Sometime after 8 AM and I heard a little tap on my door.

 

Whatever You Did for the Least of These You do for Me

 

If I had known that it was an invitation to open up my heart and day to spending 5 prime hours with two neighbor kids, I might not have answered.

Then again.

That morning’s invitation was God’s way of letting us know he has two little lives to entrust to us with the important task of being Jesus with skin on.

Frankly, though, it was inconvenient.

My to-do list was a mile long.

 

Are you available?

 

Somehow all the lovely warm fall weather we have had disconnected me from the actual dates on the calendar.  Where has all the time gone?  How is it that we are so close to Thanksgiving?  As a blogger, I should be mostly decorated for Christmas.  Instead, I’m far from it. And to top it off, I’m in the midst of a major makeover for this little apartment with one painting project after another.

On this day, I still needed to eat breakfast, take care of my email correspondence, and create a centerpiece, set a beautiful table, and do a Thanksgiving photo shoot, all before picking the neighbor kids of up from the bus stop at lunchtime. The painting would need to wait, as well as a number of errands I had planned for the day.

 

It may not be convenient but God doesn't care about hour convenience - only our availability

 

Did I say it wasn’t convenient?

Yeah… God isn’t interested in my convenience.  He is much more interested in my availability.

So we took them for a slice of pizza at one restaurant and for short shakes at another (because there was a stalemate… neither kid was able to swing the other to their restaurant choice) and then to the lake to look for nature’s treasures in the sand topped off by a long hike through the woodlands on the back side of the sand dunes.  And then… I couldn’t believe my ears.  When their dad came to get them… they begged to stay for dinner.  They had spent FIVE HOURS with us and wanted more!

 

Whatever you do for the least of these you do to me

 

The next day I got a call, the little guy was not well overnight and his dad took him to the ER.  A CAT scan was subsequently scheduled.  Would we pick up his older sister?  The to-do list from Wednesday had been pushed into Thursday and I was painting up a storm.  Plus, I had to put in a little time at the workshop.  God knows ALL of this… and still asks… “Are you available?”

Thursday wasn’t as fun as the day before… and the sun wasn’t shining either.  However, we did manage to have a picnic lunch in the middle of the living room floor… because my kitchen and dining area were overtaken with painting projects.  Since I was in the middle of a project Sarah wanted to help me or at the very least she wanted me to come up with a project for her, too.  She thought it would be wonderful if I could come up with the supplies for her to make a gift for her brother.  But, I knew that with her brother being ill, I needed to make sure she finished her homework.

I changed from my painting clothes to street clothes to take her back to school to pick up the books she had left in her locker only to learn, in the meantime, those books were miraculously discovered in her book bag along with some other homework.  All the fun from the day before was a distant memory.  This day became one of kind confrontation, guidance, and a bit of tough love.  The homework did get finished just in time for her dad and brother to pick her up.

 

What can I do to make a difference in the lives of two kids

 

 

 

 

Would you believe that in the evening, she came by again? “Could I make a gift for Thomas?”

You would think that after having been found out for not telling the truth and strongly nudged to get her homework finished that she wouldn’t want to come back and hang with me.

{sigh}

I really wanted to say no to her request for making a gift.  But, instead, I said… “How about tomorrow?”

There was no school on Friday and with temps in the 20’s I knew she was dying to do something.

“What time?” she asked.

I thought for a few moments… I had so much to do… but maybe if I worked really hard I could manage to get a lot done by, say, eleven o’clock.

“Eleven o’clock,” I replied.

While I painted the new tray I was creating for an upcoming post, I helped her make and decorate a rhythm tube.

The sun was out and I needed to run a couple of errands and it was way past lunchtime, so I asked her to get permission to go get lunch with me and ride along on a few stops.

Permission was granted.

Off we went into the bitter cold and wind, warmed a wee bit by the sun’s harsh rays.

Given a choice to eat in OR go through the drive-thru and eat at the lake, she excitedly chose to eat by the lake.  Something I did often with my dad as a kid, but something Sarah has never done.

We ordered two hot chocolates and a double burger cut in half.   It was plenty.

I LOVE any excuse to go to the lake regardless of the weather and it seems my little friend now does too.  This summer we took her and her brother to the lake at sunset once and another time to walk the pier on a beautiful evening.  First-time events for both of them.  It’s an everyday kind of activity for me… but for the kids… spell-binding.

After finishing our lunch and picking icicles hanging from the blue railings along the channel, we drove to another part of the beach… the same place we had been the two days earlier looking for treasures in the sand and enjoying the beauty of the November lake.  With the strong wind that day I had hoped to see big waves, but instead, the lake was rather calm.

For fun, I drove up one of the big hills with an awesome view of the lake and lighthouse and turned the car around for a slow descent down.  I loved seeing it again through her eyes.  She was thrilled.  “It’s the best view ever!” she exclaimed.

 

Best view ever - the result of being available

 

After making a few necessary stops we arrived home and I asked her what she liked best from our little adventure.  “Eating at the lake and the cool view!! That was amazing!” she said.

Our time should have come to a close then, but for some reason, her dad left before he told us he would.  An hour and a half later he FINALLY returned.  I guess, he took advantage of his daughter being in good hands.

In the end we spent 5 hours together.  Again.

She couldn’t have been happier.

Tim asked me what we talked about.  Actually, we didn’t chat a lot this time. Sometimes I’m not very chatty.  But, I do try to carefully encourage her in some area every time we get together, if possible.

The thing is… her mom works a lot of 12 hour days and is tired when she gets home.  Sarah doesn’t get much time with her mom, so that makes it even more important for me to choose to be available.

I’m reminded of a phrase Tim coined back when he was a children’s pastor….

“The needs of children should never be sacrificed for the convenience of adults.”

