Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction


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Are You Using Your Unique Gifts & Talents?

Our Unique Gifts & TalentsMy husband had been sick on and off for years before he passed away, so my involvement in church ministries had been intermittent and limited. Near the end of his life, my ministry was caring for him.

After he died, I spent several months floundering around in grief before I decided to resume the church newsletter ministry I had begun years back. It helped to write. The problem was it also kept me isolated in my office.

I spoke with a friend one day and told her that I wanted to get involved in a ministry that gave me more interaction with people, but that I wasn’t sure where I belonged.

She said, “How about working in the nursery? The babies are so cute.”

“Yes, they are, arent’ they? But the whole crying/diaper-changing thing is way more than it’s cracked up to be.”

“Then how about Children’s Church? They’re always looking for workers.”

“Yeah, there’s a reason for that.  They wear volunteers out faster than we wear out deacons.”

“Pre-teens?”

“Unh-uh. They scare me.”

“Youth group?”

“No, they need someone cool. I’m not cool.”

She folded her arms across her chest and sighed. “Well, then, all that’s left is young adults.”

As soon as she said it I knew. I don’t know why, but I always enjoyed young people, especially those in their college years. They are so optimistic and full of ideas. I got excited thinking of ways I might minister to them.

In the end, I came up with a simple concept: I would feed them. (I knew if I wanted guys to show up, it had to involve food.) So each Tuesday night I cooked and invited them for supper. The program included a meal and conversation. I usually had between ten and twelve show up, sometimes more.

The fact that I was a mother like any other mother didn’t seem to concern them. Since my children were years older and virtually out of the picture, there was no chance of interpersonal drama. (Actually, sometimes I wondered if the young adults even knew I was there.)

At first I tried to steer the conversation by asking faith-based questions; but I soon  realized that these young people just wanted a place to gather and be themselves. I let them. It helped that I promised to keep their conversations confidential.

The result? Friendships were made and strengthened. One couple eventually married and now has three children.  Two people accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. And I was used by God.

What is the Lord leading you to do? Care to share it?