Monday I got a call from a woman I had offered to help. She needed assistance carrying some heavy water jugs before they froze, and I had told her to call when she wanted me to come out. The freeze the night before prompted her call, so I asked when she wanted me to come (mentally trying to work out when I could).
She hedged. Apparently she also had some shopping she needed done (“Just 7 items!”), and that was more important to her. Some of them had to do with pain management. I was in something of a brain-fog (another story) and so stuck with the basics: I couldn’t do the shopping, but when did she need help with the water? She basically said that the drive wasn’t worth it just for the water (“I’ll have whoever brings the shopping help with the water. That’s what’s really needed now.”). So the conversation ended.
I realized, belatedly, that it might have helped to point out that shopping (for 7 or 27 items) with 3 children under 4 is much more challenging than a drive and outdoor work.
Returning to the talk of “Seasons,” there are obviously things that will be easier to do when the children are older, and, like I mentioned yesterday, there’s at least one type of ministry that’s easier when the kids are young.
Interestingly enough, it’s what I’m already doing. Sharing conversation, counsel and encouragement with other women. Mentally reviewing the topics that continually come up, like birth control and relationship issues, I’ve repeatedly been thankful my children are young enough that I can speak plainly about certain things. And I have wondered what (or how) I will change when that is no longer possible.
Peter Kreeft (whose The Angel and the Ants I’ve quoted a few times here) points out that “our individual personal bent or desire or instincts” are worth considering when making decisions.
I have a (well-known) “personal bent” towards talking and generally thinking aloud. This has proven useful in a number of cases where I believe God used me to teach or encourage others. This, most frequently, is the type of ministry I see myself engaging in during this season of parenting (you see I really don’t mind the word… just my first impression of it).
God has brought other people across my path and into my home, feeding my own hunger for conversation, along with allowing me to encourage others.
Inevitably it comes down to remembering (and seeking) to be sensitive to God’s leading, both in timing and in type.
I remind myself that if I’m paying attention I have no reason to feel I’m going to miss something. If I feel I am going to miss something, that just means I’m being messed with (weariness can do a number…), and– assuming I’m still being attentive– I need to just get my mind off myself, and trust my faithful God to direct me where he wants me to go.