Serving Up His Love

Last weekend, we had a soup kitchen Saturday with our youth group-as in an opportunity to volunteer at one. 🙂

We had hoped to have all our students for this new venture, but with our constantly shifting Kansas weather, important basketball games had had to be rescheduled for…you guessed it, Saturday. 😏

There went several of our regulars…

In addition to that was state Scholar’s Bowl and, wouldn’t you know it? Our middle son/awesome drummer is also rather an old soul, knowledgeable on a variety of subjects most his age are not, and, therefore, much needed for such tournaments. ( No, not a proud mama at all.

😉)

So, suffice to say, we wound up a rather tiny troop of workers.

A Gideon sort of reduction, perhaps? 🤔🙂

Well, the thought is kind of just for humorous irony since we spent the better part of the fall studying the Old Testament warrior, but, maybe…

For, it could’ve been deflating in a sense, or more stressful with fewer hands, but, you know, as much as I really missed seeing certain faces in the mix, it was a most beautiful and triumphant day regardless!

Perhaps, even better than we could’ve thought for the quiet simplicity of it.

For I got to watch my shyer, more reserved ones, including my oldest, newly-minted adult son, find ways to step up, pitch in, and feel helpful.

I got to listen to my sweet teen autistic girl do what she does best-draw the lonely into lively conversation and boost them with her amazing gift of song at worship time.

I got to see my enthusiastic youngest boy pour over the dishes and delight the whole kitchen with his giggles as the water sprayer kept “accidentally” getting him.

I got to see my dear, gregarious husband ladle on laughs along with the baked beans and encourage everyone around him with hope as he shared the way God has built our family up from next to nothing.

And what did I do?

Well, I’ll tell you, being rather prone to awkwardness myself, I was a bit nervous on the outset about what role I could really play there without fumbling too badly.

I knew I might be okay in the kitchen, if I wasn’t having too clumsy a day.

I thought I could perhaps hand out food or provide background on the songs if I didn’t goof or go too off-key.

Or, just guide the kids in their various pursuits, as I typically do.

Parts of me truly longed to be more as my fearless daughter, she who lives to worship out loud.

I sometimes observe her at a distance and wonder how she could be mine!

Yet, I can also see little pieces of me-of the me I might’ve been if life hadn’t been so weighted with, well, hurtful things…

Or, I’ll watch my husband, he who charms lampposts, and grow wistful for just a wisp of that ability.

Spent too long in that place, I can start to wonder why someone like that chose someone like me.

Not healthy on any day! 😳

So, instead of pulling a lot of Gideon-aw, shucks-not-meisms, I find I must learn to look past me to the whole:

More than anything we did, we got to share with some all-too-often forgotten souls.

Young families in need, older gentlemen and ladies relatively alone in life, some who have been ravaged by disease and harsh circumstance and time.

People whom I might shyly bypass on any given day, not sure what to say, but people that when I pause long enough to really get beyond myself and look, I can see my own struggles reflected in their eyes.

For we really aren’t so different, any of us.

We all need each other and we all need the love of Jesus.

Every one of us look to be fed, not only physically, but spiritually.

Every one of us need to feel our worth. Our real worth. In Him.

Honestly, no one was counting how many of us there were or weren’t, or judging how well we handled dishing up barbecue pork, or whether we all sounded even remotely like Hillsong.

They just wanted to matter, same as anyone.

And, in serving up time, food, and, best of all, the love of Jesus, we had the opportunity to tell them they do, same as anyone.

I don’t know exactly what’s down the road. But, I hope we get to go back. Even shy, awkward me. 🙂

Looking at spring… when basketball and scholar’s bowl are all done and before the summer wave of busy hits.

I know God will use us, big or small, but I wouldn’t want the rest of our kiddos to miss out on this every time! 😉

May we all look for our chance to extend the love of Christ to the forgotten, whatever we think of what we can give. Blessings and prayers, dear friends! Thanks for reading!

Winepresses We Hide In

This is sort of a reworking of a poem from about 14 years ago. I originally wrote it after picking through some of the Bible stories of the unlikeliest He called, including Gideon. I wrestled much with doubt then. My faith has been mightily stretched, of course, but I can admit thoughts written long ago still echo through the here and now

Sometimes, I feel like Gideon,

Crouched down in the winepress,

Hiding out,

Quaking with anxiety.

I’ve never seen an angelic guest,

I confess,

Nor do I ever find myself with

Much wheat to thresh, 😏

Yet, there is a something in the

Story there

That sounds such a

Recognizable ring

Through the air…

Perhaps it’s his utter smallness,

From birth order to clan,

That meets me where I live,

Connects to where I am.

Perhaps it’s the “Who, me?”

Manner,

An imagined incredulity at the

Idea of “valor”

Which tends to give to my soul

A nod of familiarity.

Between us lies years and

Obvious difference in

Circumstance,

Yet, in feelings?

I suspect there ‘s very little

Disparity.

For, I can well picture

My questioning heart here,

My begging for just one more

Fleece, please,

To alleviate my fear.

I can feel the wonder

As the odd proceedings

Prove might is not in man

And it’s His truth which sends

Doubts and enemies asunder.

I can only pray my faith keeps on

Gathering

And my growth in Him becomes

More than a mere smattering.

For though my battle be

Not with a Midian horde,

Nor my weapons broken jars,

Torches, or ram’s horns,

That which I march into

Is a trust walk nonetheless,

Numbers with me modest,

And my tendency is to the flesh.

Yet, I know that I know

He meets us

In every winepress we hide in.

And, oh-so-patiently,

He lifts us beyond cowering dust

To call out a depth of courage

We didn’t know was within….

May we step out of our respective winepresses and approach each battle with faith and courage in the Lord, especially as a new year prepares to unfold! Blessings and prayers to you, dear friends! ☺