Monday, August 19, 2013

Revisiting the Marina's Kitchen Table Archives - #1

I recently found the hard drive of all my first posts, writing in a Yahoo Group called Marina's Kitchen Table. It was the same thing as here, but perhaps a little more devotional in writing, as I leaned hard on God during a really difficult season in life. 

I'm sharing those first writings again, as we make another move, and I anticipate my time at the computer to be more focused on getting the work done on that handbook on Missionary Care. 

I hope that you enjoy these entries as much as I do. I have NO idea where this journey will go, as I was as irregular a writer then as I am now! :)  Some things never change! 

Be blessed!
Marina
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“The most pleasure in life is giving with NO strings attached- just the gift-”
Bill Bull, November 10, 2001

What words would you say to impart some great secret that you have learned over your life? The quote above was written by our dearest friend Bill, to my daughter Melissa. He wrote from a hospital bed, when he was unable to speak, just days before his death. After encouraging her in her walk with God he wrote the thing that was the most valuable lesson to him…to GIVE…without expectations…from the heart as Jesus did.

When there is a great need in our country, we give. We send blankets and food to tornado stricken communities.  We give water and supplies to  hurricane damaged states. When lives are lost we send money to put children through college and cry with the widows. We give our own blood to help others maintain life. We will our organs to give strangers a quality of life that they have lost. When disaster hits closer to home we give our time and talents to help our own communities. But why do we wait?

There is an old saying that I haven’t heard much lately…“Flowers for the living”. Or how about simply, “Celebrate Life”? To give when it’s not needed, or rather, not expected. To give from the heart, “just because.”  Because you love them. Because we know that it’s been a rough year, or month, or week, or day. Because you appreciate the way that they are there for you when you need them. Because you CAN.

So what can we give? With Christmas over we have given plates of cookies, or elegant gifts wrapped in finest papers and silky bows, spending beyond our bank accounts and leaving us exhausted and disappointed. It’s what we have learned to do. It’s what our families have always done. It’s the American way. Well, let’s change it!

I would  suggest that we start with a note. A few kind words, handwritten on plain paper, dated and signed is easily done. It takes a little time, and your own heart will be warmed with the blessing it brings. What do you write? Maybe it’s a special memory that you have, an event shared with them that has been on your heart. Perhaps it’s “thank you” ,or “I love you”, or “I’m sorry”. Consider that it may be the last thing that you can tell them, because we never know when we are called home.

If you feel prompted to do more, then consider a gift of time. A cup of coffee and a cookie at a quiet table is a wonderful, relaxing setting to share words. Make a memory. Take a walk. Take a drive. Take a few minutes to tear down a wall and let someone know that you have missed them. That you understand. Or that you don’t understand, but you want them to know that you care, and you are here for them. Now.

Pray FOR them. Pray WITH them. Pray in your note, in person, or on the phone. Let them know that you are thankful to God for this person and how He has used them in your life. A written prayer of blessing is a wonderful thing to have tucked away in a drawer. It’s not about accomplishments, or talents, or gifts. It’s just about being. It reminds you that your life is of value, that someone is blessed by you being there, for who God has made you. It lets us know that He has used us, and IS using us.

I think that somehow, if we as a family (or church, or community, or nation) started to do this, that we could impact this world. We can decrease depression and low self esteem. We can increase friendships and share God’s love. We can tear down walls of indifference. And we will become stronger in Christ, for praying, for caring. For having a heart that was shaped after His. For giving the gift with no strings attached. Could there be a better way to start the year??

If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will find it.

Jesus, Matthew 10:39 NLT