Monday, March 23, 2009

Helping Hands

It seems these days we are living in a society that is constantly absorbed by its’ own feelings and needs. However, it doesn't take too much effort to notice the multitudes that are struggling in their marriages, finances, health, and with their children.

Unfortunately, many see themselves as a victim, which only perpetuates their pain and denies them from experiencing the freedom that Jesus died to give to all who believe.

For me personally, the quote I choose today has been one of the greatest avenues of blessing in my own life, although I've found this to be true in countless others as well. It is a principal that has been tried and tested since the beginning of time.

Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest Presidents in U.S. history once said:

“To ease another’s heartache, is to forget one’s own.”

Each and everyday our lives are filled with opportunities to bless and serve others. If we are honest, I think we can all agree that it's not hard to find someone in who is discouraged, without hope and in much greater need than ourselves.

These precious people are in our churches, our schools, our neighborhoods, and even in the line at the grocery store. We see them on the news and we read about them in the paper. For many of us at some time in our lives, we may have been one of these people ourselves, and some kind person came to our rescue.

In the book of Proverbs there is an amazing promise given:

“He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” (Prov. 11:25).

It seems that contrary to our own natural way of thinking, the way to blessing flows from our willingness to become like a fountain of refreshing water, bringing life and hope to those who are discouraged and in need. It is in this giving to others that the door to receiving is opened wide for ourselves.

My eyes were opened to this principal several years ago when my son was diagnosed with a brain tumor. In the beginning, all I could see was our own heartache, anguish, and fear. Our mission was to see our son healed and restored. For the most part that seemed to take all of my strength and energy.

Things began to radically change when we had to move to Memphis and live in the Ronald McDonald House while he was undergoing treatment at St. Jude. Then reality hit me.

We were not alone in this battle. We were surrounded by many other families fighting the same kind of battles, and lots of them were not nearly as fortunate as we were ourselves.

There were single moms with no support; children that had relapsed with little hope of recovery; and some who were at the very end of their battle in great pain.

Saddest of all were those who did not know Jesus and were without hope.

I found that once I was able to allow the Holy Spirit to let me feel their pain, my own problems seemed so different and not nearly as difficult as I once had imagined! By the time I left, I realized how truly blessed I was. I was so grateful for the experience that I had dreaded at first. What I had feared became the very avenue for the greatest blessing in my own life.

The prophet Isaiah was given this very revelation a long time ago as he wrote in Isaiah 58:10-12:

"If you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry & satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, & your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs...&...strengthen your frame."

One of the most amazing rewards we have been promised is that it is in giving that our receiving comes. For me there is nothing more empowering.

Today, in the midst of your own heartaches, troubles, or difficulties, why not ask God to show you another person’s needs today? Then when He does, don’t be afraid to let your life become that fountain of refreshing for them.

If you are participating in Tuesdays, In "other" Words, please leave your link below:


Denise said...

This is beautiful sweetie.

Anonymous said...

Much to think about as alwys!
Know that your family is always in my thoughts and prayers!
Jeremiah 17:7-8 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
Prayer Bears
My email address

Susannah said...

Beautiful, Susan. I admire you immensely. You are strength personified...

Thank you for serving so many of us in the midst of your own trials.

Love you this much! :~D

Miriam Pauline said...

This has been a great reminder in a week where I needed to know. Bless you for sharing and for hosting.

luvmy4sons said...

Your story of your son and your journey with his illness has born much fruit! Thank you for sharing this. Beautiful!

Heather of Swallowing A Moose said...

Beautiful Post! Thanks for hosting this week. I've never been to your bog before so i'm glad to have found it and will be back for more!

Have a blessed week in Jesus!

Heather of S-A-M

Debbie Petras said...

This was beautiful and your words are so true. What pain you must have gone through dealing with the situation with your son. But in the midst of that situation, you were able to see the pain of others. I also believe the Lord will use each of us to comfort others who are going through something we are so familiar with. Bless you Susan.

Laurie Ann said...

