By Debra Whittington
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:17
I thank my God every time I remember you. Philippians 1:3
I once heard the saying that it takes a village to raise a child. In my case it takes an entire church to take care of two little children. Recently my niece had surgery and needed someone to care for her children ages 3 (girl) and 19 months (boy). It seemed as though there was no one else to care for them so we agreed to take them.
For someone who doesn’t have children and can count on one hand the number of diapers she has changed in her lifetime (with fingers left over) this was a definite change of lifestyle.
The first thing I did was to call the church office and request prayer for our entire family. I knew I couldn’t even attempt to take on the task without prayer.
A dear friend of ours went with me to pick up the children since Mark was unable to go. They drove all the way home and even changed the first diaper during the trip. Throughout the next 11 days they were at the house to help out anyway that was needed from changing diapers to giving baths.
Our church family not only prayed for us, but went into action to take care of our and the children’s physical needs. One friend brought by a high chair and booster chair. Another lady heard of our plight and brought toys, books, and other items for the children. Other church members brought books and videos to entertain the children.
As the days passed, friends came and got the children to give us a much-needed break. They did this without being asked because they saw a need and wanted to minister to us. At the church’s Fourth of July picnic, several people took turns playing with the children so I could rest.
Another friend brought her children and helped clean my house, which looked like a disaster area. I told her that I don’t have a problem helping others, but it is very difficult to have others minister to me.
Not only our physical needs were met, but our spiritual needs as well. I received several cards telling me that someone was praying for us. People at church stopped me in the hall to ask how things were going and tell me that they were praying for us.
We developed a friendship with one family that we didn’t know very well before we had the children. They went out of their way to help us with the children as well as lending moral support. I look forward to continuing our friendship as we found out that we have so much in common.
All of these people showed the love of Jesus Christ through their actions. In James 2:14-18 (NLT) it says, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well” — but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
Now, someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” They showed their love by their deeds.
While the children were in our care we shared our faith through talking about the Lord and prayers at mealtime.
At first, the children didn’t understand why we prayed before we ate. By the time they were ready to go home, even the little boy would reach out to hold hands before we prayed.
It made me think of Proverbs 22:6 which states, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”.
Eventually, the time came to take the children back home. I had mixed emotions because I had grown to love them so much and was attached to them.
It will take a while to rest up from our experience, but what we gained from it will last us the rest of our lives.