Too Big of a Job to Handle

Staff at Catholic Family Services is always busy.  There are always clients to serve, needs to meet, and deadlines to reach.  This season, however, it just feels like there is too big of a job to handle.  In addition to all the normal “busyness” we have four major funding proposals to write, a site visit to prepare for, staffing transitions to make, and that little “name change” thing to address.  All good things, all important things, and all things that will, if done well, make us a strong and healthier organization as a result.

Is your life like this?

Are there so many good and important things (and people) making demands for your time that you wonder if you can meet them all?  Do you get up in the morning, look at your task list, and just feel overwhelmed?

There is a silver lining to this cloud and I found it last night while reading Romans, Chapter 4:4-9:

4If you’re a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don’t call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it—you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked—well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift.

David confirms this way of looking at it, saying that the one who trusts God to do the putting-everything-right without insisting on having a say in it is one fortunate man. (The Message)

Did you catch the message there?  When you are overwhelmed and feeling that you can’t accomplish what is set before you, take pause and put your trust in God to accomplish it.  Instead of running around, surrendering to the stress and trying to manage all the details, start your day on your knees.  Surrender to God — give him your daily task list and each challenge as you face it — and let him take the reins.

It doesn’t mean you don’t have work to do — that meeting must still be attended, food prepared, kids cared for, bills paid, and so much more.  It simply means you realize you can’t do it alone . . . and that you are asking for and welcoming His help.  And that trust and surrender will bring you closer to God than you ever have been before.

Having a full schedule isn’t ALL bad . . .

Project Connect . . . Reaching Out to Our Community

May 16th will be a special day for many people who need help in our community.  Community organizations which focus on all areas of life — housing, health care, education, employment, finances, food and more — are coming together.  These diverse organizations will all be in one place at one time to serve those in need in a comprehensive way.  This only happens twice a year . . . and it’s called Project Connect.  Staff from The Ark Services will be there, reaching out to youth and families in need!

What is Project Connect?  To learn more, click on the “Project Connect” graphic below!

From 12 PM to 4 PM on May 16th representatives from dozens of organizations will be at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds.  In addition to offering free help, these groups are offering any individual who attends free transportation to the event and free lunch.  Shuttles will operate from the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, Ministry with Community, and other stops throughout the community.

Services available include:

  • Basic Needs (birth certificates, library cards, mending, etc)
  • Services for Children and Parents (medical screenings, child development and growth, parenting skills, vaccines, The Ark, etc)
  • Education Services (college applications, GED preparation)
  • Employment Services (mock interviews, resume reviews)
  • Financial and Legal Services (credit repair, health insurance, legal advice)
  • Food (emergency food resources, DHS applications)
  • Health (blood pressure, blood sugar, diabetes, hearing, HIV, mental health, abuse and recovery)
  • Housing Resources (eviction and foreclosure prevention, home buyer education, housing information)
  • Services for Special Populations (DV, child abuse, disabilities, veterans)

If you or someone you know would like to attend, it may be helpful to bring the following with you:

  • Birth Certificate
  • State, school or prison ID
  • Voter Registration
  • Utility Bills
  • Proof of Income
  • Clothing to be repaired
  • Discharge papers
  • Immunization records
  • List of medications
  • Resume

If you have any questions or would like any additional information, please call 269-720-3721 or visit projectconnect@haltpoverty.org.

We hope to see you there!

 

Learning from Our Children

As a mother in the season deigned to celebrate mothers, I recently spent some time reflecting on the four lovely gifts God has given me.  Each of my children has their own personality, own gifts and talents, and own challenges.  I try to work patiently — and with much prayer — to shape them into the people God wants them to be . . . and in the process I learn so much from each other them.  In honor of Mother’s Day, I wish to share this story, written anonymously, but with so much insight and love.

We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly eating and talking.  Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, “Hi there.”  He pounded his fat baby hands on the high-chair tray. His eyes were wide with excitement and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin. He wriggled and giggled with merriment.  I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man with a tattered rag of a coat, dirty, greasy and worn. His pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would be shoes.  His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose, it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled.

His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists.  “Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster,” the man said to Erik.  My husband and I exchanged looks, “What do we do?”  Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby.

Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, “Do ya know patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek-a boo!”  Nobody thought the old man was cute.  He was obviously drunk.  My husband and I were embarrassed.  We ate in silence, all except for Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments.  We finally got through the meal and headed for the door.  My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between me and the door.

“Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik,” I prayed.  As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to side-step him and avoid any air he might be breathing.  As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby’s pick-me-up position.  Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man’s. Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love relationship.

Erik, in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man’s ragged shoulder.  The man’s eyes closed and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes.  His aged hands full of grime, pain and hard labor-gently, so gently cradled my baby’s bottom and stroked his back.  No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time.

I stood awestruck.

The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms for a moment, and then his eyes opened and set squarely on mine.  He said in a firm commanding voice, “You take care of this baby.”  Somehow I managed, “I will,” from a throat that contained a stone.  He pried Erik from his chest unwillingly, longingly, as though he were in pain.  I received my baby, and the man said, “God bless you, ma’am, you’ve given me my Christmas gift.”  I said nothing more than a muttered thanks.  With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car.

My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, “My God, my God, forgive me.”  I had just witnessed Christ’s love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment, a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes.

I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not.

I felt it was God asking….  “Are you willing to share your son for a moment?”, when He shared His for an eternity.
The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, “To enter the Kingdom of God, we must become as little children.”