Friday, March 09, 2018

Cooking Up Love

"That's not fair." Those words escaped out of my mouth, but I wished they'd stayed in my head.

Don't you hate it when you do that? It feels like the brain mouth connection are lacking an important item—the filter that polishes up disappointment and delivers kinder messages.

I had stopped a dear friend in the church hall and offered to bring her a meal after her upcoming surgery.  She smiled sweetly and said, "Thanks, but that won't be necessary. I'm cooking up a storm and freezing meals ahead of time."

Then I blurted out. "That's not fair." And wished I had a net to scoop up those three word-escapees.

She blinked and took a step back.

"Wait, let me explain." I paused. "You are the first person to sign up and bring a meal to someone in need just like you did after my surgery.  Why is that?" I waited for her to think about it.

"Because I love to cook and love helping someone in need." She grinned.

"So you love being a blessing to others." I nodded. "But you aren't giving me a chance to be a blessing to you. That's not fair."

The grin vanished and her brows furrowed. "You are right. I'm robbing folks that have a desire and gift of helping others from blessing me with homemade love. Instead I've been feeling bad about wasting people's time. But that's not how I feel at all when I'm cooking for someone in need." The grin returned. "I'd be blessed if you'd bring me dinner. Thanks."

After ironing out diet restrictions and food preferences, we embraced and went on our way.

A few weeks later, I delivered a hot meal to her house and we enjoyed a short visit. A double blessing for each of us—in a casserole dish.

I understand my friend's first response. Most folks don't want to  bother others and we pride ourselves in being fully capable of planning ahead to care for our own needs.

And I understand the tremendous blessing of helping someone with a hot meal especially after surgery when we are helpless to alleviate pain or hasten a quick recovery.

The take-away is that it's wonderful to be the bless-er and an honor to be the bless-ee.

I see it this way. When we are the bless-er, we are being the hands of Christ helping someone else. And when we are the bless-ee, we are the feet of Christ having expensive perfume poured over us. Both are win-wins accomplished with love.

"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." 1 Peter 4:10 NIV.

May God bless you with opportunities to be both this week—the hands and feet of Christ—and with a heart full of love.

What about you? Do you have a hard time letting others bless you with kindness? What has helped you overcome and allow someone else to serve you? I'm all ears.

Tammy Van Gils plants words and grows insightful stories blooming with hope. She is a thriving survivor of abuse, abandonment and adversity. How? By the Master Gardener's grace, the Vine's love, and the Advocate's renewal—emotionally and spiritually. She is sowing life with her husband of 35 years, a Yorkie Poo named Moose, and a dozen chickens. She's honored to be a guest blogger and also a contributor to The Wonders of Nature Devotion Book, Let the Earth Rejoice Devotions, So God Made a Dog, Worthy Inspired and Short and Sweet Too, Grace Publishing.