Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Friday, February 17, 2017

Oh Where is My Hairbrush?!

The messages from the motel came in for days on end.

Each lasted several minutes.

"I need more food."
"I need a blanket,"
"I need clothes,"
"I need a hair brush."

No mention of the magic word "please." No intonation indicating the needs were requests.

They were demands.

This past December, I shared a story about a woman overjoyed to receive a can opener in The Best Gift Ever . She lived at a local motel where we assist the residents placed there by social services. My interaction with her gave me joy and made me view my world of relative privilege in a different light.

The motel occupant of Room 115 did not evoke the same warm feelings. Her reaction to our offer of help was the exact opposite of overjoyed. She complained about too many starchy items in her weekly bag of groceries. She complained there wasn't enough food to last her for the week. She complained her emergency needs were not being met - she needed food TODAY!

She asked, asked, asked and complained, complained, complained. 

It was obvious there were issues at play with her mental health, but the badgering still required an extra measure of grace I wasn't sure I was up to serving.

We rarely get items like hair brushes donated to our food pantry. During one half-hour long phone call with Room 115, I tried to explain the lack of hair brushes, and the fact that we have what we have, so if she gets chicken noodle soup instead of a requested "chunky soup that's more like a meal" it's because that's all that is available. And if I give her one can of tuna fish instead of two or three, it's because there's not enough to distribute one to everyone if I do. My explanations fell on deaf ears as she ended the call with yet another request for a hair brush.

"Okay" I thought. "I'll just run to the dollar store and pick one up. It's a small effort and maybe it will finally make her happy."

I imagined the next call would go more like "Thanks so much for sending over the hair brush! That was so appreciated!" I smiled a little as I played the scenario out in my mind. I might even go so far as to say I was feeling pleased with myself.

It was a short-lived pat on the back.

Her next message? "That type of hair brush doesn't work well with my hair. And next time, I need more bread!"

I was SO annoyed! Here I had gone above and beyond without any kind of thank you for the effort, even if it wasn't what she wanted.

How could anyone be so ignorant?

As I drove into work the next day, I thought about Room 115 and all her needs. I had provided her with a little more food than I'd given to other single people, had found her a blanket, had people on the hunt for clothes in her size, and had purchased a hairbrush, yet it wasn't enough. It wasn't even appreciated.

Then I heard God say "You know, you can be like that too."

WHAT? Me, God? An ungrateful, demanding, full of needs complainer? You sure?

But I soon confessed there was more truth in that statement than I would care to admit.

How many times did I barely utter a cursory, hit the ceiling and bounce back "thank you" before launching into my prayer requests?

And how often was I unhappy with the gifts He'd given me because they didn't work well with what I wanted or thought I needed?

How frequently did I feel my requests were not fulfilled at the speed I would like, if at all?

There are times when all I did...when all I do...is ask, ask, ask and complain, complain, complain.

Yet God always serves up an extra measure of grace whether I deserve it or not.

Truth is, it's me who can be ignorant. I need to learn to rejoice more over can openers and complain less about hair brushes.

And I need to offer a little more grace to Room 115...