I was confined to bed rest during the last half of my pregnancy before my daughter, Kate, was born. I was not sick, but I was in premature labor. Bed rest and medication every two hours kept the contractions at a minimum. I could do anything I wanted as long as I remained lying horizontally on my back or side … “planking” in my living room for 13 weeks. I couldn’t sit, stand or walk unless it was to go to the bathroom. Dwayne would make me lunch before he left for work and leave it in the refrigerator, and every day women from the church would take turns coming by and eating lunch with me.
Because of my mandatory confinement to the bed or the couch, I was unable to do the usual baby shopping and preparations. I was also feeling quite sorry for myself and afraid that I wouldn’t be able to give my daughter everything she’d need during her first few weeks. One Tuesday afternoon, I was complaining … well, whining really … about this. I was frustrated, and I wondered out loud how I’d get the highchair, baby carrier, basinette, stroller, baby bathtub, etc. etc. that we needed.
The wise woman visiting that afternoon, listened intently. When I finished, she very firmly and warmly asked, “Do you have a blanket?” I nodded. ”Do you have a drawer you can empty?” I looked at her quizzically. ”Dear, if you have a blanket and a drawer, you have everything a newborn needs.” In that moment I was transformed; instead of feeling sorry for myself and afraid I couldn’t provide, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for what I did have.
I told this story in the sermons I’ve done this month on Living in Abundance. So often in the church, we operate out of the myth of scarcity, we don’t have enough, we can’t do it ourselves. Yesterday I heard the vision of Lutheran pastor Dave Stoner and the new church he’s planting, Alive in Christ Lutheran Church. When asked if they had the human resources to make the vision happen, Pastor Stoner said, “of course not … not yet.” Now, we could say “no” to a vision like that … why participate in a vision or a plan when it’s clear we don’t have enough? Yet, God continually calls us to that place … that place that is just beyond ourselves and our own capabilities. God tells us we have everything we need … and if we give it up and work together, the Holy Spirit will show up and the unrealistic, impractical, and miraculous can happen. That’s, of course, the Good News of the resurrection. We have enough, give it all to the spirit of Christ, and be amazed!
My daughter never slept in a drawer, and she had a lot more than a blanket. It’s amazing how much more than enough we have, isn’t it? As we gather for Thanksgiving this week, let’s practice living in the spirit of abundance … Let’s thank God for all that we have and that it is, really, more than enough, and let’s offer up what we have for the work of Christ in our midst.