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.

 

Has God Interrupted Your Day Lately?

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Flowers at the Door

It was a busy day for a Saturday. I was prepping for a meeting later that afternoon and finishing up a few things for a family get-together on Sunday. A change in Sunday plans meant additional tasks were added to my to-do list. My Saturday of leisure shifted into high gear for getting things done.

As usual, I overestimated my efficiency and underestimated the time necessary. Now, I was feeling stressed. That’s when the doorbell rang. Both my husband and I heard it as I looked at him and commented, “I don’t have time for this.” Surely, it was the dreaded salesman pitching windows, a roof, pest treatment plans, or lawn care. None of which I needed.

I begrudgingly opened the door to find a smiling delivery man with a beautiful flower arrangement. “Are you Debbie?” he asked as he held out flowers. I received the flowers, but I was confused. It wasn’t a holiday or a forgotten anniversary. Thankfully, no one had passed away. Why for me? And why now? The attached card explained that the flowers were a thank-you for my leadership in a Christian ministry.

God’s interruption in my day wasn’t intended to frustrate or stress me. The interruption was God’s reminder that I am loved by the body of Christ and my work for the kingdom is appreciated. God pours out blessings just because He delights in His children. The depth of God’s love can still take us by surprise. Oftentimes, those blessings come through others. I thought I was too busy for the interruption of God’s blessing.

How has God interrupted your day lately?

Psalm 21:6

Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

John 1:16

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

 

 

A Bucket of Blessings

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Huckleberries

My husband’s family is from the mountains of West Virginia. I fell in love with the people, the natural beauty and the wild huckleberries (blueberries to us mid-westerners.) It was the perfect trio: picking blueberries with good company in the fresh mountain air.

Picking wild blueberries is work. The plants are low to the ground. The patches are spread out yonder. Sometimes the locals are protective of their turf and will scare you with warnings of snakes in their favorite patch. (Thank goodness I never saw a snake!) Picking blueberries requires patience as it takes forever to fill a bucket because wild blueberries are the miniature version of the store-bought kind.

Year after year, I would pick blueberries with my husband’s grandmother and her dear friend Barb. We would pick to our hearts’ content or until it was time for our family to leave West Virginia behind. I remember one year in particular. I shared my many plans for all the blueberries I was picking. Then I asked Barb what she was going to do with her berries. She replied that she was picking for a friend. I wasn’t surprised as Barb was always doing nice things for other people. Barb had many friends.

On the last day of our vacation as were getting ready to pack up and head home, Barb approached me. With her bounty of blueberries picked over the previous week, Barb handed me the container and shared, “These are for you, friend.”

I didn’t see it coming. We had toiled side by side for a week. While picking, I remember thinking that “this friend” must be special to receive such a generous gift. And come to find out, I was that friend! I had been satisfied with what I was able to pick, but Barb had something else in mind: a bucketful of blessings that I didn’t expect. I was floored by her expression of love.

I thank God for His blessings poured out on me in blueberries and in other ways. God blesses us with the help of others as we muddle through life together. God surprises us with blessings in the most difficult places. God brings people into our lives at just that right moment to remind us of His enduring love. God opens our eyes to see Him when all we can focus on is our circumstances. God intends extra blessings even when we are content with what we have.

God fills my bucket of blessings to overflowing.

 

John 1:16

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

 

Psalm 23:5-6

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

 

 

Not Now, All In God’s Timing

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I wasn’t interested. I was a young mother in my early thirties and I had just started attending church again. The pastor had duly informed me about church membership and baptism. To this day, I so much appreciate Pastor Dick Blose for what he did and for what he didn’t do. He made sure that I knew the importance of baptism. He planted the seeds for confirmation of my faith. However, he made it clear that the decision was mine and that he was not going to pressure me. Not now, all in God’s timing. He kept his word and a year later, I hounded him to finally be baptized. I was that anxious to celebrate my faith with my newfound family of believers. It had been an amazing year of growth in my Christian walk. I clearly heard God call me into his plan for my life. I began a ministry in the church. I started writing for the church newsletter. I enjoyed fellowship and discovered that my boys had lots of fill-in grandparents. I studied Scriptures and wanted to dig deeper. Most importantly, I finally understood what Jesus Christ did for me. It cost God his one and only Son. I mattered that much to God. I felt the nudging of the Holy Spirit to seek the ways of Jesus. My faith had become real and personal. On a beautiful morning in 1994 at a sunrise Easter service, I was baptized. What had been not now came to fruition in God’s perfect timing.

John 1:12-13

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

Mark 1:9

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

 

 

 

The Quilt Squares of Blessings

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The Quilt Squares

My mother-in-law picked it up at a garage sale years ago, thinking of it as a project starter.  Someone had lovingly and tirelessly embroidered quilt squares of the state flowers for all fifty states.  More time passed and my mother-in-law no longer quilted due to health issues.  She passed the quilt squares onto me.

Since I don’t quilt, I planned to donate the squares to charity.  Before I could, I remembered a friend that enjoyed quilting and instead passed the potential project to her.  More time passed (years, in fact) and I forgot all about those quilt squares until…  This dear, sweet friend presented me with the quilt she had envisioned and completed.  It was beautiful and it was mine.

Those squares had looped back around becoming more beautiful with each person’s blessing upon it.  Just like the nature of blessings.  Blessings grow faster and bigger as they are bounced around and shared.   Blessings surround us and are a tangible reminder that we are loved.  Blessings can still take us by surprise.

When I look at this quilt, I think of the link from that anonymous person who acted upon the seed of an idea to the family and friend of mine that carried forth that idea.  By going through others, those quilt squares connected us all together with a trail of blessings to treasure.

John 1:16

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