Messy Blessings

heart with hands

Her face lit up when our eyes met in the grocery store.  It was a moment of hope for her, a single mom whose current situation seems hope-less.

I listened as she poured her heart out, nearly completely it seemed, in a total of fifteen minutes.  I needed to pick my children up at school.  I was trying to scoot in and out of the grocery store without being noticed.  But I had prayed that day that God would bless me to be a blessing.  That’s often my prayer, and it’s true when we bless others, we really receive the biggest blessing.   But right then wasn’t the most convenient time.

God put her in my path, I know!  I hated to be rude and look down at my watch.  I kept listening.

In this short time, God revealed a plethora of needs in this woman’s life.  My head was spinning.  I had no clue where to begin or what to do except listen.  Sometimes that’s enough.  People don’t always need us to fix everything for them.  Being able to spill and have someone care is often enough. 

She was spilling, and I did care!  But it wasn’t enough.  Besides, I’m a fixer.  God’s teaching me I don’t always have to be.  It’s been one of my biggest struggles and lessons in life to learn that I don’t have to rescue and fix everyone.

On the flip side, I hate the thought of seeing someone in need and not at least attempting to help.

So here she was…in need.  And here I was…listening.

When there was finally a break, I softly asked, “What can I do to help?”

Turns out since her car had been taken, she needed a ride to work.  In the past she had been a stay-at-home mom.  When her husband left her and her son for another woman, she had to figure out… well let’s just say she had to figure everything out.  Working and getting to and from work were just a couple of obstacles.

I took her to work the next day.  But until she gets a car, this is an endless need.  THAT thought overwhelmed me a little.  I thought, “I can do this if that’s what you want from me Lord, but I have a family and responsibilities of my own.”

It’s easy to help until it gets messy.  When helping interferes with my life, my schedule, my wants, then it gets a little messier than what I signed up for.

Right?  As long as “being a blessing” is nice and clean and convenient, then it’s fine.  As long as we can help on our terms, or where everybody can see and pat us on the back, maybe then it’s not so bad.

When Jesus humbled Himself to become a human and walk this sod with us, it was messy.  It was inconvenient.  After all, He was born in a stable!  When He hung on the cross, it was messy and painful.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.  ~Isaiah 53:7

Jesus did that for us, selflessly, without opening His mouth in self defense.

As I write, I’m realizing what a mess I really am, but Jesus died for this mess.

Maybe in the mess of blessing others, He wants to work out some messes in me.  He wants to strip my self-centered, prideful, and often un-thankful heart.  He wants me to get outside of my little world and realize there are extremely hurting people, and they need to see Him.

Lord forgive me.  Forgive us.  And bless us to create enough margin with our time and finances to bless someone in need.  Open our eyes to the emotional, spiritual, and physical needs of others this Christmas, and always.  Break our hearts for what breaks Yours.  Then equip us to be world changers for You, right where we are.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.  The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  ~Isaiah 58:10-11

12 thoughts on “Messy Blessings

  1. Judy says:

    Oh, how I relate to this! And I echo your prayer for forgiveness, for I am too often focused on my agenda at the expense of God’s. Thanks for a convicting post.

  2. D says:

    Many years ago it was my turn to buy “goodies’ on Friday. As I went to the bakery a young man sitting on the sidewalk asked for money. I ignored him. On the way back, having spent $20 to feed people who did not need it, he hit on me again. I stopped and asked him why he wanted money. “I’m hungry” is all he said. I told him I would not give him money but I would buy him breakfast at McDonalds nearby. His eyes lit up like Christmas tree lights and he jumped up and followed me. I expected him to choose the most expensive items but he did not and he only took water to drink. He thanked me and sat down happily to eat his breakfast in a warm place. I never saw him begging again.

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. ~Hebrews 13:2, 3

      Thank you for sharing, D!

  3. Mary says:

    Rivera ,
    What a thoughtful piece. It is true many times that we help in ways that don’t interrupt our own agenda…..but when we give and its painful it speaks volumes to those in need and also to us….thank you for your insight once again.
    Love you

  4. Donna Bostick says:

    This one has me in tears!! Love this quote from you “It’s easy to help until it gets messy. When helping interferes with my life, my schedule, my wants, then it gets a little messier than what I signed up for.”

    This is so me! When it gets messy and interferes with my wants – I’m done. Thank you for the amazing reminder that Jesus never called it quits on me!

    Thank you for being so real!!

    Merry Christmas,


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