Too much. Too full. Too wonderful. Too magnificent.
I don't know where to put it all - the love, that is. It's like I'm a bucket sitting under a faucet on full blast that someone forgot about. Except there is no mistake - no forgetfulness or neglect. The water running over all my edges is every bit intentional.
Maybe I can give a glimpse... a little slice of the millions of miracles that burst like the morning in my life. There is power in naming blessings, even if our attempts to name miracles make them sound like they are less than miraculous. May God be glorified by my grateful heart today.
You might read these and think, "I see a few things there I might call miraculous, but even those are stretches. I can explain most of these away with reason (or lack thereof) or chance." To you I boldly say: "Friend, everything can always have a different ending. Always. These endings are miraculous because they happened when they didn't have to. Join me in my gratitude or don't, but let me know if your heart feels lighter if you choose the latter."
I'll start from last Thursday, just because this list must have a beginning and an end. But, I'd like to try to count the ways.
- Praying with high school girls on the streets of Ames and sharing my heart for the harvest party on Saturday to be a time of love, community, fellowship, and blessing... and praying against the weather the meteorologist predicted because a fall party really must happen on a cool evening with the leaves dancing in a gentle breeze. (Miracle - ever thought that praying for miracles is a miracle?)
- An impromptu gathering of friends to laugh and share and make decorations for said harvest party... which ended up also being a sleepover.
- Sharing pumpkin apple pancakes with a beautiful friend while listening to her heart to love youth and grow in ministry... and praying again against Saturday's weather, claiming clear skies with severe boldness. Miracle.
- A volunteer on Friday with a heart of gold willing to share in all the tasks at work that drain energy from my veins. Nothing short of a miracle.
- An afternoon of errands and baking and listening to the weatherman... and praying again against Saturday's weather (tornadoes predicted and severe storms likely).
- Despite numerous adjustments and a desperate lack of mathematical skills (one should not only multiply ingredients when changing a recipe, but also take into account the cooking method and container), chili for 40 was set to simmer in the crockpot and another pot safely stowed in the fridge.
- A clumsy maneuvering around several kitchen mishaps (spilled liquid Crisco, sketchy ingredient substitutions and clumpy powdered sugar) still resulted in delicious desserts.
- A phone call from across the world that came at the precise moment of baking, preparing, decorating, planning exhaustion when I needed just that kind of diversion.
- The safe 2:00 am arrival of my Honduran sister and the hours of catching up that followed until we resigned ourselves to sleep at 4:30 am out of sheer willpower. Seriously, a miracle.
- Baking pumpkin muffins early Saturday morning and filling the kitchen with the flavor of fall right before laughing every minute of a mile run for charity with a dear and silly friend who didn't mind a threatening sky.
- Sitting snuggled together in a wet stadium with family (new and old and adopted), cheering on our favorite team in our favorite colors at the 50 yard line. Miracle.
- When we left the game, Alejandra and I had absolutely no idea where we parked in the residential area by the stadium. Not an idea. At the point of exasperation, we prayed. When we looked up, my car Eddie was looking back at me. Miracle.
- Opening a trail of gifts from my Honduran sister that told the most beautiful story of friendship. Every card I opened had so much meaning and so much laughter. If you had told me 5 years ago that this former student would now be a close friend, I would have given you the crazy eye. Miracle.
- Though the morning was full of rain, the afternoon cleared and cooled enough to hang lights outside and accomplish all our pre-party planning without any funnel clouds in the sky. Miracle.
- Mulled spiced wine happened and it was just as delicious as I imagined. Seriously, that one is a miracle.
- Invitations to +-25 people which read, "bring friends and a fall-inspired dish" draws the most beautiful and diverse crowd with the most delicious and surprising spread. The combination of people present at the harvest party last night will never happen again, but it was exactly the right and best group of friends and strangers. Miracle.
- A sister who set up a photobooth to capture memories and laughter and stories like only a sister knows how. She knows exactly the kind of gift that makes the most sense to the person on the receiving end. Her creativity and thoughtfulness comes out in all sorts of joyful ways and blesses others like candy at a parade. Miracle.
- Conversations with friends (new and old) that were just as delightful as the absolutely amazing spread of food. Moving in and out of conversations was a dance I'll to any day. Miracle.
- Flowers, coffee, and some of the best hugs I've had in a long time. Impromptu songs, piano playing, games, and the kind of laughter that makes strangers walk in wanting to be a part of whatever is happening (because that happened, too!). Miracle.
- A gift that somehow appeared from around the world wrapped in all kinds of thoughtfulness, a card in the mail with sweet, sweet words of encouragement and love, hearing the voices of friends from different places and my niece say, "Happy Birthday." Miracle.
- Laughter is a category all its own. I could marvel at laughter all day if you'd let me. What a mysterious and wonderful thing it is to laugh. Miracle.
- When the last person walked outside, the raindrops finally fell. But no tornados, no severe weather, no tropical catastrophes made a mess of the harvest party. Miracle.
- Sunday morning coffee before college Sunday school class, where we thought about how Jesus stepped toward brokenness and evil and sin in order to speak Truth amidst confusion. Miracle.
- A sermon that spoke to my heart - learning about friendship with God through the life of Jesus and understanding how that gives us a boldness that is out of this world. Miracle.
- Sweet, uninterrupted conversation with one of my favorite miracles - hearing her heart and desire to seek the kingdom first and trust that "all else will be added." Miracle.
Miracles, all of these.
My heart is full to overflowing with blessings and I know the Giver of all these gifts. I know the Maker of everything good before it was made.
How does He love me? Let me count the ways. Let me tell you all the benefits of having such a friend.
But, it might take forever. Just FYI.