I cried yesterday.

Sometimes it’s lonely living away from family.  You get used to it over time, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still impact you.  Not only can it be lonely to live away from your family, but this year has been especially lonely and isolating for most all of us.  Yet, even in the loneliness, I’ve been reminded of God’s faithfulness and love.

Over the last week and a half, we’ve had two different sets of friends reach out and offer to keep the kids for us while I went to various doctor’s appointments.  Not only did they watch the kids, but when we went to pick them up, one friend had taken the time to make homemade playdough with them and the other had made homemade brownies.

This week, we’ve received three messages asking about a family member who’s not been feeling well and wondering how they are doing.

And then yesterday…yesterday I received a text from a family friend asking if she could drop something by.  A few minutes later, I was holding a box filled with goodies.  She called it a “baby shower in a box.”  As I began to unpack it, tears stung my eyes.  There was a beautiful gift for the baby along with treats for the kids.  There were fruit and veggies complete with dip, “pink” popcorn, white-chocolate drizzled waffle cones filled with goodness, mini strawberry cakes, and more!  Even the plates and napkins were included.

I’m not sure when I’ve seen the children this excited. They jumped up and down and called their dad to see when he would be home.  They called one of their grandparents to tell them all about the surprise we’d just received, recounting every detail.  And a few minutes later, when their daddy got home, we all sat down and enjoyed this unique and so very special baby shower.

As I looked at the gift, watched my children’s eyes dance as they enjoyed their treats, and read the most heart touching of notes, I cried.

I cried because God uses people. He uses each of us if we allow Him to, to make a profound difference in someone else’s life.  And we may not always realize we’re making a difference.  In fact, I think we often do not.  We probably don’t fully understand how much the pot of hot soup means to the person recovering from an illness.  We may not fully understand what a handwritten note may mean to the person on the receiving end.  We probably underestimate the value of the phone call to check in, or taking the time to sit with someone in their grief, or the small “thinking of you” gift.

But when it comes to showing God’s love to others, it’s never “small.”  It’s never wasted.

I cried yesterday because I was reminded of God’s love for me and my family in such generous and tangible ways.  I cried because though this has been such a lonely and isolating time, I was reminded that we are not alone.  I cried because of the thoughtfulness and kindness and goodness of other people.

There is much goodness in this world, friends, and you and I can be a part of it. We can be a conduit of God’s love, grace, and mercy.  We can remind the lonely they are not alone.  We can remind the hopeless there is hope.  We can remind the anxious of God’s perfect peace.  We can remind the lost that Jesus is the way.

And we never have to stand behind a pulpit, speak to thousands, or use a microphone to do any of this.  We simply show up…and we can trust God to take care of the rest.

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