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Glimpses of Glory in Helping and Being Helped

With these kinds of benefits from helping and being helped, why would we ever try to go it alone?

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You’re pregnant with older children to care for, and you’re facing immobilizing back pain. Do you deal with dirty bathrooms and fast food and let your husband pick up as much of the slack as possible?

You want to meet friends for a girls’ night out, but you don’t feel comfortable driving at night. Do you stay home, not wanting to inconvenience anyone by asking for a ride?

In recent weeks, as friends of mine have faced decisions like these, I’ve had occasion to marvel at the beauty of women asking for, giving, and receiving help.

It’s not an easy thing to do. We hate to feel needy; we don’t want to burden others. But when we are ashamed of our weakness, or too proud to admit our need, we commit robbery — denying ourselves the blessings of being served and depriving others of the blessings in serving.

For others to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves is inconvenient to them. To take a meal to a friend, to vacuum her floors or give her a ride, costs something. The task may simply take extra time, it may carry a financial price tag, it may be unappealing in itself. But since when are disciples of Jesus called to lives of convenience, only choosing what is easy and pleasant and free?

What’s incredible is the significance Jesus bestowed on these tasks. When you feed the least of these My brothers and sisters, He said in Matthew 25 — when you offer His people a home-cooked meal or a few hours of babysitting — you are doing it for Me.

Glimpses of Glory in Helping and Being HelpedHow is it that we can serve our Savior so simply and tangibly? How can it be that we could accrue eternal rewards for ourselves in such mundane acts of kindness? If John the Baptist proclaimed himself unworthy to tie Jesus’ sandals, would we not find ourselves honored beyond measure to clean Jesus’ toilet, to do His laundry or give Him a ride?

Yet when we refuse to reach out to our friends or our church body in our time of need, we deny them such opportunities. Dare we rob others in this way?

It takes courage and humility to admit that you’re needy. If I’m honest, I’d much rather be the one doing the serving than the one receiving it. When my husband comes home from a long day at work and immediately jumps in to help with cooking dinner or household chores, my default reaction is often guilt (“I should have gotten that done myself”) rather than gratitude. But he’s not serving me in order to shame me. He’s doing it because he loves me, because he wants to bless me. In doing so, he gives me a clearer picture of the Savior who came not to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45) — and he inspires me to imitate our great Servant as he is doing.

The blessings don’t only come in the serving. It may be “more blessed to give than to receive” — but it is a blessing to receive. If you can humble yourself enough to set aside feeling like a burden and simply give thanks for the blessing, you’ll likely find that not only are your practical needs met, but you’re also deeply moved by new experiences of God’s love for you.

One of my friends has been blown away by how generously our church has rallied around her in her need, filling volunteer slots almost as quickly as she could make them available. The service and love of humans has been a clear and powerful means for her to experience the Lord’s provision for her needs, His tender care for her. Human hands and feet have expressed the love of God to her. And those of us who have seen or participated in that provision have gotten to marvel right alongside her at how sweet Jesus’ love is, how graciously He meets His people’s needs, and how amazing He is to allow lowly humans to partner with Him in that work, making us vessels of His love and grace.

With these kinds of benefits from helping and being helped, why would we ever try to go it alone?

If you find yourself in a needy place today, I hope you’ll cast off your pride and find the courage to ask for help. If you’re in a position of being able to give, I hope you’ll actively hunt for opportunities to meet needs, perhaps even before others ask. And in the asking, the giving, and the receiving, I trust you’ll get new glimpses of the glory of Jesus’ generosity and grace.

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Amy Kannel often suffers from spiritual amnesia, easily forgetting who Jesus is and what He has done for her—so she writes to remember His faithfulness and help others see Him as the Main Thing. She makes her home in the Nashville area and will be forever grateful to the South for introducing her to tomato pie. When she’s not writing, you might find Amy making said pie and other kitchen messes, singing to her four-year-old son, reading with her seven-year-old son, or ballroom dancing in the living room with Mr. Wonderful. And if you'd told her ten years ago that she would even think of mentioning cooking in a bio, she would have declared you certifiably insane…which just goes to show that she serves a God who’s in the business of changing people. You can find more of Amy’s writing at Choosing Hallelujah.

4 Comments
  • Briana

    This is just so good, Amy, and such a needed message to be embraced by God’s people. I really believe this is one manifestation in how we are to be set apart from the culture. As believers, I see us so often acting and thinking no differently than the culture around us in that we provide services to one another with an expecation of either receiving like services or some form of pay back or even that the person would “pay it forward.” Often this will happen regardless but I truly believe we need to shed that heart motive. We are to give freely and freely receive. It is work; it does not come naturally. I personally have to fight my flesh all the time when it comes to receiving without feeling the compulsion to reimburse that person in some measure. The thing is that I often will reciprocate in some way, but I want it to increasingly be from a heart that is freely giving not giving out of obligation.
    Same behavior, different heart motive.
    It makes all the difference to God and whether our good works will end up being fodder for fire that will burn or a crown that we’ll cast at Jesus’ feet.
    I’m fighting for those crowns.

    • Amy Kannel

      It’s so hard to freely give and receive, isn’t it, without those social constructs of obligation and taking turns?! Love your phrase “fighting for those crowns.” Yes.

  • “Human hands and feet have expressed the love of God…”

    So beautiful and so true! Having babies has been a major way to allow people to help me out. People bringing meals, helping with laundry, watching the kids for appointments, have all been small ways to allow people to serve us. We were blown away by all the meals this past time of Ava’s birth–16 homemade meals–if I counted right! Even that small thing is such a blessing.

    A co-worker of Josh’s couldn’t believe all the people who helped us move. He said if he moved, he’d have no one to call. Another co-worker was going through a divorce and got sick and the only people who helped him out (get to the hospital, stayed with him) were other co-workers. Many non-Christians live isolated lives with NO one to call. Not all, of course, but many. I’m increasingly looking for ways to help practically those in my life who don’t know Christ. Small kindnesses make a big impact for God’s glory!

    • Amy Kannel

      Beautiful, Danielle. Love the challenge to look for ways to take this kind of practical help and servant-hearted kindness to those outside the church. By this they will know we are His disciples, if we love one another–as they watch us serve each other–but certainly it will speak volumes beyond our words when we love and serve non-Christians like this, too!

Articles

When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

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One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

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Articles

Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.

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“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

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Articles

He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.

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Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

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Hi, I'm Ashleigh Slater, founder and editor of Ungrind. Here at Ungrind, it’s our goal to churn out biblically-based encouragement for women. We strive to be honest and transparent about our struggles in a way that inspires hope, faith, and perseverance.

As you read, we hope you consider us friends, the kind you feel comfortable sitting across the table with at the local coffee shop. You can read more about me HERE and our team of writers HERE.

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Glimpses of Glory in Helping and Being Helped

by Amy Kannel time to read: 3 min
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