Every man according as he purposeth in his heart,
so let him give;
not grudgingly, or of necessity:
for God loveth a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7-8
I’ve been thinking a lot about the seasons of womanhood and motherhood, and it got me thinking about a certain friend of mine who always seems to be helping me out, but who never seems to need my help.
I thought back to when my second child was born, and I was suddenly the mother of a barely 2-year-old and a brand new baby. I didn't do much of anything. I barely cleaned the house, and I mostly just sat around reading books, nursing, and sitting with my kids on the trampoline while V jumped around merrily, and J nursed merrily. There were a lot of days when my friend would have V over for a play date so I could stay home and rest with J (one particular time was when I had a nasty infection, and I just needed to sleep and nurse).
I remember thinking about how badly I wanted to repay my friend, but it never seemed like she needed anything from me (she still seems that way to me - we are still very good friends, and it always seems like she takes care of me more than I take care of her).
After several months of this friend helping me with absolutely no way to "pay her back" I realized that this life is not about "getting even" with people who help us. It's about using our resources to help those we can help, and accepting help from those with resources to help us. As the scripture I quoted above says, God will make “all grace abound toward” us (send us people to help us out) so that we will have sufficient for our needs, and we will be able to help others and do good things. He doesn’t say “that ye will be able to serve them that have served you in the same capacity in which they have served you.”
And so I decided that I was going to "pay it forward" and help anyone I had resources to help.
I have since had many experiences where a friend has said the same thing to me. "I feel like you help me so much, but I have nothing to give in return!" And I gently explain to them, "You don't need to feel like you need to repay me for the things I do to help you. Some day you will be in a position to help someone, so just help them.”
I am at a period in my life when I am able to help a lot of people while not needing much help myself. I am in a relatively emotionally stable state, my children are a little older, and my husband has a really good, stable job. I have lots that I can give, emotionally, spiritually, and temporally. But I know that my life won’t always be that way, and there will be times when I will have to accept help, emotionally, spiritually, and temporally.
Have you ever felt like you needed to “pay back” someone who had helped you, but realized that they didn’t have any needs you could fill? How do you “pay it forward” when you are shown grace and kindness by others?