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He handed me a box of cookies
I very deliberately did not cry.

I was tired. A short night, followed by a day outside in the sharp winds, had effectively drained most of my energy. Failure, painfully swollen wrists, and a myriad other little things had eroded my joy. So when he sent me a text, asking if I'd be able to take his place caring for the two-through-three-year-olds at church that night, I'd really wanted to say 'no'.

But deep inside, God reminded me of my promise to let Him say 'no' for me, not take those choices upon myself. It's a pledge I've broken too many times, but today, I stuck to it.

Sort of.

I texted back a 'yes', then proceeded to act out a 'no'.

I thought about how tired I was, and how much I wanted to go home and sleep. I gloomily prognosticated how badly my wrists would hurt by the time the night was over. I whined to myself and to my family. I allowed my rottenness to run rampant until I got to church, and he met me at the nursery door with a smile, a thank-you, and cookies.

And all I could think was how little I deserved it.

This man, who does so much, had taken time to do something for me, the very person who, moments before, had been begrudging him a favor.

I'd lost sight of my calling to serve, to practice mercy with cheerfulness. I'd forgotten, for a moment, that it's more blessed to give than to receive, and I'd allowed my ugly selfishness to lead me deep into the bog of self-pity.

And then, instead of the rebuke I so richly deserved, I was rescued by a generous spirit.

Tears threatened to spill as all selfishness was instantly removed from my heart.

Anger and retribution I may withstand, but by grace I am undone. Nothing brings me more swiftly to repentance than a kindness, undeserved.

Forgive me, Lord, and help me not to forget again. 


  1. I've been there many times, Janie. I can be such a complainer, and I wish I weren't. This is such a lovely reflection. God bless you!

    I had a friend tell me some time ago that when she wants so badly to say no, she thinks of Mother Mary's "yes" to God's plan, and she then says yes!

  2. Thanks for reading! I am always so blessed by your posts, and I'm grateful if I am able to encourage you in turn. I love the fact that you mentioned Mary, because I was first struck by the implications of Mary's 'yes' several years ago, when I watched the movie, 'The Nativity'. Since then, she has always served as an example and a challenge, pointing me to a more complete surrender.

  3. I love that movie; I know just what you mean. Yet, I still struggle to surrender completely.


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