Shaped by Limitations and Giftedness

We’ve been coping with the chaos and change that construction work brings. Three new houses are being built on our road. Every day as we come and go from our house, we have to walk through the construction site. When there is a delivery truck or large vehicles are moving materials, we are escorted through the site. The work pauses for us. We have the opportunity to chat and find out how the work is progressing. And we have been very thankful for the care shown to keep us safe and informed.

Last week one of my children suggested we make some cookies and take them to the builders to make them smile. It had been so wet and windy, we had wondered how it felt to be digging and building in that weather. We found time to make the cookies, packed them into boxes and the next day took them with us as we went to school. It definitely brought the workers a smile!

It got me thinking just how important and significant it is for my children when I support and enable them to serve others using their gifts and talents. Yes it was a busy week, too busy actually to stop and make cookies, but I was so glad we did. I was so very proud of my child, and humbled by their matter-of-fact willingness to show unexpected kindness in that practical way. Despite me feeling that we were just too busy, we found we could achieve it together.

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We so often focus on the limitations in our life: the things we cannot do, the things we see others achieving, the regret we feel for things we never will do as a family. The obstacles surrounding us seem to prevent us from activities we want to get involved in together. We can feel these limitations keenly, perhaps especially as our friends and their children reach milestones. We wonder if we will celebrate those same milestones with our children. And there is truth in these limitations: there are many things my family will always struggle with that others don’t. We are shaped by limitations. But it is also true that we are shaped by unique giftedness, strengths, talents and abilities. We are shaped by the Creator with purpose.

Ephesians 2 describes each of us as God’s handiwork, his masterpieces, made ready through Jesus for good works, ready to join in with what God is doing. What if I were to see the possibilities before the limitations? What if I were to trust that God’s working in and through us is not limited by our weakness, but rather a space given to work more powerfully through those parts of our lives? What good works could we as a family join in with this week ahead of us? What good works do I hurry past, worried we haven’t time, ability, or energy?

I was so encouraged and challenged by my child’s idea to take two boxes of cookies to the builders at the end of the road. And I was reminded yet again of all that we can do to serve others with the love of Jesus. It doesn’t have to be in big ways, it doesn’t have to be offered on my own. The cookies took all of us working together: my child had the idea, Daddy measured ingredients, my child did the mixing. Another took the cookies out of the oven to cool. My children packed them into boxes, and resisted eating them! I got us ready to leave for school the next day with just enough time to stop and give the cookies, and Daddy did the talking. This has reminded me to see the wonderful strengths and talents He has given us as a family, and to look for the way He is working within and through us to show His love to those around us.

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