Discover more from Monday Manna
Blessed to bless....
Good morning, friends, and love to each of you in this new week ~
I’m penning this rather early—by the time you receive it, our family will have departed for an extended all-Lehn trip together for the week. But I wanted to send a Thanksgiving greeting filled with my gratitude for each of you — for receiving and reading these words, and more importantly, for channeling all that comes to you as a way to then bless the world in your own way, with your own hands, with your own heart. Matchless.
I also cannot fully express my gratitude for, and how surprised I’ve been by, the donations many of you have made. Monday Manna is free and yet you pledged a gift because God has somehow met you through these words, and gratitude led to generosity. My first founding member was someone I’ve never met! I’ve especially been deeply moved by the words you’ve written as to why you wanted to donate. One of the most recent paid subscribers said….
It’s been so humbling. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
This Thanksgiving week, at least in the U.S., we will center in a more intentional way on gratitude — something we continually hope will become embedded in our daily life and eyes. And I am guessing that when you think of what you are most grateful for in your life, it is probably not a what, but a who.
The people we have in our lives, the relationships we share, the ways these connections cause us to grow, perhaps impact us more than anything else. And they are also one of the primary ways we give and receive blessing.
Growing up in South Dakota, there was a faithful, beautiful couple at my church — Tom and Kathrine Schnabel — who committed themselves to leading a youth Bible Study and teaching Sunday School to high schoolers every single week. They never had children of their own, but with how they invested in all of us at First Presbyterian of Sioux Falls, you could say they had countless. I can still remember Kathrine laying in her sleeping bag next to mine on a classroom linoleum floor for a mission trip to Montana.
Of the many things Tom and Kathrine patiently and perseveringly passed on to us (remember, high schoolers) I think of the phrase they said more than any other, drawn from the Genesis story of Sarah and Abraham…
You are blessed to be a blessing.
It wasn’t about obligation — a “you receive this only so you can pass it on to others.” I bristle at that kind of theology or thinking. What the Schnabels were pointing to was how much God loves each of us. About how we can be a conduit, a channel, through which the blessing power of healing, love, and light we receive flows on.
Last year, Tom received a sudden diagnosis of esophageal cancer. He died two months ago in hospice care, with his family singing harmony over him. And when I learned the news, I kept thinking of blessing, and how Tom lived that way the whole way home.
I hope you know that without even trying or thinking about it, you are a blessing to others. God is blessing the world through you in ways you see, but many you don’t. And that one of the prayers God delights in the most is when you open your hands and say, “Here I am.”
God takes it from there.
Monday Manna is a reader-supported publication, and your support makes it possible for me to continue this work I love. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
We’ve been focusing on the act of “blessing” recently at our church, and that reminded me…I was once asked what my favorite prayer in my book, Ash and Starlight is — something I’d never thought about before! Perhaps it’s because this is the one I pray over my kids, but it is, “A blessing for someone you love (and yourself!).” It used to be the last prayer in the book, until the second edition. :)
This week, as you give thanks for people in your life, maybe you can pick someone — or many someones — to bless with these words.
A blessing for someone you love (and yourself!)
I pray for your love in __________’s life.
I pray for your joy in __________’s heart.
I pray for your peace in __________’s soul.
I pray for your patience in __________’s words.
I pray for your kindness in __________’s actions.
I pray for your goodness in __________’s sharing.
I pray for your faithfulness in __________’s relationships.
I pray for your gentleness in __________’s spirit.
And I pray for your self-control in __________’s choices.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
May they blossom in and through__________.
Numbers 6:26 * Isaiah 11:2-3 * Galatians 5:22-23
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,
gentleness, and self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23
Something that nourished me recently…
*This past week, I got to do three things I love— play clarinet in church (I think my squeaks could be counted on one hand!), watercolor paint with friends, and run with my daughter. This fall, I helped coach a Girls on the Run Team at my kids’ elementary school. It culminates in a 5k at the end of the season which we had last Monday. Here is a pic of our crew and coaches. I sent it out to the families and said when we worry about our hurting world and are needing hope, we can look at the faces of these strong girls.
*Speaking of blessing….many years ago, a mentor gave me John O’Donohue’s To Bless the Space Between Us, which has become one of my favorite (and most influential) books of all time. It is also the book that first got me into writing prayers.
*And speaking of gratitude and generosity, here’s a video our Director of Family Ministries made from conversations about generosity she shared with kids at our church. This, too, will give you hope…
*And lastly, flowers sent in a hard, tender week…
Ash and Starlight, plus other good things…
*SECOND EDITION OF ASH AND STARLIGHT IS HERE! ~ It’s been a joy to receive texts, emails, and pictures from you after your copies arrived! Thank you for your patience after the publishing delay. It’s been another reminder of how little we control. But things come on time in the grand scheme…
You are blessed to bless, friends. And you do this, just by being you. Keep listening to that inner voice, opening your hands, and saying, “Here I am.”
I’ll be in touch upon my return!
Happy Thanksgiving. And thank you.
Love and Light,
I love hearing from you! You are manna. Reply to this note to send a message directly to my inbox.
Monday Manna is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.