When I ask anything of the Lord, I know that He will do what is best. What a wonderful freedom I have to ask big things boldly, because I know He is working out His master plan and because I know His heart is loving toward me. Whether He answers "yes" or "no," I can thank Him for caring for me.
Because I am convinced of His care, I can pray about everything that concerns me. That morning, a few months ago, when I was feeling overwhelmed, I poured out my distress (a little bit like Hannah!) and asked, specifically, that IF the Lord knew that help would be good for me and for our family (and for the helper!) and IF it would please Him, that He would send someone to me who would OFFER to help our family for free.
A few days later, after church, the sweetest young lady (my opinion, of course!) approached me on the playground. We chatted for a few minutes and then she casually asked if I would be willing to have her over to our house this summer. She wanted to be a "mother's helper" to me (though she is completely capable of babysitting at age 13); her schedule would allow at least one day/week and she wanted to do it completely free. She explained that she wanted to gain experience with a "large family," and that she would enjoy time with my children.
I've been just a tad bit uncomfortable as an example to her, (especially aware of our craziness here!) but have enjoyed her immensely. Not only has she been a great help with the young children, but she has helped me with housekeeping and baking. She brings such a sweet spirit to our home. (She also brings matchbox cars and trucks and a cool canvas mat she made; the kids look forward to it every time!) I've been so encouraged by our conversations. It has truly been an unexpected delight!
The following week, I received a phone call from a JuicePlus+ customer. She was nearly in tears as she told me that she needed to cancel her next shipment. Just the prior week, she had told me how helpful the JuicePlus+ had been and how glad she was to have the nutrition that was making a difference in her body. Because her work situation had changed, she was cutting back on financial obligations. This is a dear, sweet, grandmother in our church that I have grown to respect and appreciate. She came to help one day after G was born and our children loved the stories she told and her gentle demeanor. Through our conversation, I felt led to ask her about an exchange. I would pay for her month's JuicePlus+ if she would watch our children one evening so that The Lawyer and I could have a date night. (The monthly cost of the JP+ is about what we would pay a babysitter for an evening out.) She was SO excited! Not only was she enthusiastic about the exchange, but she would like to come over for a few hours every week.
Again, I am sometimes embarrassed to have this wonderful lady in our (often messy, always loud and busy) home. I'm not quite sure how to best use the time that she is here. I am sure that this is an amazing blessing. The first morning she came, I had been reading the Bible to the children. She took over while I went to manage other things, and the children heard the rest of the story of Moses along with her personal experiences on Mount Sinai! She brings games to play with the children and tells stories. They love this time with her! It's so sweet to know that she also is loving this time and that it fills up a need she had in her life- two, actually! She has JuicePlus+ for her body, and she has an outlet for her passion to teach and care for children.
The third provision was also a complete surprise. A friend who lives in our neighborhood contacted me about our church's upcoming VBS. We talked for awhile about the details, and then she said, "I'd like to run something by you." Her oldest children (16 year old daughter and 14 year old son) would like to come over twice a month for three hours one evening to watch our children so that The Lawyer and I could have regular date nights. Absolutely free. For the experience and for the good of serving another family. Just like that!
I must tell you that this oldest daughter had always impressed me with her maturity and pleasantness. In fact, when we first moved to Woodlake, I asked about the daughter babysitting for us. The answer then was NO; this young lady was serving her family and was unavailable to babysit others. Things have changed in the last two years. . . and now she is serving us of her own desire and we are all the more blessed. My boys have the positive example of the young man and my children are well cared for in their capable hands. Plus, we are thinking about ways we could serve or bless others.
Though I'm not articulate at conveying the wonder of these situations (which still amaze me), they were a clear answer to me. The help is good for all of us!