Susan, your post reduces me to tears. I'm so grateful for St. Jude and the Ronald McDonald House for you. You remind me of my aunt. While her husband was in brain surgery she kept asking after others who were waiting on their loved ones. I think she really connected with one woman and it made a big difference in her life. Coincidentally, my aunt's name is Susan. How full of love and compassion you are, my friend. I'm so glad you shared this quote. It's a timely one for me and I continue to be amazed at the hurt the world is bearing. To be able to ease another's heartache is one thing, but in return forget my own, that's just gravy! How awesome is that!

Tracy said...

What a powerful Word, Susan! Your insights carry great weight, in view of what I've seen since meeting you and knowing just a little about the journey you've walked. Thank you for this challenge today. I've taken down that quote and those passages to be a constant reminder to me.

May the Lord bless you!

Karen said...

That was a great quote. Simple yet loaded with a lot to say and teach us. Thanks for serving and sharing as you do.

lori said...

Hey YOU! I'm up! It was just such a timely quote for me..and your words were so refreshing! It's what we are called to do as members of this Body of Christ...think LESS me, and MORE isn't easy in this world...

Your strength and wisdom astound me personally and using what God has placed in your life for HIS truly what it's all about...

Love you girl!! I mean gram!:)

LauraLee Shaw said...

I could not agree with this more, dear Susan. Your heart really shines through here. This very principle has been my own experience through many traumas and tribulations, and now it is a way of life most of the time. When I try to live life the other way, I'm miserable.

Jennifer said...

You just always seem to have the right words at the right time. Thank you for sharing this. I first learned about your son when reading about Brent. Your words and thoughts helped me to realize that YES, God is good, at all times--even through the storms.

I always leave your site wanting more......Blessings to you.

Patricia said...

You are so right. When I think of the trials we have dealt with, then I hear of others trials, it puts it all in perspective for me. I realize that there are others who have and are suffering so much more. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mrs. Susan.

Great post, as usual!

It reminded me of one of my favorite verses..."Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep."

Also, I read an awesome quote the other day...something like, "Misery exists when ourselves are our central focus." How true!

When we help others, and take our eyes off of ourselves, that is when God shows up and our hearts are changed. No matter our burden, it always seems lighter after taking on someone else's.

Thanks again for good!

Love, Kristin

Unknown said...

Great Quote. Thanks for your story and your testimony. You are a blessing.

<3 you. M

Tea with Tiffany said...

Loved your post here. Loved Abraham Lincoln's quote.

I too remember the Ronald McDonald House. I didn't stay there when my brother was in the hospital but my mom and dad did. We had a Thanksgiving dinner there once. Such a great place. However many did not have hope in Christ like you mentioned.

We do need to be ready to respond to others in need. Hard to do when we are self focused. Our faith needs more than just prayers, especially when we have the ability to give a helping hand..Our actions speak life to those in need.

Great thoughts, my friend.



Lelia Chealey said...

Loved that last paragraph...what a challenge! You are such a blessing to so many Susan.
Love you much!

Esthermay Bentley-Goossen said...

You most definitely selected a beautiful quote today.
President Lincoln's words parallel God's Word in so many amazing ways!
Your personal story makes both the quote and Scripture REAL!

Living out New Testament Christianity as you so beautifully illustrate, entails so much selflessness - and I don't think we will realize the impact our actions have until we reach glory!

Thank you for sharing such a tender part of both your pain and your glorious witness!

Chocolate and Coffee said...

Great post Susan. You are in my prayers.

Blessings and hugs!

Vintage Whimsy Studio said...

Susan - thank you for hosting this week. Although I am not always able to get my post up in time (late today, as well!) but I am always blessed by the quotations that are selected and the personal sharing that we experience through this online community. As a mom of a special needs child, I truly appreciate your wisdom and insight into the ways that God uses our pain to speak to a hurting world. Thanks so much! Nina

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for hosting and sharing today. This was a great quote to think about and relate with. Sorry I am late in joining . . . but want you to know I appreciate you!

Daphine said...

Wow! Thanks for the reminder! What an awesome post!