Ripples of Thanks

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Posted by Lezlie Winberry

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“Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Heb. 13:16
            (If you look closely, you’ll see two trees: one behind the other.)
            Lord, I don’t have the time to call any more, I voiced inside my head after my friend, who struggles with M.S., had commented, “I miss your morning calls.”
            I’d been calling her faithfully for the past three years by 6 am—skipping only when I went out of town. I’d read a portion of scripture, we’d discuss it, then we'd pray before starting our day. But this school year, as her health deteriorated, she’d still be asleep or too groggy to talk when I called. I found myself torn inside when she kept telling me how much my calls meant. I valued my devotional time, but needed to spend it upon waking, too early now for her and her caregivers to be woken from their precious sleep.
            I told her I’d be able to spend more time on the phone with her on weekends. Still, she’d say, “Wake me up, I don’t care. I miss our daily times with God.”
            Lord, I found myself complaining, It’s too hard to call any later than 6 am. Can’t I just have my own time with You?
            “I’ll see you this weekend,” I told her one morning when I was able to squeeze a short call in before heading to work.
            “Okay, I’d like that.” She paused. “Thank you for calling this morning. It means a lot to me,” she said before hanging up. That Friday, I made the two-hour trek to her house. When I arrived, she introduced me to one of her caregivers.
            “How nice to meet the voice on the other end,” the woman said. “Your calls mean so much; not just to her, but to me and the other caregivers as well.” (Because of my friend’s painful and unsteady hands, she puts her phone on speaker in order to talk and listen without the strain of holding it up to her ear.)
            “Yes,” said the other caregiver who was leaving for the day. “Your devotions go a long way,” she smiled. “You’re not just feeding Bonnie, but each one of us. We look forward to hearing what you have to share. Thank you.”
            Driving home two days later, I snapped a picture of the trees—focusing only on the one in front. God reminded me that the younger women taking care of my friend were receiving from the ripple effect of my commitment. Even though it’s hard to make the time, I’m thankful when I’m able. I’m thankful others are thankful for my sacrifice to mentor my friend who, in previous years, had mentored me.
            Again, I think of the trees. The larger, older one is behind the younger, smaller one. Yet they compliment each other. They stand together, limbs lifted high, and remind me of the simple power behind Hebrews 12:28: “Let us be thankful, and so, worship God.” Worship in the form of a simple act of the will: giving thanks.

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