Hard Weeks and Encouragement

Last week was a special type of crazy, being the first time Hope has had a VBS.  Even with the ratio of nine adults to thirteen kids, it was exhausting.  Most days after that, I biked across town to Crumble and worked for five or six hours, manning the shop throughout the afternoon and shutting down the machines and cleaning everything to close it all up for the night.  Three evenings of the week were spent babysitting.

Also, I got a terrible cold halfway through the week.

Does this sound like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day yet?

It wasn't.

It was actually a wonderful week (although I was relieved when it was done, and I'm in no hurry to repeat it!)  It was a challenging, stretching, draining week that was packed full of laughter, friends, ridiculousness and opportunities to grow relationships.

It was also full of encouragement.

The evening after the first day of VBS, my phone kept buzzing and buzzing, with moms of some of the kids who were attending sending group messages to everyone who was helping out, telling us that their kids had been talking about it all day and were excited to come back the next day.  Another of my friends texted to offer to let me snuggle with her new baby.  Half way through the week, an out-of-town mom from my church sent me a message asking how it was going, ending with, "I know you're doing a fabulous job."

Partway through the week, when my batteries were feeling drained, I'd be walking my bike up hills to get to work, remembering how one friend had phrased it:  "Hang in there! You are giving so much to so many this week!"

I was blessed to be able to be a part of everything that I did last week.  I'm deeply grateful for the place I'm in right now that enables me to invest in the kids and young families at my church, for the friendships that are growing out of that and for all that I'm learning from them.  But it is hard.  Some weeks there's an enormous outlay of time and emotional energy.  Sometimes it's hard to give gladly and not be frustrated at being asked again to babysit.  Always, it's challenging to set wise and loving boundaries and choose what opportunities to say yes to and when to say no.

And the encouragement of friends?

It goes a great way in lifting burdens.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. (Proverbs 25:11)


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