Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ignore a moment to respond—miss your blessing

“I should say something here.”

“I feel led to offer assistance but I don’t want to offend.”

“What can my small contribution change?”

“I don’t know what to say or do for him.”

We have all wrestled with these and similar thoughts or feelings to act, but for some reason we have simply ignored them. I heard it said; “when I feel like doing something meaningful, I lie down until the feeling goes away.”

Not so long ago, my wife was feeling insignificant. She struggled with the seeming futility of continuing to serve her family and friends when it did not seem to her to amount to much in the lives she was serving. In this time she clung to the Lord for her strength and she was renewed to keep on working and serving. She held on to the verses from Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” She was further encouraged by the verse in Nehemiah 8:10 “…for the joy of the Lord is my strength.”

I had no idea she was struggling with feelings of insignificance and how could I—I was feeling my own sense of longing—my quitting coffee is to blame here.

Money has been tight around our household—too much to get into at this point of the story. My lovely wife asked to receive only hand written letters instead of gifts and cards for Mother’s Day. She received letters from our three lovely children which she truly appreciated. She went on to say in her blog that they were all sweet and funny and she could tell that our nearly 10 and 12 year olds “get it.” They appreciate mom and the mundane task she contributes to their lives daily.

So Mother’s Day had come and gone and we moved on with our daily grind of living; kids went to school and I went to work. My wife was left at home to take care of her many tasks. It was late in the evening; during some down time at work I felt a compulsion to write a note to my wife for Mother’s Day—although it had been the day before. I almost talked myself out of it, but I proceeded to write anyway.

Below is an excerpt from my wife’s blog post:

Last night, though, I was moved to tears when my husband came home from work and handed me a letter he wrote. How my heart melted and my spirit soared. I am happy to serve the Lord. But it is so, so nice when my man acknowledges me and my contribution to our family. God truly gifted my heart through these words from Gil:

You are the rock in the midst of the constant roll of life. It is because of you our children have security in their place in the world. You are steadfast in your direction and love for each. Different in style -- you meet them where they are in life.

At times, it may seem they choose me over you. But I think it's because they are so secure: Mom is their rock, she is our constant.

So if you ever have days when you wonder what your life is worth, stop and think of Zachary, Abbie, Jacob, and me, for that matter. For without you we would all be rolling, rolling with no direction of home.

What a gift these words were to me. It was a holy moment... my heart cries to God reflected back to me through sweet, thoughtful, unexpected words from my husband.

The blessing was mine.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Image can be costly

Sunday morning you will find him in church sitting in his favorite pew. As the offering plate is passed he reaches into his pocket and puts into the plate what in his hands. He turns to his neighbor and says, “This is the amount the Lord wants from me.” He loves his church and his favorite pew.

On his way to meet a friend he comes up on a young man, who says to him, “Can you help me? I am hungry." He stops, looks at him and says, "I am sorry. I have nothing for you, but may God bless you."

He turns the corner and enters the diner to meet his friend and his wife. He thinks nothing of the young man as his overfilled plate is placed before him. "Thank you, God, for this abundance and may you bless those less fortunate, amen." His lunch guests thank him for his prayer for the needy.

Back to the church for a building committee meeting in which he serves as the chairman. All those in attendance admire his ability to sift though the materials and set things in order to keep the project on budget and on time. Later that evening he sits on the leadership council, the same chair he has occupied for years, and listens to a young missionary couple seeking financial assistance to meet the needs of their inner city church. He thanks them for their passion and commits the leadership to pray. He says, "I am sorry but we have nothing for you. MayGod bless you. "

When the building project is complete he is honored before the members. He says to them all, "I love to be of service to the body, our body." The applause could be heard to the heavens and he soaks in the moment--hoping it would go on forever.

Every Sunday morning you will find him in his favorite pew in his favorite church, surround by his favorite people. The offering plate comes around again and he digs into his pocket and places the change in the plate and leads over to his pew mate and says, “This is the amount the Lord wants from me," and they both grin.

Later that evening his life was asked of him. He is so excited to meet the Lord face to face. When he entered His presence he could not contain his excitement about all he did in the service of the Lord. He went on and on about the building project he led, the leadership councils he was a part of, the money he put in the offering plate, and his attendance record at his church in his favorite pew. Jesus looked at him, with a sad expression on His face and said, “I am sorry, I have nothing for you”.

Gil Cendejas