me? 

Fighting Against Satan’s Efforts to Keep Us Lonely: Countering the Devil’s Plot

Fighting Against Satan's Efforts to Keep Us Lonely

Fighting against Satan’s efforts to keep us lonely is no small undertaking. In my last post, I gave some ideas of how we can show grace to others and extend the hand of friendship to them. But what do we do once that’s been done; once the other person has reached for your hand too. Oh boy.Fighting Against Satan's efforts to keep us lonely: Countering the Devil's Plot @JessicAMWhite.com That’s when it can get so much scarier {bet you didn’t think that was possible!}. It’s not just casual and smiling and being nice anymore, it’s being real, and that can be so impossibly hard. It’s one thing to be “Fine” with each other, it’s another thing to allow someone into those parts of ourselves that we are too afraid to share.

I’ve realized that my interests and skills, can have a God glorifying purpose.

I love planning things…anything: So often though I’ve had no one to plan things with or for. I decided to take a leap, to invite a few ladies that I feel as though I have a budding relationship with and ask them if they would like to do things together, without our lovable littles. OK, but why? Why put all this effort in to trying to spend time with other women? Women who you may or may not actually “click” with.
I found this great post last week.  I could not have said it better. We were created for community. Not only because we were made to spend our time in the company of others for our own pleasures, but because we need the accountability. We need others who can lift us up when we’re struggling, congratulate us when we’ve done well, and call us out on it when we’ve made some bad choices, and through it all, love us anyways.

We were not meant to stumble through this life trying to do it on our own. We will fail. We need God. We need Jesus. We need each other. Having each of these will make this life a little more meaningful, a little more bearable, a little more worthwhile, and a lot less lonely. By leaning in to other women in our lives, we are leaning in to Christ and what He desires for us.

Though one may be overpowered,  two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:12

If we don’t make the effort, take the chance, we don’t know who we could be finding.

And you know what, even if you don’t find that kindred spirit of Anne & Diana legend, you’ll find someone. It may be the next person that we need in our lives, or just maybe someone who needs us in their’s. If we don’t take that first step bravely in truth, we are turning away from God’s glorious plan for us and His Kingdom.

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think.
It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

Anne Shirley – Anne of Green Gables

If you haven’t already, I challenge you to seek out one or two people in your own life and pursue them: You might be pleasantly surprised. If you have, I’d love to hear how it turned out.