Holding on to Faith

Late afternoon sun spills golden over the water.  Abandoned sand castles collapse and erode as the tide sweeps the beach.  They stand hand-in-hand in the shallow surf, a mom and little girl, laughing as the incoming waves tug and swirl around their ankles.

They look like any other mother and daughter walking the beach near sunset.   Except I know their story.  The girl with the chocolate brown eyes and the smile that melts hearts is named Faith.  Melissa is her foster mom.

Melissa welcomes her foster children into her home from difficult situations.  Some of them have survived abuse.  Suffered neglect.  Endured trauma.  They crave the security of unconditional love, and she wraps them in patience and affection.

Did I mention this?  Melissa is also fighting cancer.  Hours later, in the midst of packing up beach gear to head home, the effects of chemotherapy hit hard.   She puts a brave face over the pain and nausea.  She has two children to care for, and she doesn’t want them to see her sick.

I am her friend.  I promise to always be there for her.   I offer a hug, words of encouragement, and a helping hand.  But what little I can give never equals the need.    Sometimes, I feel helpless.

 She faces each day with grace, but I catch glimpses of the strain.  And I wonder.  How much can one person’s courage endure before breaking?

 How does God expect us to give when we have so little left to give?   

 I find the answer to my question in an unexpected place—a nearly empty jar of oil.  The widow of Zarephath had so little, yet her faith starkly contrasts her deep need.  What she had, she gave.  And God increased that trickle of oil.  The jar did not run empty.

I begin to see.  Never has it been about Melissa’s strength or about how much I have to offer her.   I freely admit my insufficiency and find comfort.   My source is not the drops of oil in my jar but the One who fills all my need.

My perspective has changed.  I have been wrecked.  I used to view my time, energy, and love as limited resources.  I stored them up, doled them out sparingly.  But that was before meeting Melissa—and holding Faith.  Now I realize that love was meant to grow and be stretched in uncomfortable ways.  God asks me to simply give and trust Him to work a miracle.

It is not easy.  Slowly I learn this walk toward God.   Take faith by the hand.   Hold on tight and step into the swirling surf of the unknown.  Surrender what little I have to meet a need.

Then, be still and know.

This is where His miracle begins.    

About the Author:  Jennifer is a follower of Jesus, wife, and mother of two sweet girls. 

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