It helps to help.  It’s just hard to do when I don’t feel like it or when I’m hurting too.

This summer we’ve been able to befriend a big group of migrant workers down the road from us.  They come here every year from Jamaica and it has been a lesson to me to start a friendship…or what could be a friendship. 

ANYWAYS, this one guy, Donovan, has brought us baskets of fruit occasionally and this past weekend, I think he searched for the world’s largest basket and filled it with nectarines and peaches.

There was NO WAY that we could eat all of them so as they started to go soft, I googled some nectarine recipes and settled on nectarine crumble bars.  (FYI, nectarines sub in just like peaches and these were delicious!!!)

The first night I made 2 casserole dishes of these.  I gave some to the neighbors around us and we hogged the rest.  However, I still had half an orchard of nectarines left, living their last days, so I made another 2. 

My sister came by my house for a massage and I gave her one of the casserole dishes to take back to the office.  She later texted me that they were a real hit which made me feel like a million bucks.  Maybe feeling a hint of ‘it helps to help’?

I pushed that feeling aside as I carefully protected the last remaining casserole dish of crumble bars for our own enjoyment, even though I was still walking around with the button undone on my shorts from eating the last batch.

it helps to help

As I sat eating my second 7pm helping of the evening, and feeling disgusting, it hit me…for real.  It helps to help.  

When I made all of these, I had the intention of giving them away but when I started to gift them out, I worried I wouldn’t have enough for ME to enjoy so I dialed back my giving. 

In the end, there was way more than we could possibly consume and I was forcing it down so it didn’t go to waste instead of giving it away to help someone else’s day.

At the beginning of the whole COVID-19 pandemic, God was teaching me – someone who is not a natural giver at all – to bake and give to those really struggling during that time with sadness or depression. 

This was based off of a lesson from my devotional that you actually receive healing yourself when you reach out to heal others.  Another version of “it helps to help”. 

Then the government announced in June that I could go back to work.  Listen – do you hear the screeching of brakes slamming on my giving attitude?

it helps to help
it helps to help
‘it helps to help’
seemed too difficult. 
I didn’t have enough time to help now.

I suddenly felt the burden of time again – or lack thereof – and stopped looking for how I could give.  My depression also has been in a big downward spiral and I’ve caved to staying in bed more than once. 

But you know what?  I was really struggling with depression while I was off work in the pandemic too, however, I was making the choice to focus on giving in that time and I was SHOCKED at how much joy and peace I got from it. 

I was still depressed, don’t get me wrong, but in that depression was joy which makes depression so much more bearable.

It helps to help others when you are in desperate need of help yourself.

So last night as I nursed my stomach ache from too many crumble bars, it was a painful but good reminder to me. 

I’m drowning in depression right now with some very low and dark thoughts but more than ever, right now I need to fight to reach out…to give.  Even just some baked goods to someone down the street.  That is a way to fight for joy.  It helps to help.

And I would rather be depressed with joy than just depressed.  

If you are with me on this depression journey, please don’t hear me making a trite ‘how-to’ statement.  There is nothing trite about this fight.  I’m simply suggesting something that might make the burden lighter.  

Fight to see the gifts God has given you, the talents He has blessed you with.  Then use them because it helps to help.

You will never win a fight

if you are unarmed

going up against Depression’s voice.

 So fight

with what God

has given you.  

How has He armed you? With what gifts or talents?  What little step can you take today? Can you see that it helps to help?

I’m going to come up with ONE thing for myself today.  Honestly, I don’t know what it is yet.  No clue. 

But when God puts it on my heart, I promise to share it with you so you know I’m out there trying to fight alongside you.

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