Igniting Joy and Passion in Serving

handprintsI herded my three girls into our minivan and strapped myself in with a sigh of frustration. “Couldn’t you guys even speak to Miss Lillian? Where are my happy, chatty girls today?”

Our family had adopted a resident from a local nursing home and were establishing a friendship through weekly visits. When I was growing up, family ministry was as natural as breathing, so I wanted to instill the same desire for service in my children.

My darlings, however, spent more time staring at the floor or chewing their nails than engaging our new friend. When I played the piano and coaxed them to lead the residents to sing, their lips moved but no sound came out.

I adjusted the rear view mirror and peered at each child. The oldest two were digging out coloring books and crayons while my preschooler belted out “Old MacDonald” at the top of her lungs.

“Girls! Did you hear me?”

The lyrics about quacks and moos came to a halt. Three sets of wide eyes looked back at me, clearly at a loss for how to answer.

That’s when it hit me.

In my rush to experience family ministry, I chose activities I enjoyed—visiting, chatting, and playing the piano. My girls, however, were bored silly.

1 Peter 4:10 speaks to the importance of using our gifts and abilities in our Christ-walk: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”  Learning this at an early age can plant a seed of excitement for the adventure of following Christ.

I turned to my munchkins. “Girls? Do you think on the next visit, Miss Lillian might like to color or do some kind of craft project? And Kate, would you like to sing a silly song for her?”

Excitement filled the van as the girls began laying out plans for our next visit. Words and phrases floated from sweet lips into my grateful heart—words like, “glue,” “make a necklace,” and “need more crayons.”

Ministry changed for us that day—it came alive as one mom and three little girls began learning the value of using their God-given passions and interests in service to their Lord.

What do our children love to do that can be used in service to God and others?

Do their eyes light up around blank paper and craft supplies? What about handmade cards and drawings for a shut-in or nursing home resident?

Maybe our children prefer to get creative in the kitchen. Who doesn’t love a plate of homemade cookies or brownies?

Did we give birth to Ms. or Mr. Organization? Put them in charge of going through outgrown clothing or unused toys to pass on to those in need.

From helping with yard work or swinging a hammer, to singing, writing, or dancing—every gift can be use to honor and glorify the One Who gave the gift.

How can we light the fire of service and ministry with our children? Share your ideas!

 

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8 thoughts on “Igniting Joy and Passion in Serving

  1. Great perspective! I’m the mother of four (16, 19, 21 and 24) and spent a lot of energy trying for find ways for them to love to serve, but often they, too, were bored. Had I not tried to make it happen or considered their interests, maybe their hearts would have turned toward service naturally. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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    1. It’s quite a process, that’s for sure! We SO want them to grow a compassionate heart. Thankfully, the Lord is patient with us as we learn to be patient with our children 🙂 Those seeds we attempt to plant early on will grow…in His time! Thanks, Mary 🙂

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  2. Nice post, Leigh Ann,
    It shows how we learn from our children– and how God speaks through them. My mother’s in a nursing home and I know how much these visits mean to her. All you have to do is watch her face light up when children visit. Great way of teaching your girls how to be the hands of God.

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    1. Thanks, Connie! It was a special time of ministry and we formed precious friendships. Now God is allowing me to watch my older girls teach their little ones to serve. What a thrill! I pray that your mom will continue to experience the joys of “tiny” visits.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Becky! Yes, I’m guilty of the same. And then wonder why I’m met with resistance! Ha.
      It’s such a joy to watch our children use their unique gifts and abilities. Thanks for reading 🙂

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