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The backup gift

I got the e-mail on Friday that she’d been taken to the hospital, temporarily landing in ICU.backup plan

Although we were only acquaintances, I’d always felt drawn to her. She was so open with her struggles. And also with her faith.

My heart ached for her now.

No one likes to fall. It hurts. It’s scary. It makes you wonder about the future. Especially when you’ve been down before.

So when I heard she’d be in class Sunday morning, I wanted to do something for her. Give her a gift of encouragement of some kind. Honor her courage to come back. Reassure her she’s still loved.

My plan was to write her a note before class, add a favorite scripture, and hand it to her when class was over.
But instead, I stayed in bed too late Sunday morning, then fiddled too long getting dressed for church, wasting too much time on me.

And wasting my gift of choice for her.

No time left to write the card. I had nothing to give now. Just me.

So after class, face to face, heart to heart, I hugged her and held her hands and told her how thankful I was that she was still with us, how much I really loved her, and how much her faith has meant to me. I gave her my tears, and she gave me hers.

That wouldn’t have fit in a card.

My backup gift turned out better than my planned one.

Thank you for giving my friend another chance to live.
And me another chance to give. 
You never leave us empty-handed with nothing to give.
Your backup supply of gifts of grace is bottomless.

* * *

We’re sharing The Practice of Giving at Ann’s.
We’re citing our thanks at Rebecca’s.



aspiritofsimplicity said...

Sometimes what we most need is the direct companionship of another. I think your back up gift was nicer than a note could have been.

Trisha said...

The embrace, the tears, and the sincere words....a priceless gift, Lisa!

Erin said...

I think sometimes in the need to say the right words we forgo the face to face in favor of the written word. God put you in the perfect place to serve your friend.

Elizabeth Dianne said...

I couldn't tell you how many times his backup plan has saved my hide.

The topper was this: One Sunday night I was in charge of the lesson in our small group and didn't get it prepared--we were all regulars and had been for quite a while--

I decided at the last moment to go around and have each one share briefly their salvation experience. One of our young men ended up giving his life to God later that evening.

It was only when he was confronted with sharing his testimony that he realized he did not have one. Praise God who saves us from ourselves many times.

Lisa notes... said...

I just got chills reading your story because our Sunday night small group has been taking turns sharing our testimonies. Well, a week ago it was Byron’s turn, but about a couple hours before we were to meet and hear his story, we got a call to meet Byron at the church building instead of our house because he wanted to put on Christ in baptism. I wasn’t even aware he hadn’t already. It was a great exclamation point to his story! Yes, praise God who always has the better plan.

Persis said...

Thanks for sharing this, Lisa. Praise the Lord for His mercy to your friend and for giving you the opportunity to share your love with her.

Connie said...

"That wouldn’t have fit in a card."...sometimes GOD doesn't want us to squish all that love in an envelope...His plan is indeed, the best one.

Bethany Ann said...

so many times, i've dawdled myself out of God's perfect will -- blessing myself instead of blessing others! thank you for this reminder of my need -- and of God's grace.

Anonymous said...

i am glad you shared tears... much better than a card, definitely! hope your friend gets well very soon...

Misty said...

oh his backup grace!!!! i love that he is enough.
i love that his timing is perfect, even in our own procrastination (i'm guilty!) and that a better--no, best--gift was given. he knew tears meant to be shed.
beautiful, and i'm glad ot have peeked in on you loving your friend.
i'm sure she was blessed.

Daily Grace said...

The gift of self is the best gift of all.

Erika said...

Thank you for these beautiful words and wonderful reminder. The timid side of me likes to hide behind my words written and shared in a card rather than laid bare while standing there. But sometimes, those tentative words, sputtering and mumbled, are the best gifts of all.

keLi said...

so great that you listened as Spirit led you to give -- i can learn from this.

Nancy said...

How often I resent having to resort to plan B. And yet, God in His wisdom leads me there, away from my own plans to a deeper, richer one. This was lovely. May you continue to bless your friend.

Melanie N. Brasher said...

I love when our back-up plan turns out to be better than our original one. I see God's grace in that. Thanks for sharing your beautiful heart.


alittlebitograce said...

so beautiful! having been through a very rough time, what spoke to me the most was how you loved on your friend instead of pushing her away because it was too much. thank you for extending compassion and love for someone who was deeply hurting.

Mommy Emily said...

those wouldn't have fit in a card.

i love this, lisa. and how he turns our foibles around and makes them shine. how gracious he is. how good. thank you... what a gift you are. happy thanksgiving!

Kati patrianoceu said...

it's a crazy world where we and/or others are actually rewarded for our selfishness or shortcomings. Praise Jesus

Loni said...

"Weep with those that weep" and it is one of the most healing things. I've been so thankful for those that have weeped with me, and to weep with others . . . it's healing both ways.

Thank you for sharing.


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