This week the Lord has shown me so many blessings, but particularly a couple of “ah ha” moments that fill my heart with gladness and thankfulness. Wednesday evenings are our women’s Bible study, and this week was my turn to bring the dessert. For quite some time I have taken my normal approach to this and picked up something from the Kroger bakery. But a while back I became open to God’s message that I should prepare food when it’s my turn to bring either the main course or the dessert. I am sure to many of you, that is a “no-brainer”, but for me it is a stretch. I am not confident in my cooking ability, and never have been. I work a full-time job and it is a bit beyond inconvenient to prepare food the night before, get it to Bible study and heat it. But I am always so thankful and enjoy the fruits of my other ladies’ efforts, so I am now cooking as well. And truthfully, I have used the excuse of what is easier for me and have hidden behind my lack of confidence.
On my way home Tuesday evening (to go and make the red velvet bundt cake) as it is one of my dear friend’s favorite and it’s her birthday week), I “decided” to stop and pick up our mail–actually I felt an urging to do so. One of the items in the mail was from another dear friend (and she is also a member of our Bible study) who was kind and generous to mail a devotional for advent to me. I didn’t really have time to look at it just then because I had a cake to make.
I was tired Tuesday evening. This was only my second day back to work after some dental surgery last week, and I didn’t really feel great. I must be honest that the thought occurred to me a couple of times that I could just stop by Kroger on my way to Bible study tomorrow and pick up a red velvet cake. But I already had the ingredients, so I would continue with my original plan to bake this cake. My first “ah ha” moment came when I came to the part of the recipe that where I had to put the filling in the first part of the batter in the bundt pan and swirl it gently with the batter. I admit I was grumbling to myself a bit (again I didn’t feel confident), but then I “heard” the sweet, soft voice of the Holy Spirit reminding me of how blessed I am to have a friend that I love to be able to make this cake for her. That spurred me on, and I tell you the truth that each further step of the process was filled with love–not for baking, but out of thankfulness for the gift of friendship.
The next morning in my quiet time with the Lord, I opened the advent devotional. I immediately was thankful for my friend who sent it with love. One of the devotionals (I was trying to catch up as the devotional is a daily one and here it was December 6 already), I read “There Is Grief In The Family Tree of Jesus”. I immediately thought of two friends who were experiencing grief right now. I tucked the devotional in my bag. When I got to work, I scanned it and sent it to my friends, with a short note letting them know I loved them I hoped this would bring them comfort and peace. And each one wrote me back and let me know that on the day I sent it to them, they needed to hear that Jesus understands their grief and He is willing and able to carry their sorrows.
That was my second “ah ha” moment. When we are obedient to the Lord and share His love to others (in what turns out to be His perfect timing), we are are sharing His blessing. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17) I am blessed to have friends in my life who love me and share their hearts with me. I am blessed to do the same for others. I am not to hold on to those blessings for myself — I am to share the blessings. “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” (Prov. 11:25) So guess what has happened the rest of the week? I have been refreshed! In my thankfulness for receiving these gifts, my only proper response is to thank Him and to share these gifts with others. “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” (Ps. 68:19)