When God does take-out

I’ve mentioned before that God often uses us to minister to one another. Sure, God could keep all our interaction focused solely on Him (vertical interaction) but humans are basically social creatures, and it’s also in His plan that we interact with one another. That’s horizontal interaction. We pray for one another and bear one another’s burdens.

As St. Teresa of Avila said, (rough paraphrase,) God has no hands now but yours, no voice now but yours. Meaning that instead of encountering a burning bush, most of us encounter God’s direction and correction in the day to day ministry of other people doing no more than leading good lives.

I’m going to take you back in time a few years and position the camera over my shoulder. It was a Very Bad Day. We’ve all had those, and I was engaged full-time in feeling sorry for myself. I had no energy at all due to other stuff going on, but nevertheless I’d been counseling a mom in another country who was pregnant with an anencephalic baby and was beside herself with grief. There was a language barrier between us, but she had no real support system other than the moms of the online group. By the time I got to the grocery store,¬†I was spent and it was only 11 o’clock.

As we passed the greeting card aisle, one in the thinking-of-you section caught my eye. It said, “You are a blessing to me.”

I thought toward my guardian angel, “I wish I were a blessing to anyone.”

Sometimes I do feel as if the angel replies. This time I felt something like “?” and then I thought of my mother.

I thought, Well, she has to feel that way. She’s my mom.

A few other people popped into my head: my Patient Husband. My father. My children. For every one, I had an excuse why I was not actually a blessing in their lives.

I schlepped through the rest of the grocery store in a lovely funk, holding my “I’m a curse to everyone I love” mood like a cloak around me. We paid. I dragged myself home, lugged a hundred dollars in groceries up two flights of stairs, and then put them all away. That done, I turned on my computer.

There, from the mom in Europe, was an email. The subject line was, “You are a treasure to me.”

I just sat there staring.

Sometimes, when we least deserve it and most need it, God does take-out.


  1. Illya

    Don’t always assume children are a blessing, and moms “have to feel that way” If she says you are a blessing, it is no less valid than that some setimnet from someone else. Maybe she just says it more, because she means it so much!

  2. Cricket

    It’s like happiness. Daughter says she can’t list “sun rose” and “hug from Mommy” in her happiness diary, because they happen every day. I say they’re the best kind, because you can look forward to them every day. A “routine” blessing is still a blessing, and so is the fact that it’s routine.