My life has been defined by big moments, as most lives have. I have experienced many things from huge hope to devastating disappointment. Life is funny how it cycles, but there is a new experience that struck me on November 9, 2015. STRESSFUL BLESSINGS. Sounds crazy to label blessings as stressful, but hey if the label fits…
Our church hosts an afterschool program called “The Bounce that Counts” or more simply, “Bounce”. It is a program that allows kids the opportunity to get homework help, play games with schoolmates, enjoy a snack and listen to a short Bible Lesson. We have been hosting it since November 2013. This November’s installment of Bounce is the beginning of the 3rd year for this program. In years past the highest attendance we ever had was 57. You should know that we were happy with 57. We were comfortable with 57. We were prepared for 57, but on Monday, November 9th, that all changed.
As usual, I got the registration forms from the school the Monday before the first Bounce day. I got the stack, and had the brief thought that it felt thick. As I arrived back in my office and began to enter them into the computer, my brow started to sweat. The list of kids’ names went on and on. In the 1st-3rd there were over 20 registered in each grade. I was already over 60 and I hadn’t even touched the oldest 2 grades.
Immediately, I begin to panic. I realize we need more snacks and juice boxes. We need more volunteers and an EXTREME overhaul on the schedule. I began to imagine how this will fail.
My next thought was: I CAN’T EVEN.
I couldn’t comprehend the registered 86 kids on that Monday. Or the 6 that added through Tuesday. And yet, by Thursday we had 98. That’s right 98. Only 5 of those 98 are attendees of our church.
I mean seriously, what do you even do with nearly 100 kids? How do we fit 98 in our church afterschool program that originally seemed full at 57. How do you meet the needs of the 98? We maybe couldn’t fulfill all of their needs, but we could pour out love. We could let them know that they are loved while we try and not freak out over the sheer multitude of children.
The 98 were my stressful blessings. I knew that we could reach people and families through loving their kids, but who knew we would reach THAT many?!? We almost doubled in registered kids and it was beyond stressful that first day. Everything was an experiment especially the schedule.
But I can honestly testify to Philippians 4:6-7:“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
As I sat anxiously at my desk on Tuesday a mere hour before the kids arrived, I broke down in prayer. I had to pray that God would direct me as I direct the volunteers and kids. I had to give it all to God, because my brain couldn’t fully comprehend all the needs. But as I prayed, God gave me an all-encompassing peace about it. Don’t get me wrong, there were 79 kids here on the first day, so there wasn’t a lot of silence, but there was a peace that overcame.
Sometimes blessings aren’t what we think they should be. Sometimes blessings are stressful, because they are out of an abundance that God is giving. Sometimes blessings are the exact stressor we need.
Comfort zones are not something that God wants us to get stuck in. God wants to continue to stretch and grow us. He wants us to continue to strive to reach all of our neighbors for His glory, not ours. The Creator of the Universe wants us to be content with being prodded by the Holy Spirit.
God is still in the miracle business, so don’t block the way. Allow God to bless you with more than you think you need.
Don’t let a stressful blessing be a blockade. Let stressful blessings be building blocks for what God has in store. Let God bless you, don’t let the world stress you! Romans 8:28 promised us this, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God is working for our good, even when we can’t see it. Allow God to do great works in you and through you, especially if His blessing is stressing… it just means He has good things in store!