Monday, April 30, 2012

Counting One Thousand Gifts ~ April

"How many loaves do you have?" He asked them.


It was in response to their question: "Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?"


I think I've had the same sentiments in the last week and a half ~ Where WILL anyone be able to find enough bread HERE in this desolate place to satisfy THESE people?  The question resounded in my heart and flesh, and I became one of them. It wasn't pretty either. Yeah, Jesus. There isn't really any way anything can be done, so let's just forget about it. And no one else really cares anyway, so why try?  There's not enough concern, not enough support, not enough money, not enough energy, not enough vision, not enough time. It's too much.  How will anyone be able to do anything in this place with these people?
My friend Karla's beautiful loaves

But Jesus was determined to feed the people He "felt compassion" for, so He just responded with, "How many loaves do you have?" Which is funny (or frustrating) because He had very recently fed another larger crowd with less available bread, and the disciples didn't just watch, they were a part of the whole experience.  They were the ones left holding twelve baskets of "leftovers" after passing out five loaves of bread to five thousand people. They really should have known better.  They should have eagerly anticipated this next miraculous provision of Jesus.


And isn't it funny (or frustrating) that this was the very place in Mark I happened to be reading last week?  I don't think it was any coincidence. (Don't really believe in those anyway.) I was feeling tired, frustrated, and like a lot of efforts over a long time have been fruitless.  I was fantasizing about fruitful, abounding-in-bread-places, with different, non-needy, high capacity people, and this "happened" to be my reading for the day.


"How many loaves do you have?" Jesus asked me.






And then I thought of April and my gift list.  There were wonderful times of worship during Holy Week, delightful coffee dates, glorious getaways and girl talk, good food, great accomplishments, and even laughter.  Really, it holds a lot of loaves.  Much more than the seven they had in that moment, and yet I still lost sight.  All these gifts of grace and I still put on the lenses of desolation and famine and hopelessness.


Even today I'm finding it difficult to keep the gifts in sight, but through grace, by faith I choose to eagerly anticipate the next miraculous provision of Jesus ~ which may be simply (or majestically!) a cup of tea in a bookstore while pondering such things.


1. Bowls of soup for Sunday lunch (round)
2. Ring of fellowship around my dining room table (round)
3. The joyful cycle of setting my mind on the spirit (round)
4. Holy Week artwork by Kayla on sketch paper (white)
5. White clouds replacing grey ones (white)
6. Coconut milk on oatmeal with chia seeds (white)
7. "But the Lord was pleased to crush Him..." Isaiah 53:10 (His Word)
8. "But He Himself bore the sin of many..." Isaiah 53:12 (His Word)
9. "Listen carefully to me and eat what is good....delight in abundance." Isaiah 55:2 (His Word)
10.  Steamed chai with a friend (11am)
11. Finding Kayla an Easter dress &  sunshine (2pm)
12. Evening baseball victories & warm soup waiting (6pm)
13. His hands and feet to the cross (nailed together)
14. My rescue & redemption (nailed down)
15. My freedom & forgiveness (nailed down)
16. Salvation of dear ones (waited for)
17. A bride for my brother (waited for)
18. His meeting me in faith (waited for)
19. New & real joy in my heart (rising up)
20. Kayla's spring seedlings (rising up)
21. Glimpse of glorification & its beautiful hope (rising up)
22. Robert being encouraged and complimented (heard)
23. Me sleeping under covers mid-day (hiding)
24. Bible, journal, and good books in a quiet room (held)
25. Oven full of fresh muffins (opened up)
26. Hurting heart of a friend (opened up)
27. A new Bible study with the kids (opened up)
28. New ideas motivations for home/time management (budding/blooming)
29. A teen's maturity, wise choices (budding/blooming)
30. Spring bulbs in front flower bed
31. Thursday running route with Betsy (worn)
32. Paperback copy of Stepping Heavenward (worn)
33. New $10 TJ Maxx cardigan (worn)
34. Sun shining on outdoor cafe table & conversation (bright)
35.  Kayla's mastery of memory work for CC (bright)
36. Pink raspberry icing on chocolate GF cupcake (bright)
37. Flowering trees, pink and white (found looking up)
38. Admiration for my husband (found looking up)
39. Kayla swinging HIGH on new tree swing (found looking up)
40. Restaurant style tortilla chips (in a bag)
41. Recently ordered books (in a box)
42. "The very nature of joy...to have is to want, to want is to have." C.S. Lewis (in a book)
43. Church ministry (hard eucharisteos)
44. Awareness of sin (hard eucharisteos)
45. New parenting terrain (hard eucharisteos)
46. Words, thought, ideas for writing, blogging  (woven together)
47. Hymn lyrics and Theology (woven together)
48. My life with Robert's (woven together)
49. Dining room sets from Memo & Sarah (inherited)
50. Curiosity & desire to learn (inherited)
51. Joy in serving (inherited)
52. Windowpanes with sunlight streaming (square)
53. Rice Krispie Treats (square)
54. Study of Doctrine & Theology (square)
55. Good books on my nightstand (stacked)
56. Cards & letters of encouragement (stashed)
57. An anxious & angry heart (stilled)
58. "The hope of glory." Col. 1:27 (found in Christ)
59. A high priest who can sympathize. Heb. 4:15 (found in Christ)
60. "All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Col. 2:3 (found in Christ)
61. The Holy Spirit (close)
62. Beaches AND mountains (close)
63. Relationship with Kayla (close)
64. His word reflecting Truth and love (reflecting)
65. Relationships reflecting feedback on my heart (reflecting)
66. Children reflecting my good and bad traits (reflecting)
67. Emotions that prod toward God (fragile)
68. New believers, God's work in them (fragile)
69. Newborn babies still in hospital (fragile)
70. New spring scarf (cloth)
71. Resolve via the Holy Spirit for joy (steel)
72. Picnic table (wood)
73. Martin (moving)
74. Steve (moving)
75. Gregory (moving)
76. Difficult, but good talks with my dad ("ugly beautiful")
77. Desperate prayer pleas on knees ("ugly beautiful")
78. Sanctification ("ugly beautiful")
79. $1 mangoes at Whole Foods (orange)
80. Ribbons & flowers on a new necklace (orange)
81. University of TX Longhorns, Alma Mater (orange)
82. Playful kids (in dirt)
83. Joy in hard work (in dirt)
84. Farm fresh food and flowers (in dirt)
85. Nike gift cards from uncles to nephews (given)
86. Special lunch for seniors (made)
87.  Robert's time to listen and serve (sacrificed)
88. Kayla's video camera (surprisingly found)
89. Kayla's headphones/speaker (surprisingly found)
90. Fatigue and sadness that remind me of my daily need for Christ (surprisingly found)


And still more....


91. "Mystery" by Charlie Hall
92. Yummy potato skins
93. Old photos of my kids
94. Books that teach and sharpen
95. "Downton Abbey"
96. Holding newborns
97. Laughing at toddlers
98. Sabbath silence
99. Running with Betsy
100. Homeschooling, and the opportunity to shield, protect, disciple, and equip my kids
101. Opportunities to serve and bless others
102. Memory Master success
103. Raw granola ("Grawnola")
104. Bed & Breakfasts
105. Girl talk with pastor's wives
106. Text messaging
107. iTunes gift giving options
108. A successful road test and driver's license
109. Electric blankets for cold Aprils
110. Emotional Purity ~ God-timed readings


1 comment:

Wendy said...

lovely lists, joining up from Ann's :)