The smell of burnt mulling spices woke me. The first time it happened, I sat bolt upright in bed and sniffed all over the house until I found the culprit. We heat these four log walls and six log rooms of our home with a wood stove. It’s the driest form of heat imaginable, but it’s heat and it’s warm and I am thankful for it. I put a pot of water on the stove to put humidity back into the air and like to scent it with spices. But when the water evaporates it leaves charred spices to wake me up in the middle of the night. Never the middle of the day. Always the middle of the night.
As I drug my sleep walking self to re-fill the pot, I felt the pull of my writing chair. And my computer. And my dimly lit living room in the quiet and the still. And the warmth this night before snowmageddon visits our little spot of the earth.
The talk of a foot of snow is paralyzing me before it even gets here. And at the reminder before bed from my farmer man that a power outage will be certain instead of even probable, my childlike excitement left. Like the water evaporated from the stove pot, my anticipation for this snow I’ve been longing to see left my soul.
I can do without a lot…but power is not my first or even last choice. No power and two children and four cold dogs that will want to be inside all together with no Tom and Jerry or news or water is not my idea of fun.
“Did you buy more kerosene for the oil lamps?” No, I didn’t think about that from the last time we needed them. I don’t think about things until they happen. And it is needed. Right then. Not a forethought but an afterhought and then a “should have” thought. That’s how my over-crowded and scattered brain tends to work. In reaction mode, not preparation mode. That would be too normal and sane and wise for me.
I’m giving all I have and some days it isn’t even a drop in the bucket of what they need. What I need. What He needs from me. But it’s all I have. Or is it? Am I really giving all I have? Can I say I gave all I had?
There was a woman once who gave the least of anyone, but gave more than everyone. And Jesus credited it to her as Righteousness. Holiness. She gave all. she. had. And in the worlds eyes it was NOTHING. USELESS. But in the eyes of the One she gave it to, it was worth more than all of the others gifts put together.
And there was another woman that did this unabashedly crazy thing one time long ago. She had a jar of the most expensive oil and she poured it all out. To the last drop. She poured it out in front of everyone, over the head of her Master and they called her crazy. And he called her “wonderfully significant” and promised that her story would be told for generations to come. Forever etched in the Word for all who ever read it and tell it to read and be told.
Who in their right mind would waste their most expensive treasure in such a way? I’ll tell you who.
A woman fully immersed in her own depravity and fully covered by Grace and she knew it. And she knew the One that covered her and would soon be covered with the blood that made that Grace possible was for a moment covered with all she had to offer. The best she had to offer.
He doesn’t want part of us, he wants all of us. He doesn’t need a piece of us, He needs all of us.
Your all and my all are different. They may look very different to the world, but God knows. He sees. He is the Provider, after all. He knows what we have to give and He knows the heart by which we give through.
I can’t give anything I don’t own. I can’t give money I don’t have. Time I won’t make. Treasure I don’t possess. I get that. We can only give from what we have. And it’s different for everyone.
He knows when we are holding back and He knows why. He knows the worry and the fear. And He covers us with Grace regardless. But oh how He must delight when He sees one give. her. all. How the angels must dance and sing when a daughter is giving her all to her King and blessing Him through it.
And what I have to give is in direct proportion to what is in me. You can’t get water from a pot on a stove that has all evaporated. We must take in if we will have anything left to take out. We have to fill up to pour out.
And when we give it all we have He is always faithful and just to fill us back up if we come back to Him for more. Yes, I know that. I’ve lived it. Living it now.
When we give all we have to Him, people notice. They judge. They mock.
They recognize a difference and the prey on it. They may even desire to give themselves, but they don’t know how. They can’t give what they don’t have.
As a mom in the trenches of dirty diapers and toddler bottoms needing wiping. every. single. hour. Dishes overflowing and no energy to wash them, let alone dry and put them away. Clothes mildewing in wash you forgot about yesterday and three more loads needing to wash today. Dried up marshmallows, gummy wrappers and hidden puddles of sticky Icee on your floors. Yes, that’s my reality. ever. single. day.
What do I have to give? It’s not much some days. It’s not expensive oil. It’s not even always monetary. It’s my heart. My trust. Mine and your dependence on our Life source to give us the strength to make it one more day. One more hour. One more second. In the trenches.
And the sweet reward is peace. In the midst of the battle, even in the trench, there is peace.
Jesus just wants me. You. Us. Our devotion. Our attention, when He can get it. Our love.
And in return we find the strength to wipe another bottom. Play another round of tea time with our little girl. Read the same book in the same day for the 30th time with the same amount of inflection as the first to our little boy. Wash that next load of clothes. Make another lunch for our man. Come up with yet another hamburger meal for our family’s supper. Advise your friend on matters you don’t feel qualified, but so glad she does and that she comes to you for help.