… and it will be given

I just wasn’t feeling it.

Overflowing cup - Luke 6:38It had been a long day in the middle of a very full week. Youth group loomed on the calendar horizon, an unwelcome commitment on this particular Wednesday. As an introvert, large group gatherings tap everything in me, so going ‘empty’ isn’t a great way to begin an evening of ministry. And 60 middle and high schoolers (whom I’ve come to genuinely adore) are a tougher crowd than most.

I’d love to tell you that I prayed for God to enable me to pour into those adolescent lives for two hours last night. I should have. Sadly, the thought didn’t even cross my mind. Instead, I relied on my temperament to get me there: I don’t flake on commitments. During the “free” time, I moved a bit aimlessly through the various circles of students, checking in verbally but never truly engaging in more than a few moments of conversation. My heart wasn’t in it.

Finally the lights dimmed and the guitar strummed. Internally, I was clamoring for a few quiet moments of solitude… even if it was in a full room. We began to sing and it finally occurred to me to ask God to fill me and enable me to give myself fully to His work that night. I sat down to pray and closed my eyes.

Moments later, I felt the warmth of a hand on my left shoulder. And then another on my right.

I sat.

I prayed.

The hands stayed, pressed into my back in solidarity. The fingers occasionally tapped to the beat of “One Thirst” — a Morse code message of the lyrics to my heart.

The hands stayed.

Tears fell.

My tears weren’t sadness, frustration or even fatigue. They were a distilled mixture of humility and delight, brought forth by the beauty of God’s blessing: that those to whom I’d come to minister were instead His chosen instrument to minister to me in that moment. We cannot out-give God. Luke 6-38 NLTWe don’t give in order to receive, but we can be certain that our offerings — of time, love and forgiveness — will be multiplied to abundance by His divine orchestration. 

Lifted in heart, I rose again to my feet, in gratitude for the filling of the Spirit as channeled through the hearts and palms of young men courageous enough to reach into my life. The time later spent with my small group of sixth grade girls was among the richest we’ve ever had.

What a gift I would have missed if I’d stayed home.

How has God blessed you when you intended to be the ‘giver’?
Tell me in the comments below.

Please share:

Please share:
    • Diane Vander Pol Majeska via Facebook

      Kirsten, that was beautifully articulated. So, many moms feel this. And to think, like you said, what you may have missed if you didn’t go. Thanks for the reminder and honesty.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kim.whelan.7 Kim Whelan via Facebook

      Simply beautiful, and what my heart needed to hear.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kirsten828 Kirsten Holmberg 8|28 via Facebook

      Thanks for your comments, Diane and Kim — it’s so encouraging to know that you connected with it. (And I appreciate all those ‘likes’, too — they let me know you’re out there nodding along with me!)

    • http://susanstilwell.com Susan Stilwell

      I confess that I feel that way a lot these days, Kirsten. It’s such a hard road for our family these days, and I seem to always drag myself to the nursing home to visit mom. I sense His presence while I’m there and He gives me strength, but it’s exhausting nonetheless. I have a new appreciation for people who care for the elderly.

      • Kirsten

        Will pray that He replenishes your energy, Susan. Press on!

    • Cindy

      Kirsten,
      Even for someone who is considered more of an extrovert, I long for those times of solitude. I get so crazy busy with all the different hats I wear that I sometimes forget to put on the one entitled “daughter of the King” and sit at His feet and just be quiet. I do my Bible studies and read my devotions but I forget to be still and … . I’ve started scheduling my times for this and though they aren’t as often as I would like, they are a balm to my soul. Thank you for your transparency and your vulnerability. It helps me examine my heart and motives just a little bit more.

      • Kirsten

        I like that you’ve scheduled it, Cindy — if we don’t ‘block’ that time with the Lord, we end up depleted whether we’re introverts or extraverts. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    • http://www.avanorling.com Ava

      Love your transparency, friend.

      • Kirsten

        Something I know you value so highly — that comment is welcome affirmation. :-)

    • http://www.hesterchristensen.com Hester Christensen

      Great post Kirsten, ;)

      bless you,

      • Kirsten

        I love knowing you’re out there reading along, Hester! Thanks for stopping in and saying so.

    • http://dermagal.com Stephanie Cirrito

      Amazing, thank you for sharing!

      • Kirsten

        I’ll wager you’ve got similar stories, Steph — tell us!

    • Margot Duvall

      Just beautiful. God is so good.

      • Kirsten

        He IS good, isn’t He, Margot? I think that’s one of the reasons we all need to share our stores… it reminds us of His faithfulness. Thanks for taking time to respond — such an encouragement to a writer to know someone’s out there!

    • http://www.uptoknowgood.com Sara

      I feel refreshed reading this. So often I am reluctant to play with my four year old, but whenever I do, she blesses me. She easily dances between reality and imagination, talking and singing, and conversation with me and prayers to God. The time I think I’ll be giving to her truly does fill me. Thank you for this post. Blessings to you!

      • Kirsten

        Such a perfect example, Sara — we think it’s a gift to someone else but God, in His sovereign mastery, can bless us with it instead. I love that. And I appreciate your taking the time to say hello. :-)

    • Lisa Caulfield

      Beautiful, Kirsten. Thanks for sharing.

      • Kirsten

        Thank YOU, Lisa.