We have a girl in our church who God has on loan to us. With a singing voice like hers, we appreciate the gesture. A blessing indeed.
Jori’s dad got sick. It came on quickly and with a mighty force. Our young church came together to discern from Scripture what we could do to help this man who became ill. We prayed for him in our worship services, often laying hands on him; our elders poured oil over him while praying and church emails gave us ongoing updates for specific things to pray about on our own.
The Lord called Jori’s dad home anyway. We won’t understand illness and death this side of Heaven. He died too young; missing opportunities to be present when she graduates from college, gets married someday and the list continues.
The women in our newer church provide a meal ministry. When families within our church community encounter times of illness or grief, a request gets sent for the families to have several meals delivered to their home, usually over the period of a few weeks. And the meal coordinator sent out an email requesting meals for Jori and her mom.
I signed up to take their family a meal. One of a handful of women who did so. I didn’t sign up because I am a gourmet chef. There are many women in our church more gifted at this ministry than I am to be sure. Actually, every time I sign up, I make sure I don’t take a meal too closely to Sarah or Margaret, because they would definitely make me look bad. Their meals offer several courses. And, as if you could ever be hungry again after feasting on their dinner, they often throw in midnight snacks as well. All in a cute basket.
However, traces of God, right?
I can see where my experiences in 4-H cooking classes, my years of making Ramen noodles in college and cooking for my own family qualifies me to participate in the meal ministry at some level. It can’t all rest on the shoulders of two women, right?
Well, the day came for my meal to be prepared and delivered. Days of separation from the meals already brought by Sarah and Margaret. At the time, my husband and I were overseeing our new home construction. Just a few months away from completing it. In this crunch time, I never knew what my days would look like. I might run to a paint store, or drive to a couple lumber yards comparing styles and pricing for door trim. About noon, he sent me off on an errand. And, you guessed it, I hadn’t had a chance to prepare the meal for Jori and her mom yet. Actually, I don’t think I’d gotten around to shopping for the ingredients either. As I said earlier, I believe God prepared me for the meal ministry because it’s a big job for a church and I can cook. But in the God traces that brought me to this service, it certainly did not seem to be my greatest gifting.
The afternoon came and went. I had to call and get directions to the ladies’ home and also discuss the timing of delivery. As God would have it, Jori and her mom were busy that afternoon as well. And I think they had evening plans. Really only a small window of time to eat dinner at all. You know what we decided on for my contribution? I called in pizza for them. Laugh if you must, but think about it. One less thing they had to do while grieving. And I paid for the meal, my treat!
The best part of this story comes when I stopped by briefly to drop off the pizza, before heading home with one for my own family (who has time to cook in the midst of all that craziness). Jori opened the door, knowing someone from church had signed up to bring them a meal, probably hoping Margaret had signed up for another day and had chocolate brownies for dessert. When she saw the pizza box, bless her heart, she gave a fist pump and said “Yes!” Because what teenager wants chicken alfredo over pepperoni pizza anyway?
All this to encourage you to consider volunteering for ministries in your church though they may not be your top gifts. There are several ministries that require many hands to do the work. It can’t all be left up to those that God has clearly equipped to be caterers and hostesses. Over the years I have gotten to know Jori better. I lost my dad early in life too and hey, we bonded over pizza once (at least it wasn’t Ramen noodles). Whether providing a meal or buying hundreds of tickets when she performs her first concert, I can see traces of God bringing us together to support one another. We are sisters in Christ and I hope she knows she can count on her church.