After the firestorms a few weeks ago, many of us have assisted friends and family with a place to stay, help with fire clean up and recovery efforts, or food, clothing and other necessities. Our county was in such crisis that nobody is untouched by its results. And here we are, on the eve of the holiday season – a time to celebrate what is most important in our lives – while many San Diegans face great personal loss and heartache.
And then there are the rest of us. We have been shaken by the crisis, but lost nothing. That was me during the firestorm. I sat in my house with my 5, 4 and 1 ½ year old girls who were home all week and unable to play outside or have their normal routine. While they were bickering over Barbies, I was trying not to feel useless. After the fear of fire left our immediate vicinity, I tried to maintain a routine – making meal after meal for the kids and hosting “mommy camp” for the week. Having been asked by Volunteer San Diego to wait until specific needs arose, I felt restless knowing so many outside my home were in crisis and I was refereeing crayon wars.
This is one of the biggest challenges for mothers of preschoolers – our sense of powerlessness in the world. We have so many needs to meet in our little ones that we start to resent the constant drain on our energy and how that affects our life outside home. We have all probably thought to ourselves at some point, “Why do I even have non-mom-related skills if I can’t use them?”
Jesus knows we struggle with this. Even during his lifetime people wondered where to invest their talents to serve God and others most. In the Bible, Jesus addressed this concern as he told his disciples about the end of time. He said God’s favor and joy will rest on those who serve others. No matter how trivial an act of service it seems to be at the time, He will say to us, “‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:40, italics mine).
As I read that, I felt empowered. What I did all week during the firestorm was as important to God as helping evacuees at Qualcomm stadium. God knows the gifts he’s given each of us moms – gifts we can use to benefit the community in powerful ways. But for now, for most of us, He’s given us a season of simple, daily service to our children and families. May we always find power in knowing it is exactly where we are called to be today, even while we’re always on the lookout for opportunities for tomorrow.