Sunday, January 28, 2018

Better than Chocolate

I'm a gift giver.  If someone I knew was suffering, whether because of loss or illness, I would send chocolate - the best I could find from Trader Joe's. Once I was in a hurry and didn't notice that I had sent a grieving friend a chili peppered laced chocolate tin to help her in her time of mourning.  Um...I don't think it was all that helpful as her mouth was burning.  Maybe provided a good laugh though.  So what did I do when she told me?  I re-sent her some creamy chocolate goodness.  I always included a note about how the Holy Spirit brings comfort so the least I can do is send chocolate.  My heart was in the right place.

But then I grew in the chocolate arena.  You see, it was my drug of choice.  No wonder it was my gift of choice.  Did you know there are 7 uppers and downers in that little heavenly morsel?  When I came to terms with my food addiction the day before Halloween many years ago I knew that it was time and if I didn't surrender on THAT day, then the season would have me swallowed up until far past Easter of the next year.  So much for heavenly morsels.  It was more like a back-stabbing friend.  So, I grieved, I let go, and I surrendered.  I got help.

What is a gift giver to do when she no longer eats what she has grown accustomed to giving?  It came to me after a dear friend lost her daughter to cancer.  No one should have to bury their own child, but my friend did.  I wanted to give her something that would bring comfort.

Then I remembered a conversation around a table at our denomination's Pastor's Wives and Credentialed Womens Retreat years ago.  The question asked was about how we define the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Judi Braddy, an author and our District Superintendent's wife at the time shared how, to her, "the Holy Spirit is like a warm blanket."  Our Comforter  (Jn. 14:26) is like a warm blanket.  Perfect.

I found the softest throw I could find for my grieving friend, chose the color grey as she was in the agony of deep grief, wrapped it up with a card and merely placed it on her doorstep and prayed for her regularly.  She later told me how much that blanket has meant to her.

Now it's my thing, if I have the resources, and the relationship is close enough, then off to the store I go to get what one friend has named her "Holy Spirit Blanket."  I love that.  To God be the glory.

The Lord uses our giftings (love languages) and our growth (from chocolate to a blanket) to continue to bless others.  Let's continue to keep our ears attentive to the Holy Spirit's promptings because He is always wanting to guide us towards loving others better.  I'm convinced that the more WE grow the better we are able to help others.

Thank you Judi for your definition that has brought literal comfort to many!

If you have not read any of Judi Braddy's books, you are missing out.  When I traveled to Germany to counsel missionaries for a week I took one of her books and wished I had taken more.  It was great company in my travels.  It was like having a friend along for the journey.  I'm sure you'll love her too.

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