Sacrificial Offerings

Usually every church you go to has a certain way of doing things, a structure to the service. Our church always has someone present special music while the offering plate is passed, but there are many sacrificial offerings going on in a service simultaneously. You need only be still and sensitive to the Spirit to see them.

This past Sunday a lovely woman got up to sing “Breath of Heaven”, which tells the story of the mother of Jesus. Even when the Christmas story gets clouded, most people know Mary was a young person with a scandal to deal with. She accepted her sacrificial call stoically, only to lose her son years later at the hands of an angry mob. She gave birth never really knowing the full extent of what her sacrifice would be.

I closed my eyes and and prayed for our friend who was singing, and the tears began to roll down my cheeks when the lyrics came “breath of heaven hold me together”, because I remembered how the vocalist lost her son years ago. Jesse would have been in his early twenties today.

Once the service concluded I found my eyes drift over to the far left of the church, to the front pew. There I saw another woman sit down to ready herself for prayer in case anyone needed to come to the front and pray. She too had lost a son years ago. Shane was a father at the time of his death, leaving a wife and three children behind.

I marveled at these women, and their sacrificial offerings, pressing on in faith despite their broken hearts, and the fact there will be missing family members at their Christmas table.

Thank you for being real, courageous and faithful, Bonnie and Val. Please know that there are people watching and learning from your example, and people praying for your strength as you continue the journey of faith God has called you to finish.

May the family of God hold one another together in Christ’s sacrificial offering of love, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, as we look forward to a family reunion one day in heaven.

Merry Christmas!

Cindy

 

 

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…..raking leaves

My plan was to use the treadmill and have breakfast before starting work in the studio.  That plan changed when I walked out into the unusually mild fall weather and saw the dancing leaves.

Many of my neighbors had been sweeping the leaves off their driveways and raking them off their yards, while I had left them carpeting our property with their festive yellow hues.  I marveled at their color and the sound of their voices whispering to me as I swished through them ankle-deep.

The forecast for the next day was rain.  Dry leaves are a joy, wet leaves get really messy.  My morning plans shifted.

As I swept large piles of my yellow friends from the sidewalk into the gutter, I noticed a lady out walking her dog.  To my surprise she waved and crossed the street towards me.

She called out to me by name, and I nodded.

She had seen me leading worship on Thanksgiving Sunday, and recognized me from across the street.  She and her husband were new in town and were attending our church.  She was very pleased about living in the area.

While we chatted she noticed a bird, a white breasted nut hatch, is what I think she called it.  The bird was peeking at us from a nearby branch.  As I listened further, I learned they can go backwards down a tree, and their call sounds like a “sick duck”.  Her words, not mine.

Our conversation shifted to her family.  Sadly her adult sons had suffered issues at Bible School.  Her children shared the same gift and love for music I did.  One of her sons was finding life quite difficult, in a city nearby.  I asked for his name.

I briefly told her about a pattern that had been developing as of late.  I pray for one of my framing customer’s sons, and she prays for mine.  All young people experience challenges as they move out into the world and find their place and purpose.  If it was alright with my new neighbor, I would pray for her son as well.  She nodded and commented on the importance of prayer.

We both embraced on the end of my driveway, and waved goodbye.

I didn’t tell her how my Grandmother’s prayer had saved my life thirty-three years ago on Thanksgiving day.  That’s another major God moment story for some other time.