Thursday, September 2, 2010

Simply Treasured

This is our treasure box.

It’s not an old treasure box but a relatively new one. It was given to us near the end of 2008, the terrible, horrible, no good,very bad year, and it was given to us by friends.

In June of that year, we were swept away by the first wave of the unemployment tsunami that would become known as The Great Recession. With a stroke of a pen and a mechanical phone call, the husband’s job was eliminated, and we became one of them.

The unemployed.

When we lost his job that Wednesday afternoon, we lost more than our single income and benefits. We lost any naïve sense of self- sufficiency.  What we didn't lose was our faith. Rather, it flourished, and we learned the simple art of trusting God and appreciating the hands of His provision.

Like a mother who cooked for an army and sent home the leftovers… and then purchased yet more groceries, because they were on sale, you see… And besides, Deb-or-ah, I once walked in your shoes, and that’s what my mother did for me.

And a sister who asked me to use supplies in her emergency closet, because they were going to expire, you see… and then handed me a box of perishables... shampoo
and hair spray.
and dental floss.

Or a friend who consistently brought us dinner, because she had cooked too much, you see…and her own family just didn’t like leftovers.

Or the extra vegetables from a garden…

Or an extra car when insult was added to injury
 and our van broke down as well.

You’re probably not surprised that I took pictures of it all.

It was months into our season when our Sunday School classes gathered after church for potluck and encouragement. We talked and shared stories, and I saw the husband laugh that day.  When we got ready to leave, the hostess quietly said,

“You need to take the box.”

She handed me this

and told us not to open it until we got home.

Inside were cards and letters of encouragement and gift certificates… and a love offering from friends who would allow neither return nor repayment. They merely asked that we pay it forward when we could.

We have, and we do.

And in a little twist which can only be God, forward has in some cases been backward as several in the room that day put on our shoes before the next year was out. God had prepared us for ministry to them through our own season.

And a box.

The box holds a position of honor in our living room. Inside are all of the cards and letters and hard copies of pictures like the ones posted here…lest we ever forget. It sits near the chair where I sit to pray. When I’m having a particularly difficult week, or when feelings of fear and anxiety threaten me, I like to open the box and be reminded of a time when I got to see God with his skin on.

This week has been such a week. The husband is in sales, you see, and no matter what the talking heads might try to tell us, the economy is not exactly robust.

But God has not given me a spirit of fear.
God has given me a box.

This week’s simple pleasure was opening it.

It's my pleasure to share this with Dayle
Please venture over there to read about the other
Simple Pleasures

I am also sharing at
 Southern In My Heart   for Inspiration Friday.


Sarah said...

This is such a beautifully written heartfelt post. Your story has brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing. May the road forward be one of joy and good fortune. ~ Sarah

It's Just Dottie said...

Thank you for visiting my blog and your sweet comment. I pray God will be close to you and you will always feel his hand in your's. He is a loving God and wants to give His children good gifts.

Karen said...

As I read your post, I could not help but let all our memories flood over me. This story could have been written by me. Groceries, money in envelopes just when needed, and truck instead of car. I just don't have a box. But, I do come across reminders quite often of our "Total dependence on the Lord". Today was one of those, thanks for sharing and reminding.

Entertaining Women said...

Such a beautiful witness to the love of our mighty God and the overwhelming generosity of friends in Christ. This is what a stimulus plan is really supposed to be. Thank you. I'm so glad that you stopped by my post...aren't sisters the very best! Come visit often, please. Warmly, Cherry Kay

FrouFrouBritches said...

Debbie, God is so good, isn't he? He gives us such blessings, even in the eye of the storm. Eventually, I want to do a Getting To Know You Thursday linky on Blessings. You'll have to link up with this!

Cindy said...

Debbie, what a wonderful awesome post and reminder of God's provision for us. Thanks for sharing. Loved this post!


Amy Kinser said...

I can't even tell you how it blessed me to read your words this morning. God is so faithful to meet our needs and to send just the right people and provisions at just the right time. I love what your mom and sister did. I love your friend that so sweetly gave. I love that your group of brothers and sisters at church loved you enough and loved the Lord and were faithful to be His arms and feet during this time. I love this treasure box and the idea behind it. Thanks for walking us through just a tiny part of this season that you went through. Thanks, so that maybe I, we, can learn a little something from what you went through.

