Garage Sale Blessings

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We hosted a garage sale this spring. Making some extra money is great motivation to sort, clean, and pass on stuff that we no longer need or have a place for in our house. The garage sale ended up being a lot of work for very little money.

I wasn’t surprised, nor was I upset. Past experiences from garage sales over many years have taught me to manage expectations. Besides, my faith has introduced new expectations as God provides a different perspective. It is less about the sales and more about the blessings. I have learned to expect God to reveal unexpected blessings through the garage sale. I pray for just the right people to come along. Excitement builds as I look for God to share His answers to my prayers.

The very first person on the very first day of the sale bought all my furniture odds and ends. The bulky stuff was gone! A group of construction workers took our old bathroom mirror, a “monstrosity” that measured five feet long by three feet high. The problem of how to properly dispose of the mirror was solved.

The blessings weren’t just for me. On the second day, sales and people were sparse. My husband suggested that we close early. I decided against it because we had advertised certain hours. Near the end of the day, a neighbor down the street stopped by. We had waved to each other in the past as I retrieved our mail, but we had never engaged in a conversation.

She browsed the sale and then picked up a brochure for Cancer Hope, the ministry that I am involved with. A very long conversation ensued as we shared our hearts and our faith. My neighbor concluded, “This is why God had me stop at your garage sale.” In that moment, I knew the reason why God prompted me to keep the garage sale open all day.

After the sale, metal shelves and miscellaneous items were given to good friends. The wife commented, “It feels like Christmas!” The rest of the stuff was sorted, boxed up and labelled with the name of the charity to receive it. The household goods would go to a charity that serves homeless families by helping them get back on their feet and into their own homes.

Trinkets, decorations and costume jewelry were designated for the nursing home. Early the next week, I called to confirm that the nursing home could use my donation. The activities director replied that the items would be perfect for their auction where the residents bid on items with fake money. As more evidence of God’s blessings in the perfect timing: the auction was scheduled for three days later.

Was this year’s garage sale a success? It depends on your perspective. From a worldly standpoint, the answer is no. I had too much stuff left over and not much money earned. From a heavenly perspective, the garage sale was simply the means for blessings to flow. Here’s my answer: I have a little extra cash in my pocket and my heart is undeniably full!

John 1:16

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 

 2 Corinthians 9:12

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.

 

Am I Good Enough?

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Cards 1

I have a creative side with a roomful of craft supplies to prove it. My latest project (or obsession according to my husband) is making cards. With stamps, edging scissors, and varied textures and colors of paper, the combinations seem endless. My style is straightforward with layering and color contrast.

I see the cards as an expression of my faith for each card will hold a prayer for the recipient. I join others to make and send cards to cancer survivors and their families through the Cancer Hope ministry of SouthBrook Christian Church. (Click here for my previous post on this wonderful ministry.)

A core group of people meet to share ideas and produce cards for the ministry’s use. I bring my stash of cards to share, pleased with the results of my efforts at home. That is, until I compare my cards to those of the more creative and craftier people on the team. What once filled me with satisfaction, now feels embarrassingly simplistic. I ask myself, “Am I good enough?”

Satan wants us to compare ourselves with others. For it takes our perspective off of God’s gifting to us as individuals and places it in an arena of competition for God’s seemingly limited blessings. Satan uses lies to discourage us from God’s purpose for our lives. The truth of God reminds us that:

  • God has more than enough blessings to go around and then some more.
  • Everyone’s part in the body of Christ is needed and used by God.
  • Done for and through God, our efforts will always be more than good enough in the hands of God.

The question is no longer, “Are we good enough?” The question becomes, “Do we trust God enough to use us for His glory?”

Colossians 1:16

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

 

John 6:9-13

“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

 

 

The Highest Compliment

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As a late bloomer in regards to writing, I am grateful for the encouragement to keep writing. Guest-blogging for a fellow writer is always a high honor, but not the highest compliment. Being asked by a friend, the editor of a quarterly magazine for a local newspaper, to submit an article is confirmation of my abilities. Seeing my name in print is still not the highest compliment. Retirees, needing a write-up on their volunteer activity, asked me to compose it. Their thank you was a gift card. Even being paid for my writing was not the highest compliment.

The highest compliment was my card propped up on a bedside table. I did not personally know this person who was a cancer patient in hospice. As part of the ministry Cancer Hope, I send cards with a message of Christ’s love. (Read my previous post on Cancer Hope.) I don’t remember what I wrote, but I know that the words were inspired by the Holy Spirit and prayed over before being mailed. After the woman died, I heard from a family member (in the ministry) that my card was near their loved one in her final days.

The highest compliment was that God chose me to write His words of comfort and to share His love. Evidence of the highest compliment was a simple homemade card that will be our special connection for all of eternity in heaven. Hearing God, being a vessel for God and touching lives will always be the highest compliment in my book.

2 Corinthians 4:7

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Psalm 126:5

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.

 

 

And I Pray!

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I volunteer with a ministry that serves patients and their families throughout the cancer journey. I am one of many that pray. Texts are electronically transmitted. Spoken prayers transcend time and space. Cards are mailed. And I pray.

But it is not for the faint-hearted. For the names keep coming. Week after week, more cancer diagnoses are heard, more families are affected by cancer, and the list of people to minister to gets longer. And I pray. How do you share hope with someone receiving hospice care? How do you comfort someone feeling miserable from the side effects of treatment? How do you encourage someone who discovers that the cancer has returned? And I pray.

I have lost two prayer partners, cancer patients that I prayed for daily and corresponded with weekly. Their physical bodies succumbed to the cancer. Sometimes, my prayers seem to go unanswered. And still I pray. Prayers for healing. Prayers for peace. Prayers for salvation. Prayers for miracles. For people I may never meet, talk with, or give a hug to on this side of heaven. Yet, I pray for God has given us the privilege to ask in Jesus’s name. And I pray because I can.

Note: The wonderful ministry I referred to in this post is Cancer Hope, a ministry of SouthBrook Christian Church in Miamisburg, Ohio. Cancer Hope knows no bounds in sharing Christ’s love with individuals and their families going through cancer. Cancer Hope’s blessings are available for anyone regardless of residence or church affiliation. More information can be found at: http://www.southbrook.org/ministries/. Once there, click on Cancer Hope.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 

2 Corinthians 1:10-11

He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.  Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.