Serving as a Family

I went from being in three book studies and reading The Book of Joy, to taking a big break from all of it.  It wasn’t planned.  It is just life and it turns out my brain needed a mental break and a chance to read for fun.  However, I was just looking over my last post and I have been inspired to start up again.  Maybe not this week, but next week or at least when things get back to normal after spring break.  There is something very soothing about having a routine.  I like to wake up do a bit of stretching or yoga and read a passage from the bible and then move on to a book study for the first part of my day.  I just feel better, calmer.  However, my husband has been working a crazy schedule and my body just can’t get in sync.  I am just tired… always… and the super early alarm is not helping.

A few Sundays ago, my family and I ventured to Beautiful Feet Ministries in Fort Worth. I contacted them ahead of time, like it says on the website, if you are going to have a party larger than 5.  I was told they start serving at 6:45 a.m. on Sunday and that was all the information I had.  That was different from what was on the website, so I was all sorts of nervous that we were going to arrive too early. I didn’t know where to park, what we were doing, how long we would be there.  You know all that normal stuff, you normally know.  

It makes me anxious when the kids ask 3 million questions and I don’t have the answers.  I also worry that I am making a bad choice, or it will be a terrible experience for them.  I basically worry too much.  But, I didn’t let that stop our family from trying something new. Plus, my husband is good at telling me not to worry so much, the kids will be fine.  

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of volunteer opportunities where you can go with your entire family, so this was one I came across.  I have heard of Beautiful Feet for years from the two previous churches I attended.  So, that did make me feel better.  I didn’t just pull up some random website.  

When we arrived, parking was confusing.  We saw that everything was surrounded by gates.  My husband saw a group of people walking across the street with name tags on, so he just rolled down a window and asked.  They were from a church a few hours away.  They just left the gate open for us and we parked behind them.  Of course, later we find out this is not where we were supposed to be.  But oh well, we are parked.  Bonus, these people seem to know where they are walking.  We were clueless.  We just followed behind them and walked all the way around the building and went inside.  The nice lady I sent the email to was there and she printed us all off name tags.  She then told us that the volunteer worship service was going to start at 7.  Actually, I thought she said 8, so I was quite confused about what we were going to do for the next hour.  I thought my kids were going to be quite angry that we woke them up so early and that they could have slept for another hour. Again, my husband said don’t worry they will be find.

The worship service was brief, the church that was there sang a few songs.  And then it was time to form three circles and pray for the day.  They actually went around and had everyone pray. I was there with four kids.  Four kids that have never prayed in the middle of a group of adult strangers.  And guess what, they actually did it!  My husband wanted to jump in and save them, but I am glad he didn’t.  They each spoke for less than 30 seconds, but man what an experience for them.  They all told us later they were so nervous!  Our little chatterbox even tried to run off before it was her time to go to the bathroom.  I told her she could wait and go after she prayed and she said but that is why I was going, I am nervous.  They certainly overcame a fear that morning!  

After the service was over they fed us breakfast.  Um yum!  And then it was time to divide up and help somewhere.  Our oldest two girls went to help write name tags for the homeless.  The guys went to help out in the kitchen.  Our youngest, of course, wanted to help out in the clothes closet.  I mean come on, anything to do with fashion is right where she wants to be, and I went with her.  Again, we were clueless.  We didn’t know where to go, or what to do.  We were the only family there and the only new people.  Man, they put us to work for the next 4 hours!  The time flew by and we all left exhausted.  We even got to eat some yummy freshly fried chicken legs and some homemade dessert before we left.  I don’t think I have been so tired in a long time.  It was like the first week of back to school  teacher tired.  

Afterwards,  I thought we were going to end up with a car full of complainers about how many hours we had been there.  Nope, wrong again.  We ended up with a car full of kids wondering when we would be going back.  They actually had very little interaction with the homeless, just a few smiles, and handing them a few items.  Instead, they spend 4 hours working hard and being praised for their actions by fellow volunteers.  They knew they were making a difference.  Even if it was just pulling clothes and putting them in a sack, or reorganizing an entire freezer.  They want to go back, they were asking the regular volunteers what weeks they were there, so that we can go back and be around the same people.  Wow.  They want to wake up at 6am another Sunday morning and go serve.  I just couldn’t/ still can’t believe it.  So, after all my worrying, it turned out great!  We will definitely go back again in the next month or two.  I am completely proud of our kids and my husband.  

April 12, 2022 — Brandi McDonald

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