Thursday, January 8, 2015

Blessings beat tadpoles, fish and spiders

This story starts about a month ago, in early December. I don't know the exact date, but since I was listening to Family Life Network on my car radio, it must have been before my Straight No Chaser Christmas CD made its way into the car.

I was listening to Pastor Chip Ingram's program, "Living on the Edge."  He told of a day when things weren't quite going his way. He was looking for his sermon notes. He searched and searched his briefcase and home office, and couldn't find them, so even though he had promised to take his wife and daughter to dinner, he had to stop at church to look for those notes. When he got to the church, he found a homeless woman huddled in a corner, trying to keep out of the cold. He and his family took her out to dinner, and got her housing for a couple of nights. She told them that, just before they arrived at the church, she had called out to God, asking for His help in meeting her needs. Even though Chip Ingram's notes weren't in the church office (when he got home, he found them in the briefcase he had gone through before), he needed to be there at that moment for God to use him to meet the needs of a sister in Christ. Chip referred to blessings like that, when the people of God meet a person's needs, as "hugs from an Unseen God."

I was in a bit of a low spot when I heard that story... tired and discouraged. I thought, "I could really use a hug like that." When I got home, I went to start a project that I had been putting off for a while, so I went down to the basement to do some "yarn shopping." I needed a good-sized ball of bright white yarn, in worsted weight. Even though there is a big tote with just white yarn, there wasn't enough bright white in that weight, off-white yes. Cream, yes. Bright white, no. I looked in a few other places... no bright white yarn.Since it was an order that needed to match something I'd already made, I really needed bright white.

All this and no bright white yarn???

Now, I have been trying to stay away from craft stores. I admit, I'm a Yarnaholic. Even though I have enough yarn in the house to keep me "in stitches" for years, if I go into a craft store, I will come out with too much yarn. The colors, the textures, the possibility are just too much for me to resist! I spent more than $500 on yarn and other craft supplies in 2014, much of that on yarn that I haven't used yet. Toward the end of 2014, I declared myself to be on a "yarn diet" and didn't set foot in a craft store for over 6 weeks.

So, I had a need for bright white yarn... and the need for one of those "hugs from an Unseen God." So, I put in an "order" for a special hug... for somebody to give me some bright white yarn. It wasn't all that unusual. Four or five times in 2014, I had people give me bags of yarn, or leave some yarn on my desk at church. A few days passed. I still didn't start on that scarf order because I didn't have the white yarn. A few more days passed. I decided that my "order "was too difficult... so when I placed an Amazon order for some Christmas presents, I added a skein of bright white yarn to my order.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2015. I had been making a lot of stuffed animals for craft shows. I was getting to the bottom of my last bag of poly-fill. I remember thinking, "Oh, well, I guess I'll have to make a trip to Joanns and hope I can get out of there without buying too much yarn." The whole lesson about "hugs from an Unseen God" didn't even occur to me. I planned on getting to Joanns on my next day off, five days later. But God had another plan. I was sitting in my office the next day when a friend walked in with two bags of poly-fill. She said, "We got too much of this for a craft and it's taking up too much storage space. If you can use it, it's yours."

When I got home that afternoon, and picked up my current project, I saw the skein of white yarn and realized that I had just gotten my hug. And then, this morning, I got part two, when reading the Daily Bread Devotional. It started with a bit of an unusual story, about the fact that tadpoles, fish and spiders have all fallen from the sky like rain. But God showers His people with blessings. The last line of the devotional really drove home the message for me: "Whether many or few, the good things we receive come with a message from God: I see your needs. You are mine, and I will care for you." 

There are big needs in our lives and there are little needs. Sometimes it's when God meets the little needs that we remember that He's caring for the big stuff too.

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