August 22, 2011


Did you know that if you stand under a night sky and hold a dime in your hand at arm's length, you obscure the light and beauty of millions of stars? Millions. The closer you move that dime to your eye, the more stars disappear from sight.

At the start of the 2009 Hannah's Prayer retreat, our speaker, Ginger Garrett, asked us to decide what we would focus on that weekend. Would we clutch that dime close to our eye, seeing only our own pain and grief, or would we set it aside to gain access to the light and beauty we had been blocking out?

No stranger to infertility, Ginger told us some of her struggles of pregnancy loss and infertility. As she shared details that many of us related to, she introduced the idea of a ticker tape that runs through our minds. "I was so focused on what I wanted, that all I could see was women who had what I wanted. Why does she have what I want?" That question wormed its way into so many thoughts and actions; her dime was as close to her eye as it could be.

Over time, through the work of the Spirit, the recurring thought in her head wasn't, "Why does she have what I want?" One day she realized it had changed to, "What do I have that she needs?"

There was a mad rush as everyone in the room hurried to jot that down. That thought shook me more than I wanted to let on, and I've been processing it ever since.

1 Peter 4:10 says, "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." In the margin I have written, "You never get any gifts in Christ's service to benefit yourself; they are always for the benefit of others."

The gifts we have are not given to make us feel good about ourselves. I can't remember how long it took me to realize that my writing has very little to do with me, and everything to do with how it reaches others. Our gifts are given for the benefit of those around us. Sometimes that means taking the focus off my own pain, and reaching out to a mom in need, even if holding her baby is the most gut wrenching thing I do that day.

As the body of Christ, we need to be aware of our own gifts and the needs of others. If you are convinced that you have no gifts that would benefit those around you, I'm here to tell you you're wrong. Plain and simple. God wouldn't graft anyone into the body through the saving work of Christ to sit on the sidelines. If He's supplying gifts to His people for His people, He's not showing partiality. There are no bench warmers in the body of Christ.

Let's not pretend it's an easy work. I keep going back to that phrase I read awhile ago: "Faith makes things possible, not easy." It's so true. Setting that dime down, taking the focus off our own pain and grief to be effective workers in God's kingdom...that's hard work. But we are equipped; check out Ephesians 6:10-20 if you need a reminder. God doesn't send you into the playing field unequipped. If you need a reminder of your gifts, ask Him. You'll be amazed how quickly you'll realize the needs of those around you when you're aware of the gifts He's given you.

Thelma is wife, writer, and relentless joy-seeker: a Canadian girl learning to love God, her best friend and the joys and sorrows of their life as two. When she's not writing or putting her feet up, she likes to pretend she knows a thing or two about photography and dreams of running a marathon some day.

Author Website: Life as Two