It would be really easy for me to say that I’m too busy.  Especially since I am usually very busy.

And then I remember that God wants us to be available.

 

Whatever You Did for the Least of These -- the difference is what we did or didn't do

 

I can’t tell you that any great earth-shaking things have happened because we’ve been available.

But, I do know that one seven-year-old loves it when we pray at mealtimes and prays, as he says, “quietly in my mind.” I’m pretty certain that his faith is growing is because there are two other big people in his life who believe that prayer is important and pray for him and his sister.

After about 13 hours with two neighbor kids in 3 days, I got a little behind on my to-do list, and truthfully, they wore me out. (Though I guess we wore them out too… they went to bed early because they were tired the first night!)

I knew it was the right thing to do.

Just not what I wanted to do.

But… I was available.  Not because I had the time… but simply because I was willing.

None of us will ever know the value of those 13 hours, will we?

Even though the kids know that I work at home and do projects and photo shoots which they always seem extraordinarily interested in… especially when food is involved… they really don’t “get” the time element and how I sometimes just can’t let them help me or play with them when they ask.

There is a hard teaching of Jesus in the New Testament which I just happened to read again today.  You may know it as the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats.

In one powerful sentence, Jesus, still speaking within the context of the parable explains exactly what separates the sheep from the goats.

Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’
Matthew 25:40

God’s heart is most tender toward widows and children.

So when he plants me in a place where two kids come knocking at my door regularly, I know that I MUST be available.

And now… when they knock… Jesus is whispering to me,

“Whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do for me.” 

Who has God placed before you? 

It may not be convenient… but are you available?

 

Are you available - It's JoyDay!

 

It’s JoyDay!

Through all the ups and downs of life, I’ve come to the conclusion that counting and giving thanks are key to trusting God.  When we take time to see all that God is doing in and through our lives… it’s pretty amazing!

Please join me in thinking back over the past week and counting seven things for which you are thankful.

This simple exercise of counting and giving thanks together in this space resets our compasses and put our eyes back on the Lord. And ultimately fills our hearts with JOY!

I’ll start…

Thank you, God for…

  1. so much painting progress this past week.
  2. for the reminder that everything doesn’t revolve around ME… but instead… it’s about being available to YOU, Lord and YOUR promptings.
  3. a fun night shopping and getting a few items to replace clothes that are 10 years old.  
  4. how you’re answering prayers and the power of prayer during corporate worship.
  5. the peace this building has without the downstairs tenants. 
  6. the healing power of bone broth.
  7. Your word and how it’s truths breathe life and meaning into my days.

Now…it’s YOUR turn!

List your ‘seven’ in the ‘share your extraordinary thoughts’ section below.  You’ll be glad you did.

Thank you for stopping by and leaving your sweet thoughts.May your week overflow with unimaginable Joy! Signature - AnExtraordinaryDay.netReceive FREE inspiration like this in your inbox!
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Comments

  1. Minnie McCoy says:

    Good day to you Diane!
    Sounds like you have some very full days. I am happy the kids have found a place to be when needed. It sounds like they need you more than you know. Our projects will always be waiting. Our to-do always full. Kids have a NOW NEED. Sometimes we get only one shot. One chance.
    Only one opportunity to give what is needed or to make an impression. The Lord will guide you if you let him.
    I thank you Lord for,
    1. Diane has little friends that were led by you to her.
    2. You Lord share with us the ability to help, change and mold others.
    3. Hubby has a birthday and all our kids, kids in law and grand babies were here.
    4. The smell of the Rosemary that grows in my backyard.
    5. M. is going back to work.
    6. The memories of playing hide and go seek with my dad on nights that the power would go out. We were laughing about it the other day.
    7. For giving me the ability to see beauty where others see none.
    Blessings to you!
    Minnie

  2. What a lovely post. I was so eager to read. Like I was hurriedly turning pages to see what would happen next. It read like a Hallmark movie! I had decided to call my Dad’s cousin’s widow about a year ago. We’d chat and the doorbell would ring and it would be a neighbor girl! I think it’s so special that your ministry to them is of great value. You are not paid to do this job. It’s from your heart. Thank you for leading by example.
    Your photos are so fun! I’ve never seen the Great Lakes so I find it amazing how much it looks like the ocean.
    Joy Day
    1. Hubby got a job Thursday and today he started. What a blessing after three weeks.
    2. I was able to really rest today
    3. I got to talk with my Aunt yesterday and sister today both live so far away. It’s been years since I’ve seen them.
    4. We’ve had nice weather so I’ve seen hummingbirds
    5. My handwriting is improved with much practice over all these years.
    6. I got to go out with friends one evening
    7. My leg feels much better tonight
    My heart hurts still. But that’s part of my injury. Part of life. But God is good too. We shall rejoice in the Lord

  3. Lucy Beautiful says:

    Joy Day!
    1. Having Guy always by my side for constant support and and love!
    2. Having Patrick for the weekend! His companionship is delightful!!!
    3. Using whatever energy I had left to help Guy organize cook books!
    4. FINALLY doing my nails. They were pretty darn pitiful!!
    5. Hung up all of my clothes on the chair!!!

  4. Well isn’t this timely?? I think you were definitely Jesus with skin on to these two little ones! AND their parents!! I feel your pain at having my ‘schedule’ interrupted — I don’t usually care for God’s timing! Yesterday I was approached and asked if I could meet with two young pastor’s wives who are struggling. I wanted to say no. I wanted to tell about all of the ‘things’ on my ‘plate’ already. But I felt the Lord prompting me and before I knew what was happening, he pulled the words “of course” out of my mouth. I don’t know what He has planned but since HE has planned it, I know it will be fruitful if I’m just obedient.

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