Stephani Cochran said...

Thanks for stopping by my photo blog. I truly loved this post and had a lump in my throat as I read it. We are blessed to be a blessing and you have done that today! Thanks for sharing.

Dayle ~ A Collection of Days said...

Sweet Debbie... you generally make me laugh, but today, you made me cry. Thank you for this heartfelt and heartwarming post. You are in my prayers.

Jennie said...

"Simply" perfect.

I just love you, Mrs. Debbie.

That's all I've got (because I'm too busy wiping tears from my eyes).

AliceMum said...

This is my first time to read your blog and what an awesome day to find it!! What a blessing to read about our awesome God and his provision...thanks so much for sharing this!! Many blessings..

Ceekay-THINKIN of HOME said...

What a wonderful gift and remembrance...I love this post and I can relate to it on many will always remember and will always be sensitive to people with like needs.

Kathleen said...

Yes, you will always remember, and I know you will pay it forward.
I have tears in my eyes reading this! And you are right, it is not good out there. I wonder when this change will happen?

Elizabeth Dianne said...

Hi Debbie, I love it that we have so much in common--teachers, lovers of words--I have had a love affair with words since a little girl--my dad loved them also.

And how does one just "simply treasure" something--smile--I do know what you mean--one of the most meaningful gifts our family ever gave my husband for Christmas was having an old "flower seed" box (was his parents) refinished--that almost broke me--it was literally falling apart and can you believe flower seeds used to come in beautiful wooden boxes? Then we each wrote a letter-- wife, sons, daughters-in-law and all the grandchildren--very touching when he opened it--one of those things you just "simply treasure."

Beautiful post. Thank you.

Longing to give forward,

A very blessed lady! said...

So encouraging, to say the least...I either cry or laugh when I read your posts ; ) God's people DO know how to take care of each other...Beautiful, Thank you!

Anonymous said...

A wonderful introduction to you and your words...and your faith.
A treasure no matter how old or valuable.

Lynn said...

Wow, I'm sitting here crying. I've seen darker days and I'm appreciative of the help I've received. I'm a big believer in "pay it forward"! Have a great day:@)

Patti said...

What a beautiful box....and a beautiful story.

I can relate to what you are saying, how your faith flourished in that time of trial. My husband was out of work from June 2003, to July 2005...25 long months!!! We saw God provide for us in amazing ways during that time. Like you, we can look back on that time and see the hand of God caring for us...and he did that through the hands of other people.

Additionally, I use that term "Jesus with skin on" quite often. I only know of one other person who has ever used that term, so it's fun to hear someone else saying it.

Blessings to you,
Patti ~ Fill My Cup with Beauty

Vanessa said...

I don't even know what to write...that was so incredible to read and I wiped away tears several times! Would you please consider sharing it with my "Inspiration Friday" party? I have several folks who I know are going through the same thing right now and would benefit from this so much! Thank you for being so vulnerable and transparent. May God bless you for it!

Gayle said...

What a moving tribute to faith, family and friends, Debbie. I'm wiping tears away. I can relate to every word: I've been traveling the unemployment highway since May of '09, and I know how much it means when others give, expecting nothing in return. Thankfully, there's a bright light at the end of my tunnel, and I believe it's all been for the best.

Thanks for sharing your struggles. It's been an inspiration.


The Polka Dot Closet said...

This brought me to tears, what a wonderful gift. I too could not believe it when I became one of "Them" the recession was not real until it was me. God works in mysterious ways and I love the plan he had for me!


Denise said...

Oh baby sister, your post brought tears once again. What a wonderful tribute to our awesome God and his provision. Thanks for sharing such an intimate and personal part of your life. God's blessings to you today.

P.S. I really do think that some of that stuff MIGHT expire and I wouldn't want to take any chances.

bj said...

