Smart Lunch Smart Kid Devotional

This weekend I was invited to a beautiful, catered affair…. An afternoon book club at a friend’s gorgeous home.  It was a special book club because the author of the book was there to lead the discussion.  To start the conversation, the hostess asked us all to go around and introduce ourselves and say a fun fact because many of us had never met.  The first lady owned a catering company, the next was a former Miss USA competitor, the next started a prominent charity, the next was an attorney, the next was in a top 10 music video, the next was a surgeon… you get the picture.  Then it was little ole me’s turn.  I could not think of one thing nearly as fantastic as what all of the previous women had said about themselves.  I felt so out of my league!

Yesterday, when I was telling my sister about the experience, she quickly reminded me of how I spent last week- volunteering with VBS.  I had the wonderful job of organizing the mission donations for the week.  Each day I was overwhelmed by how much God provided that day.  The campers, AKA God’s hands and feet, brought in 600 books on Monday, 800 toiletries on Tuesday, 3,000 diapers on Wednesday, 400 lbs of canned goods on Thursday, and 221 pairs of socks on Friday.  All of these donations were delivered to 7 organizations in our community to serve those in need.  Now, when I think of VBS, I can remind myself of how much God used me to do his service.  I can find comfort in knowing that God made me, honed my skills, and then allowed opportunities for me to use the gifts He gave me.  I may not be a surgeon, Miss US nor an attorney- but in God’s eyes, I am just as powerful for His Kingdom.  This has been a great reminder to me that I need to look at God for His approval and not myself or others.

As we make lunches today, not one of us does it all.  We may be the only person putting the sandwiches in ziplock bags… but before we even touch that sandwich, several other hands have already purchased the supplies, delivered them, set them up, and then made the sandwich to hand to you for the bag.  Every single one of those jobs is just as important.  Without each of them, the next could not occur.

This is just like the body of Christ.  Romans 12:4-5 tells us “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”  To me, this is a complicated way of saying that we all have strengths and skills.  Some of us are leaders, others are doers, while others are organizers.  Some of us think about logistics, others try to make things speedy and efficient and others are cheerleaders.  All of these skills are important when trying to accomplish a common goal.

As I think back on the missions donated at VBS, I think about how everyone doing a little is what accomplished SO much.  No one person brought in 1,000 items on their own.  No two people brought in 500 items on their own.  Instead, everyone pitched in some and with the sheer force of our numbers…. Everyone doing a little made a WHOLE lot.  We each contributed to the Body of Christ to do His work and serve so many more than we ever could individually.

So, today, as we each do our “little” job in this big process of SLSK… don’t forget that each part is just as important as the rest as we all work together to feed others as the Body of Christ.  Give thanks to God for giving you your skills and bring Him joy by continuing to use them to further His Kingdom.

Prayer:  God, thank you for bringing all of us individuals together today to form your Body.  Make us mindful of the gifts you have given us and how we can share them with others.  We pray your blessings over these meals and the homes where they will be enjoyed.  Allow this food to be a physical nourishment but also a spiritual reminder of Your love.  Thank you for using your people to recognize a need and use your Body of believers to address it.  In your name we pray.  Amen.

Ode to SAG

My least favorite thing about the United Methodist church is our pastor merry go round.  Every 4-8 years, a pastor leaves a church and a new one usually takes his/her place.  In theory, this is great for the growth and transition of churches but in practice is a sad time for the congregation.  I am especially struggling with it now as our beloved, SAG, Susan Allen Grady, is leaving my church and going to another.

Since we were on spring break when the announcement was made that she was leaving our church, I found out on Facebook.  I just couldn’t believe it- I never expected her to be leaving us this summer.  I still haven’t found it in me to “like” that Facebook post.

SAG and I started at our church around the same time.  I first met her at a low country boil at our senior pastor’s home.  She seemed reserved but very friendly.  I had no idea that she would become one of my biggest mentors over the coming years.

The first time I was able to work with her it was to help plan a church picnic.  It was during the planning meetings that I begin to appreciate SAG’s honesty and diplomatic processing.  Her witty sense of humor also started to shine.  She has no problem poking fun at herself either.

As the years went by, she asked me to help plan several other events and I had the joy of continuing to work with her.  I got to see her in action as a preacher and a young mother to a high spirited daughter.  On top of that, her husband is also a preacher.  That is a lot to balance and she always does it with a smile and plenty of grace.

She works to make everyone feel special by being generous with her time.  She never rushes a conversation and always makes her office open to whomever needs to chat.  SAG has been a cheerleader for my writing by encouraging me to share it publicly and by helping review/edit a small group study discussion I wrote.

She also has been instrumental in me completing two Disciple classes over the last few years.  Because of her encouragement, my Bible knowledge has grown exponentially.  She has also helped gently push me in starting and leading two small groups.  As a result, my spiritual friendships have deep roots now and my faith has grown deeper as well.

In my mind, the biggest effect SAG has had on me is through establishing a weekly communion service.  Last week, I was able to say a few words during one of her last communion visits.  Here is what I shared (through lots of tears):

FullSizeRender (7)“At this stage in motherhood life, getting to Sunday School and “big church” is difficult with a loud, rambunctious 4 year old son.  Thankfully, this communion service has helped me fill this church void each week.  Susan has consistently filled it with uplifting and thought provoking homilies.  Her commitment to recruiting others to serve and involving attendees in participating does not go unnoticed.  I feel this weekly service is one of the most intimate opportunities at our church.  I’m grateful for her leadership in starting the service and continuing to make it a priority.

Susan is an encourager.  Between my writing, calling to share at communion last year, and forming small groups- Susan is always there to help and cheer me along.  She makes herself available for mentoring and encouragement whenever needed.  I appreciate your investment in me and my faith.

As a fellow lifelong Methodist, I’m going to miss the strong, female leadership that Susan brings to our church.  But, at the same time- I’m proudly cheering you on as you assume your new senior pastor position.  We love you and will miss you.”

Obviously, I am sad to see her leave for so many personal reasons.  I am going to miss her smile, leadership, sense of humor, and encouragement.  But, at the same time, I am so proud of her to be moving into a senior pastor role.  I know that God has big things in store for her and her new church.  She is a lover of people and relationships and I know that will carry her far in life.  I am just proud to be on her cheerleader squad during life’s journey.

On a positive note, she said I can still text her even though she isn’t my official pastor anymore.  I am glad to still call her my friend.

Best wishes SAG!

love, brooke

Control P

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Today was a big milestone in my writing.  Something I wrote, created, and edited was sent to a printer to be distributed to others!  I realize that this may not sound like much, but for me it’s major.  My work will be put in others’ hands this weekend to be used for a small group session.  I wrote this 4 week session with the intent of it being used for this study.

I’m thankful to those who’ve read through it, offered encouragement and helpful feedback!  Praying big things over this little study!

I realize it’s a baby step for many to hit Control P but for me it’s an EEK! step.

What have you done recently that has made you say EEK! ?

learn, brooke

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