31 STORIES OF FAITH ADVENTURES
DAY 22: Route
At the beginning of the summer 2012, I had the opportunity to start my own Citychurch bike route. I had supporting my husband’s route for 4 years, but committing to lead a route was something new.
A few things scared me about taking on this role.
- I would have to pull a trailer.
- I would have to be there three days a week for a couple hours a day all summer long. (There are no lunches delivered on Fridays, and on Mondays, the children on my route are picked up and brought to Citychurch Park for a day camp Bible Club.)
- I had a toddler boy at the time. What would I do with him?
- I would be the only girl leading a route. How would I get past my insecurities?
Despite my fears, I agreed to take on this role as the Mary Hazelrigg neighborhood bike route minister.
As hard as it is for me to believe that I stepped out and took on that role. It is even harder for me to believe that I have completed 4 years as the lady who pulls a trailer with lunches in the Mary Hazelrigg neighborhood.
For the past four years, I’ve delivered about 70 lunches a day to kids in this neighborhood. I’ve built relationships with the families in the downtown neighborhood around Mary Hazelrigg park.
I’ve stepped out in many ways during those afternoon rides. Many aspects of leadership do not come naturally for me. Taking groups of strangers with me almost everyday is not easy. Me leading that group of volunteers is unnatural. I have to get them through the route safe. I have to give them clear instructions of where to go, and what to do. It has gotten easier for me over the years, but the actual leading is always a struggle.
The other way I have had to step out of my comfort zone is the spiritual encounters that happen. I have been lead by the spirit to stop and pray for people. I have been confronted by homeless men and women asking for handouts. My response to them sometimes includes food (I have to use discernment), but it always includes prayer. I’ve arrived at houses where grief of a lost loved one is fresh; I’ve shared words of hope and prayer in those situations. I’ve encountered times when I sense that there are things I should share spiritually with either a home or a volunteer, I’ve done my best to take those opportunities.
Just the physical act of riding a bike with a trailer pushes me out of my comfort zone. I don’t consider myself physically fit. I’ve never been the athletic type. I will chose books over physical activity almost every time.
I feel uncomfortable in that bike seat knowing that I am a home school mom with an above average body mass. I can’t even think about what I look like in that position. If I do, I want to crawl under a rock.
Luckily, it is not about me. The route is about the children. God gives me that privilege of doing his work, feeding children, all summer long. I am also building up the church in these moments. I’m a representative of my church and the global body of Christ telling these children that the church cares about them. We care enough to be out on a bike in the hot sun. We care enough to come to them, right at their door. We care enough to look them in the eye, ask how they are, and listen to their answer. We care enough to offer to bring them to our church or to keep feeding them even if their parents refuse to allow them to attend.
God has rarely asked me to do something that I’m good at. He almost always gives me opportunities to serve Him from a place of weakness. Taking on the bike ministry and leading a route is the best example of ministry from the point of weakness in my life.
God has used my efforts. All throughout the summer I hear volunteers say different versions of this statement, “I didn’t think I could ride on a bike route, but I heard your route is easy. I’m glad I tried it. This is fun.”
The namesake of my neighborhood, Mary Hazelrigg, knew something about serving from a place of weakness. At the age of 60 she retired from her city of Amarillo janitorial job. She knew that God wasn’t finished with her yet. At 65, she began a Christmas ministry to underprivileged children in North Heights area of Amarillo, the area just north of the neighborhood I minister in. The first party benefitted about twelve children, but God began to multiply her efforts. Even when 700 children would attend, the parties were still held in Mrs. Hazelrigg’s home. God used Mary to organize community events, establish community centers and the park that now holds her name. In 1982, Mary received the honor of being named Amarillo Woman of the Year. She was honored by many organizations for her work with children, her church, and the Amarillo community.
The year I moved to Amarillo, the park in the center of the neighborhood I now serve in, was named Mary Hazelrigg Park in her honor.
Although Mrs. Hazelrigg died six years before I moved to Amarillo, I would like to think we would have been great friends.
My heart echos her heart for children. My passion for serving the Lord was so similar to her own. And weakness never stopped Mary from stepping out to serve.
I love this quote from a 1972 Amarillo Globe News interview from Mrs. Hazelrigg, “I’m just crazy about children, and I saw so much need in our neighborhood and thought I could do something to help the children out.”
It’s almost like she took the words out of my mouth.
Mary never had a pile of money in her bank account that she could draw from to provide Christmas for 700 children. I will never impress anyone with my cycling skills.
Sometimes we want to serve God with something we already have together, something that looks good and pleasing, with a bow on it.
This is exactly what Cain did when he prepared his sacrifice to God from the best of his horticulture work grown from the ground. God had no regard for this sacrifice.
When God invites us into His work, we might not think what we have to offer is significant. But that is the point. We can serve Him best by allowing God to fill our empty vessel, instead of offering a full one.
I love music, and I like to share a song with each blog post. Sometimes on YouTube, you take a chance and click on a bedroom studio recording. Instead of something mediocre, you find amazing talent. This is absolutely beautiful and brought me to tears.