Well, darlin'...I'm crying my eyes out...I am so thankful for all the sweet friends and their sweet spirits that have helped you. It always makes me cry to realize how many wonderful people are in this world with us. I am so thankful.

xo bj

Renée said...

What a sweet and wonderful testimony of goodness. Your faith in God and Christ-like friends have seen you through a most difficult time. It's amazing how we look back on these experiences and feel strengthened by them. Love the treasure box and no matter what when I come here I'm laughing or in between. Thanks Debbie. Hugs to you ;D

Mevely317 said...

Oh wow, Debbie ... I'm smiling through my runny eyes, thanking God for allowing our roads to cross. Your posts never fail to touch my heart - particularly tonight!

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

What a dear post and testimony. Thanks for sharing this -- my God continue to bless you in many many ways.

Anonymous said...

I am sitting here, weeping as I read this. The glory you give to Him - shines, the glory you give to your friends and family - shines, and your light - shines. I'm honored to sign on as your newest Follower.

Unknown said...

Ahh, yes! Such memories.
I recall my husband working for a clinic that closed....wondering how this could possibly happen? Several months later, God provided a job that was one of the hardest times in our married life....

A year later, I recall my sweet husband going into work on a monday and being told to clear out by wednesday. (the man is a doctor for crying out loud.)
When he called to tell me the news I was watching a backhoe dig a pool in our backyard. I have never come so close to hyperventilating...But our God never changes and is always faithful.

Now I recall friends in our Bible study that were without work for a long, long, time and giving to them in many ways-always remembering the stress and strain and provision during our time of need.

Thanks for the reminder today.

Ginger~~Enchanting Cottage said...

Debbie, This brought tears to my eyes. You are so blessed to have friends that care, and they are blessed as well to have a friend like you. God is so good to us in so many ways.

Through My Red Door said...

I was pretty much stopping in to make sure I thanked you for your sweet words on my post but am now even more thankful. Your awesome faith is magnificently inspiring! You are a special person and you've stopped me in my tracks. God's given you many gifts and you're no doubt using them. Thank you!

Joan Hall said...

Oh, Debbie I have tears in my eyes reading this. God is so good and so faithful. And we've been just where you were.


Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing that beautiful post.

Sharon said...

What a lovely treasure...thank you for sharing its meaning with all of us. I have a little wooden box in our living room - in it I have collected little bits and pieces - hearts made out of various types of stones, little "faith" medallions, a little craft store bird in a nest, and other things that remind me in different ways of God - so this post really touched my heart!

I might add, you are a person who truly "pays it forward" with just your kind spirit, your giving heart, and your encouraging words. I see God with His skin on when I think about you.


Kathleen said...

An over-used phrase I know but, thanks for sharing this with us. Truly an inspirational post.

Chatty Crone said...

We have been unemployed many times during the year - but to be honest we got nothing like this - you are very very very loved and blessed.


Ms.Daisy said...

YOU, my dear, are a treasure pure and simple. I love the way you write from your heart. Thank you.


CAL said...

I truly believe in the power of love and all that it brings (even in boxes!).

Rettabug said...

I have both tears & goosebumps, Debbie..what a touching & tender post. You've been blessed in ways that can't be measured.

Rett said...

This was so great to read today, our conversation was on downsizing some more this morning. We lost everything, including our home and yet we are so thankful my husband found what was to be temporary employment. It is 100% commission and we still aren't making it in our already there maybe another adjustment.

I don't have a box, but I have repeatedly told our kids God's faithfulness through the last couple years of lack of income. Even during Thanksgiving/Christmas we were given a gift of money through a stranger that helped us have food on the table for our family.

We too have felt God has allowed us to experience this season in order to reach behind us and encourage others in their walk. We aren't able to do that financially yet, but we sure do through encouraging words and physical help.

I also turned on the TV to the tornadoes in Missouri...and all the ones that have been hit the last few months, and it all puts it back into the right perspective.

Thanks for sharing...I was so blessed...God wanted me to read this today and recount once again that He has never left us.

Esther Joy said...

Looking over your blog has blessed me. You have so many powerful posts sharing the realness of life and the goodness and grace of our God. Thanks for blessing me this morning!


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