James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above…”
In 2012, God gave me one of the greatest gifts, a sweet baby girl. Looking back to that early April morning, I realize that I had no idea what the next several years would hold. I remember holding that tiny baby in my arms with tears running down my cheeks in awe that God would choose me and my husband to nurture and care for this enormous responsibility while at the same time thinking “how are we ever going to do this?”. The next few days were a blissful blur of snuggles, sleepless nights and learning. Some days and weeks felt long, yet were the very best of times. No amount of reading ahead of time, asking advice from friends, or seeking wisdom from parents can prepare you for parenting. Does it help? Of course, but there is so much you just have to figure out. It was then that I came to realize the truth in the saying “it takes a village”.
The support system that showed up to bless our family was overwhelming. Meals were made for us and dropped off on our front porch, family came by at all hours of the day to give our arms a rest and allowed us to close our eyes for a quick nap, and friends called and sent messages to check in and make those long days feel a little shorter. Our family was covered in prayer and we felt that extra measure of grace and strength that only God can provide. The first year of parenting would have felt much longer without all of those special people in our lives.
Not too much longer after that first year we found ourselves expecting again, but God chose a different outcome this time for our family. One morning during the 14th week of my pregnancy, I woke up to very strong contractions. I knew immediately that I was going into labor. That afternoon I delivered our second sweet baby girl who went straight to the loving arms of our Lord and Savior. To say we were devastated is an understatement. Our hearts were broken and we didn’t know why God had chosen this path for our family. But once again our “village” showed up in such a big way. Meals began showing up on our doorstep again, friends and family gave up their time and shoulders to cry on, God was faithful and gave us the strength to keep pressing on, and once again we were covered in sweet prayers that provided nourishment to our hearts and souls. With time came healing and we were reminded that God’s comfort is so readily available if we are willing and ready to accept it.
A few months later God sent our rainbow baby and in 2014 our precious baby boy was born to fill our hearts again. Then in 2016, another perfect gift from above was sent to our family. A sweet baby girl completed our family in such a beautiful way. And guess what? Our “village” showed up EACH and EVERY time! We still to this day have so much gratitude and love for each person that touched our family during all of those times.
But one day I was just overwhelmed with the thought that not all first time parents receive that amazing support system. God was showing me just how blessed we had been and was beginning to soften my heart by laying a heaviness there for new moms who face very similar situations alone. I began praying for God to show me opportunities to help these moms and He led me to Mercy Ministries. I learned that Mercy was serving as that “village” to the people in the city of Reading and beyond and I knew I wanted to be part of that. Mercy was meeting the needs of moms, dads and families in a way that showed the love of Christ to those who walked through their doors. Each client was prayed for and over, provided with supplies, and given the tools to have a great beginning to the journey of parenting. I saw how a small group of women who volunteered their time were making such a huge impact on all these lives. When we humble ourselves before God and allow him to use us in the way he chooses, BIG things happen. Women came to know the Lord, their needs were met and their village was forming. I pray that God continues to use Mercy Ministries to shine His light into the community for years and years to come.
My encouragement for each of you today is to seek ways to be a “village” to those around you. You may not know of a new mom that needs help, but maybe a neighbor who just might need a smile or some encouragement. My prayer for you is that God uses you to take advantage of every opportunity He sends your way so that you can find the joys of being the hands and feet of Christ to those around you! You never know who may come alongside you to join your village and how the small seeds you are planting can touch a life forever.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…”
By Kelly Kidd
Vice President of Mercy Board of Directors