Last Monday I received this devotional in my inbox from Proverbs 31 Ministries. In the devotional, the writer, Tracie Miles, mentions receiving a wonderful gift from someone. The gift was a little box that contained slips of paper with Bible verses written on them.
But these verses were extra special. They were written in a conversational tone and the person that gave her
this gift included her name in each verse. It was a very personalized gift and made her feel as if God was truly speaking directly to her.
After reading this devotional, I went to Tracie's blog where she had written about it further and bookmarked the page. I thought that I might like to do this for someone in the future. On Tuesday, Tracie even posted all of the different verses that were in her Treasure Box.
On Thursday I was at school when I happened to overhear part of a conversation between two of the other preschool teachers. I blurted right in and asked them what they were talking about. This is very unlike me and even as I was doing it I felt as if someone else had taken control of my body. I just assumed I had too much coffee that morning.
One of the teachers was asking the other teacher to pray about a particularly difficult situation her family was going through. This situation deeply affected her sister. Without going into any of the details, current events were bringing up horrific situations from the past and were causing this family (especially the sister) great pain.
Because of these events the sister had drifted away from God and the church over the past 35 years. I told her that I would pray as well and then I blurted out, "What is your sister's name?" Again, I felt as if my mouth were being overtaken and the question had come out of no where.
I woke up on Friday morning with my day planned out. After getting the kids to school, I was going to work out, clean the house and have coffee with some friends.
While I was working out, I got the idea that I would make a Treasure Box for the sister of the woman I work with. It sounded like she could definitely use some comfort from the Word of God and this personalized box would be a great way to help her.
But I already had my day planned and this certainly did not fit into my schedule. So I decided I would just do it later. For me, "Do it later" usually translates to "Keep thinking about it, never get around to it and then come up with a hundred reasons why it wasn't a good idea anyway."
I hopped out of the shower trying to decide which part of my dirty house I would tackle first. I only had a short amount of time before Jennifer was going to pick me up to take me to the coffee shop so I had to maximize my cleaning efforts if I was going to get it all done.
And then it came to me that I needed to make the Treasure Box right then and get it to my coworker immediately so she could get it to her sister. After all, I already had her sister's name so there was no reason I couldn't put the box together right then. I felt a sense of urgency to get it done as soon as possible.
It was one of those moments where I knew I didn't even need to fight it. I knew God was nudging me and telling me what I needed to do. And I know from past experience that I just needed to go ahead and do it.
In my boldness I told God in a bit of a huff that I'm embarrassed to admit now, "Fine. I'll do it but you have to make it o.k. that my house is this dirty." (I usually clean my house once a week and even when I clean it, it still isn't very clean. But if I don't clean it, I start to feel apprehensive and nervous. The dirt and grim seems to grab a hold of me and makes it hard for me to breath when I look around. I have kids so my house is normally dirty but for some reason dusting, cleaning the toilets and getting the visible crumbs off the floor just once a week makes me feel better.)
And God said, "You'll be fine. Just do it. Make the Treasure Box."
So I hopped on the computer and got to work. And then I looked around for a suitable box. What in the world was I going to put these verses in?
And then I remembered the Willow Tree box that a family friend (who is a priest) had given me and Dan for Christmas two years ago. It was a beautiful little wooden box with the Holy Family carved on the top of it. Dan and I thought it was very special, not only because of who gave it to us but because the name of our church happens to be Holy Family.
I'm not a trinket person and I never knew ecactly what to do with this box. I didn't know what to put in it or where to put it so it had been sitting on the top of my dresser for two years empty. Almost as if it were waiting.
So I grabbed that box praying that my husband and the person that gave it to us wouldn't mind and I started filling it with little slips of paper. And each time I put a slip of paper into the box I prayed the verse out loud using this woman's name. And with each prayer for her, I felt calmer and more blessed.
In my attempt to help bring the Word of God to someone else, I was being blessed.
I got the Treasure Box finished right before Jennifer came to pick me up and we dropped it off. No one was home but I had written a note to go with the package, left it on the porch and then I was off to enjoy a latte with my friends.
Around 5:00 that evening the teacher from work called to thank me. She said when she got home later that morning she opened the package and read the letter. She said she immediately burst into tears and called her sister to tell her about the box. She then got into her car and drove it over to her sister and her mother. The three of them sat and read through each of the verses one by one.
She was calling to thank me for the gift that I had given to her sister. But I had to tell her that this gift wasn't a gift from me to her sister. It was a gift directly from God to her sister because I had other things I wanted to do that morning, because I don't normally barge into conversations, because I don't normally have beautiful boxes laying around, because I normally come up with a million excuses not to do something.
No, this gift was something that God wanted her sister to have and I just happened to be the reluctant messenger who delivered it.
I have spent the last two days looking at the dust and crumbs covering my house and instead of feeling a tightening in my chest or an uneasiness, I have felt a deep peace, a joy that can come only from listening to God and doing what he tells me.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. - Galatians 5:22
What about you? Have you listened to God lately and done exactly what he wanted you to do? I would love to hear about it!