I love it when volunteers send me the coolest texts of encouragement and then I turn around and ask them if they could make it into a blog and they say yes! Get ready for some beautiful encouragement from one of our lovely TLC volunteers Karen Wall. ~Carissa

“You’ve got to use the life you’ve been given to give others life. If your life isn’t about giving relief – You don’t get real life!” -Ann Voskamp “The Broken Way” This quote stuck in my head after reading it and made me feel like the writer, was reaching through the pages, holding my hand, and affirming what I know to be true, namely that we are called to give relief to those in need. This word, relief, spoke to me, because it is descriptive of the process I have the privilege to be a part of as a TLC volunteer at The Sparrow’s Nest in O’Fallon, MO.

Relief is not a new concept for Christians. The Greek word for it is aniemi, which means relaxation or (figuratively) relief — eased, liberty, rest. This concept is also addressed In 2 Thessalonians 1: 6-7 (NASB) it says, “For after all it is just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and relief to you who are afflicted, and to us as well, when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels of fire.” This verse reminds us, as Christians, that our relief, or rest, will come when Jesus comes back to Earth. I believe that, until then, we are charged to take part in providing relief to others, wherever possible. I have also found, that doing so, brings rest and freedom to the giver as well.

Several years ago, I was diagnosed with two types of thyroid Cancer. I had a Total Thyroidectomy and received nuclear medicine in the form of Radioactive Iodine Ablation. It took a very long time for me to get to a place where I could physically function in a normal way. You see, my treatments left my body depleted and with a chronic condition, hypothyroidism, for the rest of my life. During my healing, I had the sweetest time to grow closer in my relationship with the Lord. He reminded me, over and over, that He was with me and would never leave me. This was like cold water to my thirsty soul. I knew, at that time, that I only had been given this one life and that I was called to give it away. When you are chronically ill, you become selfish with your energy, storing it up due to fear of the inevitable “crash.” God spoke clearly to my heart, that this was not my purpose. That I was not going to spend this one life, storing away my time, but that I was called to use this life to give the same relief that He gave to me, to others.

This is where The Sparrow’s Nest came into my life. At The Nest, I get to be part of providing relief in both practical and spiritual ways. I have gotten the opportunity to teach some of them important life skills like how to use a bulb syringe, write a child care plan and organize meals. The young women at The Nest give me the privilege to love on their babies and provide care when the mothers have to work, or do programming. When my schedule allows, I even get to provide breaks for the staff in fun ways, like providing a BBQ at my house for the girls and children, or being a part of planning and giving a Holiday Party at the Nest. All of these activities are designed to allow me to provide relief either for the staff, the girls, or their children. But, what it really does, is provide purpose for me. I have the awesome opportunity to share with these young mothers how I see God working in their lives and I get to show them how He has worked in mine. The opportunity to see the growth in their lives as they learn to walk with the Lord, has been such a blessing to me. Being a part of sharing Christ’s love with these young mothers is a way that the Gospel of Christ is alive and active here on Earth. I am so grateful that the Lord has given me the opportunity, and energy, to be a part of this mission.karen-wall-pic