We knew it was coming because death comes to us all, but the blow and the loss is what has left my heart staggering and also lifted up to the Lord in thanks today. A dear church member, friend and “almost-family member,” Hope Carter, went home to heaven this week, leaving a great void, and my heart lifted in grateful praise for a life well lived.
Hope’s kind son and daughter, knowing my love for their mother, gave me a couple treasures belonging to their mom – her bread bowl and a bread pan. These two items will be such sweet reminders to me of Hope. Yes, she made many loaves of bread in them, but there are some other visible lessons in these gifts.
- This bread bowl has many years on it. Hope wasn’t a spring chicken when I met her, but she kept serving, kept loving the Lord until the last day of her 94 years. That encourages me to keep looking for ways to serve God as I age.
- There is a hairline crack inside the bowl. Hope was not perfect. She had her flaws, like each of us, but it didn’t hinder her from moving forward each day to serve the Lord. How this encourages my heart when I get overwhelmed with the way I fail and sin every day!! God can still use me!
- The bowl has to start out empty and clean to be productive. In order to serve God in a way that will yield eternal rewards, I must walk in fellowship with God. A clean heart and open hands is what I need to offer to Him each day. I’m reminded of the importance of a close walk with God as I keep short accounts of my sin.
- This bowl is sitting on my counter so it will be ready and accessible. God wants me to be ready for action each day, waiting for His directives, rather than hidden away in my safe little world. I’m glad for the reminder that being comfortable isn’t the goal, but being being conformed to His image and His will!
- Other smaller items could be nested inside, providing a place for storage. My life can be as Hope’s was, allowing younger women to find a place to rest with me. Their secrets, their fears, their prayers requests all need to find lodging in my safety.
- The bowl belongs to me now and I will have the blessing of filling it. It will be my responsibility to help fill the void that Hope left with the gifts that God has given me.
I rejoice that my older friend is in heaven now, rejoicing at the feet of Jesus! She was a rare gem who blessed my life in so many ways. God wants to use me (and you!) to make up for the loss of godly women like my dear friend, Hope Carter. I’m thankful for a bread bowl that will serve as my daily reminder.
How could you minister to others in the way that Hope ministered? You might not have the same giftedness, but what do you have that God wants to use?
Refresh others with what God has entrusted to you.