Years ago I remember seeing the emails in my inbox from our church about providing meals for members of my church family. Back then, a small wave of panic would was over me.
I wanted to serve but the task of adding something to my already full plate left me feeling overwhelmed. My worst enemy (me) would justify my reasons not to sign up. I would tell myself things like: You are not the best cook and you are just too busy.
Years have passed from those days of insecurity and self justification and I now have had four c-sections in under a five year period.
I now know the great blessing of a homemade meal to a mother in need.
Over the years I have not transformed into Ina Garten and with four littles I am busier than ever but I have realized that the needs of a new mother or a sick mother are greater than my insecurites about my cooking or how busy I think I am.
Here is what is working for me.
I cook what I know. I have a recipe for chicken salad and I can make it in my sleep. It is easy and delicious, filled with fruit and our family can eat it for days on sandwich rolls, tortillas or crackers.
I cook what I can double or even triple. My family has to eat too so I just double the recipe and divide the chicken salad into two family sized portions. If there are two families in our church needing meals I always sign up to bring them meals on the same day. If I can double the recipe it is no big deal to triple it either.
I never ask for anything back. If you have ever been a new mom you know the details of thank you notes and returning items from church brought meals seem to only cross your mind during the middle of the night while you are awake with a newborn.
I have been a new mom too so I include a “no thank you note” disclaimer. The omission of the thank you note and the freedom to not worry about returning my Tupperware become part of the gift. I believe new moms should take the time spent on writing me a thank you note either holding their new precious babe, surviving or sleeping.
I have recently drafted this little note to attach to my “meal bags”
Upon eating this food you are agreeing to the following terms.
You will not return any returnable items in this bag or the bag itself but instead pay it forward by reusing the items next time you bring someone a meal.
You may absolutely not write a thank you note. This gift is an expression of me using my gifts for the glory of God. Instead of a note thank God in your prayers tonight. Thank you notes praise (wo)men, prayers praise the Only One worthy of praise.
If you love it, steal it!
Make serving others more simple. The needs of a new mother or a sick friend are so much greater than our (sometimes) perfectionist expectations.