A Jar of OIive Oil

“Ordinary People – Extraordinary God.” That is the tag line for my website. Today as I was doing my morning devotion, I thought about what it means to be ordinary. Because quite frankly, the longer I live, the more I realize no one is “ordinary.” Each person has their own unique abilities and gifts, their own unique personalities, their own unique stories, and their own unique challenges and joys.

But so many people consider themselves ordinary. Even people I know who are highly talented and motivated, often look at themselves through a lens that shows them as ordinary or even lacking.

I believe that is when God can shine the brightest. When we may be at our lowest, or when we see our lack, that is the time that God can take our weakness and show his strength.

This morning I read the story of the widow’s olive oil in 2 Kings 4. She was a widow, an ordinary woman, who had creditors knocking at her door and threatening to take her sons as slaves to repay the debt left after her husband died. She went to the prophet Elisha and shared her story with him hoping for help. Strangely enough, after hearing her story, Elisha asked her what she had in her house. Her reply was nothing but a small jar of olive oil. No meat, no bread. Nothing else. But here is the amazing part.

He asked her to gather as many large jars as she could. So she did. She and her sons gathered as many large jars as people were willing to share. Elisha told her to pour oil from her small jar into the large jars. So she did. Amazingly she filled all the jars she had gathered. She had enough oil to not only pay her debts, but also support her and her sons!

God gave her an extraordinary gift out of an ordinary jar of oil. But the thing that strikes me in all of this is that the widow was obedient to what was asked of her. I think if she had scoffed and not gathered the large jars, nothing extraordinary would have happened. Instead she got busy and did what she needed to do.

After reading this story, I had to ask myself how many times has God asked me to do something from the little that I have (or the little I think I have) and I have done nothing? How many times have I lacked the faith to believe that out of my ordinary life God can bring extraordinary things? Far too many, if I am being truthful.

So what do you have in your house? My prayer is that God will help both you and me to recognize what we have in our house–even the ordinary–and let it be used in extraordinary ways for Him.

“Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” – 2 Kings 4:2 (NIV)


Selective Forgetfulness

confused-lady-clipart-1Forgetfulness seems to be an unremitting part of my life. I wish I could claim it is just because I am growing old, but unfortunately, forgetfulness has been a constant companion throughout my life.

As a young child and teen, I would forget to do chores my mother asked of me, I would forget answers for tests I studied so hard for, and even forget to come to a complete stop at the stop signs. As a young woman I forgot to turn my clock, thus being an hour late for my own bridal shower, forgot to pick up my son from daycare, and forgot dentist appointments.  Even now my children and friends remind me that I shouldn’t forget . . . well, whatever it is I should remember. Continue reading “Selective Forgetfulness”

Election’s Over. Now What?

2016-electionAs I perused by my facebook comments this morning, depending on which side you were on, comments ran the gamut from disbelief and anger to celebration and jubilation. I have to confess I just feel dismay for the whole sorry debacle that was Election 2016.  As always in seasons of change there are opportunities that lie ahead for all of us. This is what I want people to take away after a season of often vitriolic and hate filled rhetoric from both sides. The only way we are going to “make this nation great again” is by working hard at a grassroots level. Every single individual needs to determine to make a difference. Here are my suggestions: Continue reading “Election’s Over. Now What?”

Focus on Five – Things to do to minimize regrets

regretsTwo of the most recent events that have headlined the news for the past two weeks are the disappearance of Flight MH370 and the massive mudslide near Oso, Washington. Both of them are events that have left uncertainty, grief, and frustration for many. And once again, we are reminded of how fleeting our days can be.

When catastrophic events such as this happen, we are often forced to take a look at our own mortality. A life that is here today can be snuffed out quickly. I know this to be true. When my husband came home from work on October 27, 2009, he followed his regular evening routine as he went to the basement to lift weights. He never came back up those stairs, and met Jesus as his soul took flight from this earthly home. Continue reading “Focus on Five – Things to do to minimize regrets”

Visiting the Past

In preparation for getting my house on the market, I have been doing quite a bit of “purging” lately. Some things are easy to let go of, some are not. I am a real book junkie and have (literally) hundreds of books in my home. I gave away about 100 books to our youth minister, whose organized wife probably cringed when he brought them home!  I have donated many to the thrift store, but still have four bookshelves full of books! Even though I now put many of my books on my Kindle, I still love the feel of opening a book and perusing it’s pages, awaiting the marvelous things I discover within.

But I digress. What really started my thoughts going today is going through my “keepsake” box. You know, the kind that several of you have hidden away in the basement or stuffed in a cedar chest, or maybe in a drawer. The smell of old papers wafted to my nose as I opened the box. And so began the assault on my memories.

Continue reading “Visiting the Past”