Ellen watched her neighbor, Meg, deal with a volatile marriage. When reconciliation failed, Meg and her husband finally separated. With five children and no job, Meg's future was dim. Sometimes despair set in as Meg looked ahead to the responsibilities she had to face alone. Though Ellen cared for Meg, she was overwhelmed and, consequently, reluctant to serve her and her family.
Then a small group in Ellen's community decided to take Meg's family under their wing.
Members brought meals and took the family out to dinner. Others hired Meg's teenagers to baby-sit and spent quality time talking with them when they took them home. Members also included Meg's children in family events and created opportunities that would be fun for them. When Meg and her children needed to talk, the group members made themselves available and encouraged them as they faced life without their husband and father. And another group member helped Ellen land a job as a secretary at a nearby doctor's office
It was humbling for Ellen to see the group's actions—they went far beyond what she was willing to do on her own. Being involved in the day-in-day-out drama numbed Ellen's servant heart. However, when others jumped in to share the burden, Ellen was refreshed and able to give of herself more freely.