I made my bed this morning.
Cleaned the kitchen. Did some laundry.
And all the while, I am thinking of this.
A mother digs for her child. A man trapped under tons of concrete. Dead bodies lined along the streets.
Outside my window, the snowbirds forage under the feeder. Snow is melting.
I am thirsty. I take a drink. I think about that Barefoot Contessa recipe I want to make. The ingredients I need. Will the salmon be good today?
And the ghosts of Haiti call to me across the ocean.
The truth is…tragedy comes every second. Mass devastation opens our eyes, but help is needed every day.
We give our first fruits when we commit to make a regular contribution.
Will you consider making a difference for a child? A people? A nation?
Quick gifts can be offered through the Red Cross:
text “HAITI” to “90999” and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross (billed to your cell phone account)
Time to count the Christmas Change!
Our total collection this season came to $98.50. Plus a few extra bonus items.
After scrounging around the house for spare change, we added $1.50 to round out the total to $100!
We decided to split the money in half–giving $50 to Worlvision and $50 to our local food pantry.
Amazing what those forgotten piles of spare change add up to. Amazing what we can give out of our abundance.
As small hands sorted change and tallied its value this morning, I was pleased that we were so close to our goal.
But we can do more.
God requires more. He asks me to give, not out of abundance, but out of faith. He asks for my firstfruits. When I give Him all that I hold in my hands, I say to Him, I trust You to fill my arms again.
Collecting spare change is good stewardship…but it hardly stretched my faith. It did not require me to step out of my comfort zone. And for that, I am not proud.
We are so blessed.
It’s time to start blessing others.
Because He is good. He is trustworthy. And He will provide for all our needs.
We are still deciding how to give out of faith…trying to determine what the giving of our firstfruits looks like.
May it be pleasing to Him.
I have studied it each time I drive by.
It sits tucked back from the Interstate right off the Institute exit–a beacon for all passersby.
This church has been under construction for quite some time. Regally arched windows yawn beside gaping front…the face of the building is not yet complete.
And so it stands–wide open, inviting eyes to peer inside and wonder what lies within.
It never fails to touch me, this vision of this church under construction. It has become to me a symbol of what it means to build a church.
Open, inviting, beautiful.
A light on a hill.
Always, always the lights are aglow within.
When I am mindlessly driving home from work–tired, spent from giving of myself, all I need do is catch a glance of that incomplete structure and my heart fills with yearning.
It means so much.
To see Him standing there holding out His arms to me this way.
Last night, on my way home from the Casting Crowns concert in Charleston, I drove right into a snowstorm. The snowdrops fell–fat, juicy circlets that covered the road in an icy slush in no time. I was following Pastor-friend, assuming role of rear-guard as traffic crept along on the treacherous highway.
When we approached the Institute exit, eyes automatically lifted to that hill. Snow swirling all around, cars creeping along beside, wind blowing trees bent with icy dressings…Yet the warm glow of the lights from inside that church under construction penetrated it all.
He is my refuge.
My guiding light in the storm.
Mark Hall of Casting Crowns spoke to us last night about the difference between the joy of the world and the joy there is in Christ. His words resonate this morning as I listen to his voice singing I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. The story of this deeply moving Christmas song is our song. We all have searched for hope in the darkness.
We volunteered for World Vision last night, stewards over faces of hundreds of children who may never know the joy of Christmas.
As I ran my hand over smooth pictures depicting these innocent faces, I was once again struck by how blessed we are.
We get to be that light on a hill.
We are The Church under construction.
Oh, Dear Ones, let your light be that warm glow that invites. Open your arms and be His embrace.
Today, the boys are home with me…snowed in…given a day off by the storm I drove through last night. We were out romping in that sticky white stuff at eight thirty in the morning.
These boys–these gifts from God–are mine to protect and love and give all that I have to. This morning I sit and reflect on the faces that I held in my hands last night. And I know that one of the most important things that I can give my children is the gift of compassion.
I was so moved by the opportunity to help this amazing organization last night. Won’t you consider giving the gift of hope this Christmas?