By Rachel Hoeing

Last fall I received an email from a local non-profit asking for volunteers. They listed specific jobs that needed man power as well as days/times that additional volunteers were needed. It had been a busy morning and I had my finger on the mouse to click delete because “how in the world would I ever find time to add one more thing to my plate?” But then I stopped and thought, “I can do this.”

As many mothers do, I have a job, I have commitments, and I have a “To Do” list each week that is never completed. But there was something in my heart telling me to reply to this email and give some time to others. Not others as in my children, husband or friends. Not others as in the children or teachers at school. Most of us already do that. I wanted to give to those I didn’t know. I didn’t want acknowledgment, I just wanted someone else to feel good because of something I had done.

I looked at my calendar and decided to give three hours each week. Did I have that time just sitting there waiting to be used? No. I decide to make that time. I would block off three hours on the same day each week, show up at this non-profit, and do whatever they needed me to do. I would commit and therefore would not allow myself to fill that time with other commitments.

So, I did it. I replied to the email and told them the day I was available, the time I was available and asked if they could use my help. Of course I received an immediate yes!

I do not want to share the name of the non-profit because that is not the point I am making. Everyone has a different point-of-view on of who may need help and/or assistance, so I think it is better for you to picture a scenario that touches your heart personally. Who or what is something that you are passionate about? Who or what could use your help?

I have been volunteering each week since the beginning of the school year and I have learned so many things from my three hours each week. I learned that a smile can do wonders for others and that compassion is under-rated. I have learned to give fully without expecting anything in return. I have learned that I often get caught up in my own bubble of problems, not seeing the problems of others right under my nose.

My heart is full after my three hours each week, because I may have been able to warm the heart of someone else, even just for a moment. Love is what makes the world go round and so many people out there just don’t get enough of it. I have enough love inside me that I want to share it with others. More than anything, I want my children to see how rewarding it is for everyone when you give selflessly.

If you are over-worked, over-stressed and just plain over it, this isn’t a post to make you feel guilty or compelled to take on something you cannot handle right now. But I wanted to share that if there comes a time in your life when you feel you can make time for others, you will not regret doing so. The time you make can be an hour each month or an our each day. This availability of time probably won’t just fall into your lap, but will need to be a decision that you make on your own.

I often hear women saying that they would love to do or give more, but just don’t know where to start or how they will find the time. We have a non-profit directory here that can help you get started. Or you can email friends about your passion to see if they know how you can help.

If you currently volunteer, please share your experience in the comments below. SO many of you give and give and give! I am amazed at your acts of kindness. Please share with us how you are impacting others!

Whatever you feel called to do, do it. One rarely regrets helping another. And if now is not the time, keep this post in your back pocket as a reminder for one day in the future when you are ready.