A blessing. A double blessing that looked a lot like two blue plastic tubs with lids that snap shut. You know...the type where the handles flip up and hold the lid on. They probably cost $10 at Walmart. But they were a blessing. Just like the 18 pieces of children's play area gates.
Just like the amazing keyboard Laura plays for worship. Just like the soundboard and as many as a third of the instrument cables. Just like the two bins of donated children's craft supplies sitting in our bedroom.
Yes, our bedroom. And yes, as much as I wish they weren't there, they are a blessing.
The number of things that Redemption Church has been given freely or at a ridiculous discount is amazing. I could tell a story for each of the items listed above...and more. But sometimes it's easy to forget the miracles and only see the struggles.
That the keyboard doesn't have a stand so the Pastor brings two barstools from his kitchen every week to set it on. That two purple plastic tubs are sitting on our bedroom floor. That our main church printer is the Pastor's personal printer. That our computer and both iPads are regularly used for and at church activities. That the Pastor's living room rug got repurposed as the stage rug for Sunday mornings (they have a new rug now). That the DSLR camera we bought with wedding money is used mainly to photograph or video record at church events. That the Pastor's garage, office, patio, and van are all use to store/haul church items on a regular basis.
We talk about not allowing your life and family to become consumed by ministry...but sometimes those lines blur. It seems they first blur in the stuff.
Especially at first. When we rejoice to see two new faces and everyone knows who is new. When having two kids classes seems like an almost impossible dream. When you feel rich with the fancy, blessing keyboard...who cares that it doesn't have a stand.
And the lines blur and things can get muddled, but as long as I keep my eyes on the prize and keep my priorities in balance, then the blurring doesn't matter.
In fact, the blurring is almost beautiful. It shows my treasure...what I find to be of value. And that is beautiful...to see the stuff being used for His glory.
It's beautiful as long as my priorities stay straight....As long as church isn't my idol. Because if it's my idol, when one of my things breaks at a church event, I'll become bitter. Because Pastor Mark always says, "What you idolize, you will demonize." It's not about open hands so much as it's about an open heart. My hands can hold loosely what my heart clings to tight.
So prayerfully keeping the priorities balanced and prayerfully keeping an open heart and prayerfully using the stuff we've been given as it is needed, I can see the beauty unfold. The beauty of open hands and hearts and doors and lives.
Because in the end, all the "stuff" has a story. It may be as simple as the story of God providing us with jobs to buy it, or dollars being dropped in the offering box each week by faithful believers, but it all has a story that is made beautiful when it is used for the glory of God.
Be blessed <3
P.S. I wrote this post a couple months ago and forgot to publish it. So praise the Lord, the big purple tubs made it out of our bedroom two weeks ago!