James 1:27: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
I’ve been a widow for 13 months now and that title is still rough on my ears. During this time I’ve managed to keep moving forward in ways that have made those closest to me cheer encouragingly. But I’ve also needed the support of those around me often. I haven’t been able to do this alone.
Today my church stepped up to fulfill the definition of pure and faultless religion as outlined in James and once again help me move forward.
I love my church. Fountain Springs Community Church in Rapid City, South Dakota has recently been named the 14th fastest growing church in America across all denominations. I can tell you why I think that is. Their basic mission is to show people who Jesus is. They do this by being genuine and by encouraging each person involved to reach out to the world around us in tangible ways. One of their ministries is to help with projects for those in our community in need. This Saturday it was me.
I contacted my pastor’s wife, my sweet friend Katy. I asked if the small project of putting up shelves in my garage was something anyone could help me with. It was hard to ask. This long after his death, asking for help is hard. I probably could have done this project, to be honest. I told her that. But it would have taken me days or even a few weeks to get the supplies, figure out the tools, and pray I installed them right.
She thanked me for asking, for letting them help me. She thanked me for being brave enough to reach out for help. It made me cry. The servant’s heart displayed by Katy is contagious. I can see why she is able to get so many to give of their time and talents. Her enthusiasm is infectious!
Today four great guys from church came over and in a matter of hours helped clear a space, cut materials, put up shelves, and help me rearrange the chaos of my garage into manageable piles. I still can’t park in there. But things I know I won’t need soon are off the floor. My late-husband’s motorcycle is safely off to one side and covered with a furniture pad. What remains in the center of the room are boxes I can now sort, unpack, or donate their contents.
In short—it isn’t an overwhelming, chaotic mess that makes me want to cry every time I walk out there. While it may not look much improved to the casual observer, this is moving mess I can work with. What is too emotional to handle can be shelved—literally—until the kids are ready to part with it or I’m ready to deal with it.
Today four guys from my church were the love of Jesus to me. And it helped me as I continue to make this new place a home the kids and I can enjoy. Today my heart is thankful for my church.