Despite the best intentions, women who care about meeting the needs of others frequently find themselves struggling to keep pace with the demands made upon them. Any number of "shortages" can defuse even the most stalwart woman's determination to serve those she loves. Be it waning energy, financial issues, health concerns, or time crunches, every woman can discover hope amid even the most disheartening circumstances. As women take time to look upward, above, and beyond the trials, heavenly grace and strength will be both accessible and abundant.
Fifty-three-year-old Catherine Wilson blew out her breath hard in an unconscious attempt to expel the worries of the day. As a secretary to the superintendent of the local public school system, Catherine went home daily one tired lady. It's not that she didn't enjoy her work. Catherine was a whiz when it came to organization, so this job was a Godsend. She was a natural with people, too, which might be why so many of her elderly neighbors came knocking on Catherine's door whenever they had problems understanding a new prescription, Medicare information, or just simply banking account procedures.
After having been married for over twenty-seven years, Catherine just always assumed her husband would be around for the duration. She didn't count on an unexpected heart attack, which claimed his life and forever altered hers. But the unimaginable had happened and Catherine was left forging a new life for herself, by herself. The move into this new condominium complex for "older" adults was just the first in a series of life changes following her husband's death. Although Catherine didn't really qualify for senior status yet, she knew the time would arrive when she'd be grateful to have no more lawn care and home maintenance responsibilities. It was enough to keep up with her fast-paced position at school. Evenings were for taking care of chores, making dinner, exercising, and relaxing.
Lately though, in fact every night for the past week, Catherine's doorbell rang within the first hour she arrived home. How Catherine had earned the reputation of "mother superior" to all these truly elderly men and women who were her neighbors she couldn't fathom. It had started out with one innocent offer to act as go-between for the seventy-eight-year-old single lady with the beginnings of Parkinson's disease. All Catherine had done was to make a couple of telephone calls for her new friend. The word spread that Catherine alone understood the ins and outs of getting real answers to difficult medical questions.
Sitting back in her comfy sofa, Catherine sighed again. "I wonder who'll be knocking on my door tonight? I'd like just one evening here alone," Catherine thought wearily. "Still, these people have done something for me I never thought would happen again. I feel like I've got a family — someone to come home to in the evenings. Maybe our friendships are somewhat lopsided; I do the advice giving and they do all the taking. But, I'm also certain I fall far short of the gratefulness extended to me each and every time I make the effort to serve."
In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35)This article is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without the written permission of the author. It is from Michelle Howe's book, Prayers to Nourish a Woman's Heart and is presented here to expose you to her work. We hope to carry an article on women and prayer by Michelle each month and share more content from her books and articles to bless your life and give you another good resource as you live for Jesus. For more information on her book click here.
Dear Lord, today I learned something. I've been focusing on keeping so busy I won't notice how alone I feel and I've been wrong. No two ways about it. I can't run away from my hurt. I want to keep everyone at bay — push people away from me. Instead, I've been placed in a position where I don't have the choice to say no. Tired as I am, you're still forcing me to get out, move on, and heal inside. Should I be thanking you, Lord? I'm so emotionally worn out I don't want to get too close again. It just hurts too much. Then I look around and see the wrinkled brows, the stooped shoulders, and I realize I'm not the only one carrying a burden. Mine's just internal.
Lord, help me to give even when I don't have it within me to do so. Provide me with that greater measure of compassion I've been running from. I need your touch of grace and your ongoing strength to work through me. In the quietness of my heart, I hear you. Please help me do what is right. We all long for what you alone can offer. Let me be your conduit of tender love today. Amen.