God Works

I have been thinking about God’s work lately. One of my former bosses, Dr. M, was a dentist. Often times, if I was leaving the office late, he would still be there, working on a set of dentures or something else. I would say “Dr. M., why are you still here?” And he would say “Someone has to do God’s work.”

Sadly, Dr. M. was still working into his early 90’s when he developed Alzheimer’s. I’ve often wondered why this would happen to a man so willing to work until the end. Maybe this was God’s way of letting him finally rest.

So God’s work has been in my head lately. Are we doing God’s work when my friends and I make 240 sandwiches for FOCUS Pittsburgh? Is it in the tubs of food we ask for and deliver to the local food pantry in our church’s town? Is it the work my son’s girlfriend Jess does for the Habitat for Humanity ReStore she manages?

Jani and I at Red Robin
Jani and I at Red Robin

Today I got a different answer. God works to bring people together. After a good fifteen year break, an old friend of mine, Jani, found me on Facebook. She said she was thinking about me and I showed up one morning. She sent me a friend request. I practically fell off my chair.

Year ago, when my kids were toddlers, I was a Tupperware manager. Yes, you heard correctly. And I was a good one! I had a company car and got my husband through nursing school by doing parties in the evenings. I recruited Jani and she was with me for a good while. She was a go-getter; she had a warm and sparkly personality.

When we both quit home parties, I’d bump into her every now and then. She said the last time we saw each other was at a restaurant and her daughter had just been born. That was a long time ago. I never forgot her. I’d think about her from time to time and wonder how she was.

We had lunch yesterday and caught up. Talking non stop, we reviewed kids, careers, marriage and life. She lifted me up. I’m sure this will not be the last time we have lunch together!

So this is how God works. It is not just through the good things we do. It is in the spectacular work that God will do for two people. It’s a miracle really, to connect again after all these years. To be brought together and see an old friend. I am in awe of it.

There is nothing unpremeditated, nothing neglected by God. His unsleeping eye beholds all things. Saint Basil


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Living Generously

Mom and her delicious Finikia!
Mom and her delicious Finikia!

“Give , and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

I would have to say that my mother has set the best example for me of living generously.

She does not have all that much but what she has she will share with you unselfishly. Preferring not to spend money on herself, she will lavishly offer to spring for lunch or try to give me money when I buy her something that is really a gift.

Case in point, my sister Mary is coming to town in a couple of weeks and my mom already has the itinerary pretty much finished (this is why I am an event planner!). One day’s activities involves going to our church’s mini food festival and mom has already told me she is paying for dinners- lamb, pastichio, stuffed grape leaves, etc.

Over my objections (it does no good) she has told me she will take care of the food bill that night.

I used to think my mom financially cut herself a bit too close at times but as I get older, and closer to God, I think honestly she has the right idea. Everything she needs has been provided to her. She is well taken care of and in good health now (thank you!). Happy to be with her simple things, she is content to have just enough.

I firmly believe the old wives saying of “you can’t take it with you”. I love how wealthy people are giving their money away in clever and creative ways, not leaving it all for their children but making them earn it themselves.

I found this link recently to an article about wealthy people who have decided not to leave their fortunes to their kids. Warren Buffet for instance has pledged to give away 99% of his wealth either during his life or before he dies. He has already pledged 83% of it to the Gates Foundation.

What about simple folk like me? I am still finding creative ways to be generous, despite my limited income these days. Giving of my time (without expecting payment) to good causes is my favorite generous act of late. I also like to treat to things that are only a few dollars- coffee or dessert for a friend, a nice book from the used book store. I love these forms of generosity; they keep my feet firmly planted where they need to be, in service to others.

If I am tempted to be selfish with my time or money, I remind myself how generosity will come back to me multiplied.

Blessings to you today! What is your favorite act of generosity?

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Does Prayer Work?

But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. Luke 22:32

I happened to type “Prayer” into my Pinterest search bar this morning and boy did I get a spiritual eyeful. I’ll give you the link at the end of this post but suffice to say there was a whole wide range of pins on the subject.

Evangelist Luke writing, Byzantine illuminatio...
Evangelist Luke writing, Byzantine illumination, 10th century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This got me thinking about prayer. How do you pray? Or do you even pray? My prayers have changed over the years. When I was young they were the prayers of church, whispered along with the priest’s words or out loud during the liturgy. During the kneeling down part of the service, I was either paying attention or not, fidgeting or wondering what I was going to do later that day, like riding my Schwinn bicycle around the neighborhood with my girlfriends.

One time as a young child, we missed church because it had snowed heavily. I remember being worried about the consequences and what God would think if I wasn’t there. So I took a cross I had in my room and prayed, maybe on my knees. I don’t remember what I prayed about but I remember I had a really good week, getting an “A” on a test and other assorted awesome stuff. That’s when I knew God had some serious pull.

Jim, my SO, doesn’t believe in praying for specific things. He thinks I do but honestly, my prayers are of the general variety. Does prayer work? I used to think it was silly stuff but the older I get the more I believe yes, prayer definitely has its potential.

It is amazing sometimes that I will pray for assistance for someone or some issue, again the prayers not being specific, and help will arrive in some shape or form. Honestly, if I leave well enough alone and not give God directions on how I want it done, s(he) will do a fabulous job. After all, it’s God we are talking here.

What doesn’t work is praying and then using my own control devices. Or praying and expecting immediate results. Prayer works fast sometimes and other times it does not. Maybe God wants us to practice a bit of patience.

Letting go of results is probably the hardest part of prayer for me. Maybe this surprises you- is there really a letting go part? Yes, I think this is the most powerful part of prayer- surrender. There in lies the freedom, the relief I have been seeking. That moment when I can lay my head down and feel a peace come over me that just wasn’t there before.

The results of prayer are often solutions I hadn’t thought of. Imagine that. That is when I know God is really good.

Click HERE for the Pinterest prayer board link.

Do you believe in prayer? What’s your favorite prayer or tell us how prayer has worked or not worked for you….

Join me on my graceful journey.