The Gift of Noticing (& an Auction Update)

Dear friends,

Fall has always been my favorite season. Maybe it’s the coziness of the clothes, maybe the beauty of the leaves, maybe the apple cider and pie, maybe the start of school. Whatever the reason, I can manage the heat of a Minnesota August by remembering that soon September and October will bring all sorts of things that I love. This year, however, I was so caught up in my tasks and to-do list that I almost missed out.

Have you Noticed?

Last week, God impressed upon my heart that I was about to miss the season. I heard God encouraging me to look up and notice the world, to see the beauty of creation during this time. And what did I see? Mostly, I saw trees in so many beautiful colors: fiery reds, vibrant oranges, and soft yellows. I saw a beautifully clear blue sky, bright and sunny, celebrating the crispness of the breeze.  And then, as I walked to my office door, I was surprised by a single purple flower, blooming alone.

This flower was definitely unusual. Between the rocky ground, the colder-than-average temperature, and the lack of any other flower nearby, this flower seemed to be blooming just for me. I didn’t remember seeing it the day before, and I certainly don’t recall anyone planting purple petunias along that strip of soil. My heart swelled with joy, much-needed in the midst of my hardship-filled week. I stooped to take a picture, to savor the moment, the bloom, and the feeling.

Isn’t that just like God? First, He invites us into a new season and a new way of looking at the world. As we respond and accept that invitation, He is already there, waiting with a gift for us. That morning, for me, the invitation was to notice and appreciate God’s handiwork. The gift was a small bloom of joy to soothe my weary spirit.

Keeping Focus

Seeing the flower that morning also reminded me of my experience with the Fall Auction. The auction is arguably my favorite event. Between the excitement of gathering items beforehand, the fun of the bidding, and the good food and conversations, my extroverted spirit soars. However, it’s easy to let the numerous tasks and stresses of preparation overwhelm me. This year, the stresses were increased by our general financial situation.

During the week immediately preceding the event, I heard a different invitation from God. This invitation was similar to His words to Martha in Luke 10:41: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; but only one thing is necessary;” (NASB). In this time, while preparation was necessary, my tasks and to-do lists were not the focus of the event. Rather, my focus needed to shift to gathering with our supporters, sharing what God is doing through the ministry, and allowing God to provide for our needs.

As I shifted my gaze from the tasks to the face of Jesus, I found the gift of His peace and presence in abundance. And then we saw God provide. A total of 55 people participated between the online and in-person events, about 1/3 of them people who hadn’t participated before. We raised just over $10,000 to help cover our deficit, more than half of which were outright gifts, not bids. And while we didn’t reach our goal, God did more than we expected based on the number of registrations.

God is Faithful

In the short weeks of following up with winners and processing donations, I have been humbled again by God’s faithfulness. The ministry of Outpost belongs to God; it is through Him that we live and move and have our being. He will provide for all we need, to the praise of His glory, not ours. And I am so grateful to you, our supporters, for your faithfulness in giving as God calls so that hope and healing can go forth in God’s name.

I don’t know what God is inviting you into today. But rest assured, wherever and whatever that is, God is already there. And the gift you will receive upon arrival will meet your need and feed your spirit. Go ahead, accept the invitation of your Creator. And be greatly blessed by the result.

Yours,

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About Wendy T.

WENDY T. is the Outreach & Events Manager at TCJHOP and coordinates events, speaking, and seminars at Outpost Ministries. During the pandemic, Wendy has enjoyed playing games and doing jigsaw puzzles with her family.