Be the Hands and Feet

Before we leave the topic of Blessings, I want to tell you about two specific times that others have blessed me without even thinking about it.

A long time ago (or it seems that way to me!!) when my children were small, my husband and I lived in this old hotel on the third floor. Joe had just gotten out of the Army (volunteer, no conflicts at the time), and we were just re-establishing ourselves back in our home state. Joe had some trouble finding a job, but was working enough to support us. I was home with our two boys; our youngest not even age one yet. This place that we lived was terrible, it was mice and roach infested, very old and drafty and it wasn’t the best decision that we’d ever made to move into this place. But it was cheap, and we didn’t have much money. Food stamps and WIC helped to feed us. Our parents would help when they could. We lived there for nine months and it was nine months too long. Anyway, there was a little Lutheran Church down the road and every once in a while, Joe and I would get everybody ready and we’d go to church there. It was very “hit and miss”; we were not regular church goers at this time.

The holidays were coming up and I think I remember that our families were all going to Thanksgiving somewhere else. We weren’t invited to these dinners and I know that it was hurtful for both Joe and I that we got left out of everyone’s plans. We didn’t have money to have a big dinner on our own and the thought of going out to eat just didn’t cross my mind. I was resigned to just having a regular dinner; probably hamburgers or hot dogs with mac and cheese.

Just before Thanksgiving there was a knock at our door. I was floored when the pastor of the Lutheran church was there along with some people, all holding boxes and bags. They had brought Thanksgiving dinner to us. There was a turkey and all the fixings, not just instant potatoes, but a five pound bag! Not just a can of green beans, but five or six cans of a variety of vegetables. They gave us a dinner, plus food. I was so blessed by this act that even today, 35 years later, tears come to my eyes just writing this.

Fast forward about 20 years. Joe was scheduled to have a very serious operation at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore. The surgery was so detailed that we were told it would take about 7 to 10 hours to complete. Both Joe and I were terrified and Joe was convinced he would die during the operation.

Joe and I were a part of the Via de Cristo community by this time and we had everyone praying about this operation. One acquaintance came up to me and told me that he worked at Johns Hopkins and that he would meet me at a food court at lunchtime and let me know how Joe was doing. He knew that the nurses really don’t tell you anything while you’re waiting for someone in an operation. The day came, and it was nerve racking to sit all morning, waiting for a word of how it’s going. The people in the waiting room would come over and tell me that they just heard that everything is going OK. That really doesn’t tell you much. At lunch I went down to meet our acquaintance and he came up and told me he just came from the operating room after checking on Joe, that his vitals are good and the surgeon says that everything was going as planned.

After I picked my mouth up off the floor I was able to talk!! You were in the operating room? Yes, he does that all the time as part of his job. You actually talked to the surgeon?!? Yes, it wasn’t a big deal. Joe looks good, his vitals are strong. God is good. Then he left. I sat there in the food court and cried with relief. God had sent him to me to let me know that everything was well. It was one of the many times that God let me know that HE was in control.

My point through this long blog is this: You don’t know when you are going to be a blessing. The members of that church barely knew us and wouldn’t remember us today, but they made a huge impression on me. Through them the Lord took care of us. Our acquaintance didn’t think it was a big deal to swing by an operating room to see how someone was doing, but it was a huge thing for me. In both of these instances God used ordinary people in ordinary settings to send a huge blessing to me.

So as you go about your ordinary life, doing your ordinary things, remember this: you may never know if God will use you to be a huge blessing in someone’s life today. So as you walk out your door, be prepared to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

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New Month/New Theme

I can hardly believe it’s April and time for a new theme.  This month the Lutheran ladies will be exploring our blessings.  What better time than Easter to do this, for we have just received the greatest possible blessing — freedom from the penalty of sin and reconciliation with God!

Blessings come in many forms:  there are spiritual blessings and material blessings.  People bless us, and we can be blessings to others.  Health is a blessing.  Our very existence is a blessing, one that we should never take for granted, or waste.  If we make  time to “count” our blessings, we’ll find that God’s grace rains down upon us constantly.  Spending time reflecting on what we’ve been given will surely inspire an attitude of gratitude.

Stay tuned, dear readers, for our thoughts on what it means to be blessed, and any other topics that are on the hearts and minds of our authors this month.

Blessings #2

I know it’s not music, but Beth Ann’s post on Blessings prompted me to post this prayer.  It was published in The Lutheran Prayerbook, 1992,  and the author is unknown.  It’s titled “Answered Prayer.”

He asked for strength that he might achieve;  he was made weak that he might obey.

He asked for health that he might do greater things;  he was given infirmity that he might do better things.

He asked for riches that he might be happy;  he was given poverty that he might be wise.

He asked for power that he might have the praise of men;   he was given weakness that he might feel the need of God.

He asked for all things that he might enjoy life;  he was given life that he might enjoy all things.

He has received nothing that he asked for;  all he hoped for.  His prayer is answered.  He is most blest.

Does anyone else feel they got not what they asked for, but what they really needed the most?