"But just as you excel in everything --
in faith, in speech, in knowledge,
in complete earnestness and in your love for us --
see that you also excel in this grace of giving."
2 Corinthians 8:7
Two kids. One English muffin.
Joshua was in the basement family room completely unaware that there weren't enough muffins to go around should everyone want an English muffin for breakfast that morning. Gabrielle came to me and said, "Mom, there is only one English muffin left and I really, really want it for breakfast. But Joshua might want it, too. And I have had more than my share already from this package. I am going to ask Joshua if he would like to have it."
Feeling hopeful that she might get to have the last English muffin, but really wanting to do the honorable thing, Gabrielle went to Joshua and asked, "Joshua, do you want this last English muffin for your breakfast today? There is only one left, and I wanted to see if you would like to have it."
Enthusiastically concentrating on his PlayStation Madden Football game more than realizing the love and honesty demonstrated to him by this invitation from his sister, he said, "Sure, I'll have it! Thanks!" Gabrielle turned and made her way back up the stairs from the basement family room to the kitchen. Seeing the disappointment on her face, I saw her put the package back on the kitchen counter.
First Day of School 2014
As I sat in the dining room finishing my devotion time, I felt a twinge of sadness for my sweet girl who wanted that last English muffin. Making a mental note to pick up more muffins the next time I was the store, I wondered what Gabrielle might choose for breakfast instead of the English muffin. Yogurt and fruit? Toast? Oatmeal? Cereal?
Then I smelled the comforting aroma of something being toasted in the toaster. Walking into the kitchen with curiosity, I asked Gabrielle what she was toasting.
"I am toasting the English muffin for Joshua, and I am going to serve it to him. I am putting butter and grape jelly on it. I know he likes it that way."
Not only did Gabrielle maturely handle the disappointment of not having the last English muffin, she prepared the English muffin for her brother just the way he likes it. She sincerely wanted him to have it and be blessed by a toasted English muffin.
Something she wanted for herself, Gabrielle lovingly prepared for her brother.
Wow. Double wow.
Excellence in the grace of giving.
"Josh-uuu-aaaa", she called to him from the kitchen, "Your English muffin is ready!"
Joshua bolted up the stairs. As Gabrielle handed him his plate, he said, "Wow, thanks, Brie!"
Wanting to be sure he appreciated the significance of her sacrifice and love, I said, "Joshua, do you realize there was only one English muffin left and, even though Gabrielle was really hoping to have it for breakfast, she prepared it for you because you wanted to have it, too?"
"Really? Thanks, Gabrielle. Do you want half? We can split it!"
"It's alright", Gabrielle responded. "I really want you to enjoy the whole thing."
Grace and love in the nooks and crannies.
I have thought about that English muffin a lot since that morning a few weeks ago. The humility, the surrender, the love, the giving, the grace, the selflessness, the bittersweet sacrifice, the sincerity, the honesty, the sweetness, the kindness. And I want to capture, remember and be changed by these beautiful moments. (Lord knows so many moments are not like that!)
I want to show grace and love in the nooks and crannies of life. In the small places where little blessings go a long way. In the hard places where grace is spread out in the bittersweet sacrifice of surrendering and is perhaps only seen by God. In the sweet places where God's grace toward me allows me to prepare a blessing for another who needs grace.
So I am looking for those nooks and crannies where His love and grace are spread are like butter and grape jelly on a freshly toasted English muffin. Nooks and crannies that serve up an opportunity to bless another person with His refreshing and satisfying grace. Grace that soaks our hearts with His generous love.
Grace upon grace...for each nook and cranny of my heart and yours.
Gabrielle in her cousin Stephanie's wedding ~ August 11, 2012
"And God is able to make all grace abound to you,
so that in all things at all times,
having all that you need,
you will abound in every good work."
2 Corinthians 9:8
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition
or vain conceit,
but in humility
consider others better than yourselves."
[originally published 9/3/12]