Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Blooming Where You're Planted


by Mary Lowman

Recently I had an opportunity to talk to a senior citizen, Betty, in her 80’s, who is an inspiration to me.  Betty is a widow and a mom of three grown children and lots of grandchildren.  She is a Jesus-lover from way back, and at this stage in her life, she is finding creative ways to reach out to others with the love of Jesus.

Betty’s husband died after a very long illness where she was his main caregiver.  This was a daily “dying to self”, as she dedicated all her time and energy to helping him after a massive stroke.  It took its toll on her physically, as she had to lift him and help him maneuver.  “But,” she told me, “because of that my upper body became very strong.”  Then, when she had to have open heart surgery after her husband’s death, her doctor said it was a miracle she was still alive.  “It was because I had such strong upper body that I was able to survive that surgery,” she said. “So, you see, it was good that I had helped my husband all that time.”

Now that she lives alone and is still driving, she has found a way to continue to share the love of Jesus with others.  She goes to the grocery store every day.  She said, “That way I don’t have heavy bags to carry if I just get a few things each day.  And then, I just go up and down the aisles of the store, to see who God puts in my path that day.” 

Betty uses her daily trips to the grocery as a way to meet people, to offer encouragement, to pray for people, and to let them know that Jesus loves them.  Almost every day she has an opportunity to speak to someone—mostly strangers—and simply offer a moment of caring and concern.  She has story after story of the people she has met in this way, and how blessed she is to have this ministry.

Just knowing Betty is to see an example of what it means to “Rejoice always,” as Paul exhorts us.  As we sat together after the funeral of her beloved daughter-in-law—and my niece—and as we recalled how much we loved her and would miss her, Betty found the bright side of the occasion and her attitude of blooming where she is planted challenged and inspired me.

It’s not so much the big things we do for Jesus that makes a difference; it’s the way we reach out in our everyday lives—on our jobs, in our families, and yes, as we walk the aisles of the grocery store. 

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