How to Help When You’re Feeling Helpless
How to Give Back with Simple Acts of Love in Action
Giving Back with Simple Acts of Love in Action for Moms During Tragic Times
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Friends across the states and around the globe, in many places near to our hearts through personal experience, are living through unbelievable horrors. Adding the weights of the world to our life as a mom can become unbelievably overwhelming.
But you see, it’s not all our burden to carry. When we try to pick up the whole weight, it will certainly sink us. Yet, when we reach out to do just one small thing, right where we are, the burden can lift.
This mom thing, it’s hard work. And at times, overwhelming on its own. We juggle diapers, dinner and drama. Car lines, cleaning, crying and coughs. Nap time, night time, and never enough time become our calendar. We can take one glimpse at the events around us and be torn between the paralyzing feeling of helplessness and the urge of wanting to help. We may pray, yet sit in the wonder of is it enough? How can I help? Will my small effort, which is all I can muster at this season of motherhood, even make a difference?
What are we to do as moms, when in the midst of tragedy, seemingly present in every corner of the globe, we feel helpless and hopeless? C.S. Lewis says this in his classic Letters of C.S. Lewis, “Of Course God does not consider you hopeless. If He did, He would not be moving you to seek Him (and He obviously is)... Continue seeking Him with seriousness. Unless He wanted you, you would not be wanting Him.”
Start by Seeking God
The answer to hopelessness is clear: seek God. Seek Him in every moment. Seek Him in the morning, seek Him in the evening. Seek Him in the diaper changes and dirty dishes, remembering you are serving your family. Seek Him on a walk at the park and the laughter of a child. Seek Him in sunsets and spilled milk and in His promises through a world of color in rainbows.
Seek Him through the stories of good happening in the midst of the tragedies all over the world. Seek Him through examples of the tangible love of Jesus being shared through hard-working hands and feet of first responders and volunteers. Pray to seek what He would have you do in the midst of such tragedies.
Real Stories of Moms Making a Difference
Even mamas with babies at home can make a huge difference with a vision God will send in your prayers as you seek Him.
Facebook for Diapers
Mother of seven and co-founder of Mission Minded Families, Ann Dunagan, shares this awesome story of one new mom making a big difference with a simple, small act. “Our daughter, Christi, was so moved by the needs of flood victims in Houston. Her husband was leading a mission team of 50 people to go help, but with two toddlers and being eight-months pregnant, Christi was not able to go. She quickly organized a diaper drive. With a simple Facebook video, friends gave to her PayPal account and within 24 hours, thousands of dollars came in that went all for diapers and formula for Houston flooding victims with babies. It was awesome!” In Ann’s illustrated children’s book, The Whole World Needs Jesus, she encourages, “We all have a part, so just lend a hand, till the message of Jesus has reached every land." What an incredible, tangible act of faith in action from a young mom!
Lightening the Load(s)
Another friend, Jennifer Buffard, mother of two small boys, and resident of Houston who was spared any flood damage was compelled to help in a rather unusual, but necessary, way! Here’s Jennifer’s facebook post just days after the floods: “Friends who live outside of Texas! Live far away but want to help Houston??!! We need you and you are useful right where you are! If you are able, can you please place an order for natural laundry detergent to ship here. We need to start washing some clothes. Lots of clothes.”
She got together with some friends from her church and began assigning flooded streets to non-flooded friends to help with the laundry cleanup. The laundry soap began flooding in, and the cleanup of hearts, linens and homes began. She said on her post picture with a load of clean laundry, "Cleaning up flood clothes, returning them with no spot or blemish because that's what Christ has done for us!"
I asked Jennifer what motivated her to create the laundry drive and she excitedly replied, "More than the extra laundry loads added on top of yours, more than making an extra plate to share tonight's dinner, more than the free babysitting while the parents work on rebuilding their homes....YOU ARE THE MORE! You, being present in someone's life, is the 'more' that is needed during tragedy. How is this so you ask? Because giving is not a lost art during tragedy. One-on-one personal relationships with strangers is what is needed. YOU are more than enough."
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Feed the Hungry
With the hurricanes so deeply impacting the region where I live and our neighboring Caribbean islands, I was compelled to collect food and supplies to be distributed where they were needed most. With a simple post on Facebook and mention to a few friends at church, over one hundred pounds of food was collected in my mini-van and directly given to our local migrant-worker community who all lost power, and therefore all their food, for over a week.
Additionally, a dear friend and Pastor of Sin City Church in Las Vegas, a city affected by their own tragedy, sent over 900 pairs of new socks which have been given to the local branch of Missionary Flights International for distribution to the most devastated islands.
Journal Your Hurts
While living in Las Vegas for eight years, I built some lifetime friendships. One is a fellow writer, De. She penned these words after the recent Vegas shootings, “Last Sunday night, October 1st, something unimaginable happened here in Las Vegas. My kids’ school, our church and our little Henderson community have been significantly impacted. But in the past eight days, I have watched my city come together in miraculous ways. Blood bank lines wrapped around the corner. Our churches reaching out to victims and their families, first responders and hospitals and their families, and anyone affected by that terrible night. A memorial park built in just four days. People are visiting the Strip to look at crosses. We have mourned and we have prayed. We are still mourning, and still praying. But there is always, always hope.”
And this touching poem:
My City is aching.
It’s taking one breath
at a time, holding love
at center and knowing
My City is reeling,
kneeling. Begging for healing
and a glimpse of
something that just
might be Light.
Name us: Grace,
Take a Reset
In a world inundated with media, sometimes it's a great idea to mute the noise, and connect with people in your communities face to face instead of on Facebook. Take a literal RESET and use the tragedy all around to propel yourself and those in your life closer to the Lord. By all means, pray. Pray to see what is your role in your community? Pray that your social media accounts become beacons of help and hope. Hit like and share on helpful, hopeful things, my friend.
Ten Simple Ways You Can Help when You Feel Helpless
- Pray. Pray. Pray. Then act on your faith.
- Send funds to organizations on the front lines like Samaritan’s Purse , the Salvation Army, your local church’s crisis fund or Missionary Flights International.
- Create a social media campaign for or with something you are passionate about. The founders at Trekaroo.com, LiLing and Brennan Pang, were moved by the California fires to lead by example, sharing videos of serving their community and giving back, encouraging others to do the same by creating the #DoOneThing campaign.
- Give blood. Our Babywise.Life editor, Sami Cone, was a blood donor when Irma headed to her mom’s home state of Florida.
- Start a collection of funds, food, or something else. USA Today reported that one mom from Missouri donated over 1,000 ounces of breastmilk to flood victims after Hurricane Harvey, and even drove it there herself.
- Raise money for partnering with your local church initiatives.
- Volunteer as a family at a local food bank, homeless shelter, or community cleanup event.
- Help at an elderly home.
- Serve at your church.
- Read to children at the library.
Wherever you choose to be love in action, get creative! Lighten the burden by using your unique gifts, talents and abilities to impact the globe, one community at a time, even with a baby in tow.
Billy Graham's ministry encourages us with this, "Meditate on what God says in these promises from Scripture and find lasting hope amid a world that can feel hopeless."
And, of course, seek Him and take Him at His word. It's full of His promises to help in times of trouble.
May you feel His presence, singing over you while you sing lullabies to your babies, and may it inspire you to bring help and hope to a disheartened, hopeless world.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. -Psalm 147:3
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. -Psalm 46:1