So I’ve been thinking about this whole Bundle Up thing a lot lately. Maybe it’s because my family room is literally covered in hats and blankets and scarves, or maybe it’s because we’re getting really excited about our trip to deliver them, or maybe it’s because my hands are sore from tying knots on blankets—I’m not sure—but I’m starting to sense a much greater purpose here.
What started as an idea has quickly snowballed into a full-fledged campaign. We have nearly 300 likes on our FB page—most of which are from complete strangers. We have received donations of supplies or items made or money from people in 10 different states. We’ve had people ask us if they can start local chapters of the Bundle Up Club in their communities so they can assist in our efforts. We have radio and newspaper interviews scheduled. And I’m just going to be honest—it’s scary. Really scary. I don’t know how to run this kind of operation.
When we started back in May, I just wanted to support my daughters; I didn’t realize God would take the idea of a tender-hearted girl and turn it into an actual ministry. But that’s what it is. We’ve had to manage funds and buy supplies and figure out logistics and plan fundraisers and get supporters and ask for helpers. We pray over the items we make. We’ve made sacrifices; we’ve put a lot of time and effort and hard work into this. To us, it’s not just some cute little idea—it’s a calling. And although we’ve received a lot of support, we’ve received some criticism too. We’ve had our motives questioned and our methods condemned. We’ve had people tell us we’re not doing it right.
When God gives you a job to do, He doesn’t promise it will be easy or comfortable or that everyone will like it or that you won’t be afraid, but He will give you what you need to do it. And He has. Because of the help and support we’ve received, we’re going to be able to touch the lives of at least 100 homeless people with our current project. And, He’s already blessed us with a second opportunity we will be starting on as soon as we get back from delivering these items. We don’t plan on stopping after that either. We’re going to find somewhere else we can serve when that one’s done. Because guess what? This thing isn’t about us. It’s about Jesus.
Maybe it doesn’t seem like it to you. Maybe you don’t think knitting, crocheting, and tying hats and scarves and blankets is about Jesus. But it is to us. Why? Because it gives us the opportunity to meet people we’d otherwise never come in contact with. Because it creates a way for us to not only meet a physical need, but a spiritual one as well. Because when someone finds out we’ve taken up our time and energy making something for them, they might understand we really care, and when they know we really care, they might let us pray for them or introduce them to Jesus.
That’s the whole point.
I can’t keep worrying about who understands that and who doesn’t. I don’t have to answer to people who say we’re not doing enough or doing it right—they didn’t give us this vision. I’m not trying to be rude, I’ve just come to an understanding.
This project has made me realize a lot about myself and my motives. I want to be a better person. I want to be a better representative of Jesus. And that means I have to change. Some people will like it and some people won’t. Some people will help out and some people won’t. Some of it will be easy and some of it won’t. But at the end of the day, I don’t answer for people; I answer for me. Jesus doesn’t call us to a life of comfort and complacency; He calls us to a life of work and servitude. So here’s what I’m reminding myself of today, and maybe you need the reminder too:
When God puts a burden or desire in your heart to do something, do it. Don’t wait. Do what you can where you are with what you have. When you step out in faith and obedience to His directives He will bless you. He will give you what you need (emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally, financially, and any other –ly you can think of) to complete the task.
You will probably be surprised by whom your supporters are and are not. People I thought would care or jump on board and help out (including some family members and close friends) have not responded to us at all. Conversely, there are those who I thought would have no interest and those who have no connection to us whatsoever who have donated to our cause. But the point is this—you don’t need to wait for validation or approval or support from other people to do the work God wants you to do. You may never get it. God is the only One who has the authority to endorse you and your vision. Just start. He will provide what you need to accomplish your goal. And once He does start providing, don’t focus on where or who the support comes from. Keep your efforts centered on the task and the God who gave it to you.
Want to become more grateful for the things you have and less concerned with the things you don’t? Do something for someone else—someone who can’t reciprocate, someone who would love to have your life, someone who is far less fortunate than you are. It will quickly renew your proper perspective.
The most precious gift you can give someone is your time. We are making and not buying scarves, hats, and blankets for a reason. We want people to know they are valuable—worth effort and work and time. Money can be recouped, effort can be rewarded, but time is valuable because once spent, you can’t get it back. It’s really the ultimate gift, and where and with whom and on what you spend yours matters. A lot. It speaks volumes about your priorities and values.
People (myself included) often use the words can’t and won’t interchangeably. I tell God and others I can’t do stuff all the time, when what I actually mean is that I won’t. We use can’t to cover ourselves, to make excuse. Inability, whether perceived or real, always sounds better than blatant refusal. It’s more palatable and makes us feel much better about ourselves. Think about it the next time you offer an I can’t to someone. Is it really that you can’t or is it that you won’t because you don’t want to inconvenience yourself?
I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. – Edward Everett Hale
All you have to do is start. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know how or when or where or how much. If God gives you something to do, just start by doing what you can where you are with what you have. He will make all the crooked places straight. He will provide. He will give you opportunity. But you won’t get those things until you take the first step. You don’t need a straight path if you’re sitting down; you don’t need provision if you’re content where you are; you don’t need opportunity if you’re not even willing to get up and look for it.
God is way bigger than you realize. I thought my version of God was big, but I’m beginning to understand just how small a box I put Him in every single day. He does what He wants when He wants with Whom He wants. He runs this thing, y’all. There’s not one second we live that wasn’t orchestrated and set into motion by Him. If He can give you the idea, He can give you the plan. If He can give you the start, He can give you the finish. If He can give you path, He can give you the strength to walk on it. All it takes is faith.
Be encouraged today. The task set before you may be hard. You may not have the help or support of others. You might get some criticism. You may be saying you can’t because you feel like you aren’t able or you may be saying you won’t out of fear of failure or rejection. But remember this: God is faithful. His strength is perfect in your weakness. He is not sorry for the call He has placed on your life; He does not regret giving you the job you have. You can make a difference. You can change. He will help you. Start today. Don’t wait.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ - Matthew 25: 34-40 (NIV)