Send The Cookies

When the shut downs began last March, the staff at our previous church divided up the directory and sought to routinely reach out to the families in our congregation. Everyone was facing unique challenges as pandemic-life unfolded, and we wanted to make sure we were keeping tabs and helping however we could. 

Six or seven weeks had gone by, and suddenly it hit me: no one had reached out to ask how we were doing. Let me be clear - after I initiated conversations with people, I received many, ‘how are you and Matt doing?’ responses, for which I was and am so grateful. 

As I reflected on that realization, though, I let my brain and heart spiral: had we not connected with our church as well as I had thought? Am I even the right fit for them? What am I doing wrong? Do they care? My rational mind knew we were supported and loved by the church and that this one experience didn’t negate that. I guess I’m just saying my feelings won that day.   

I want to share two things I learned through this experience. 

1. Sometimes the, ‘why didn’t they ___, don't they care about me?’ thoughts creep in and the loneliness takes over. Oftentimes those are the exact moments when we need to be a light to someone else. We should be honest about our hurt but not immobilized by it. We need to begin to let the, ‘how can I bless or serve someone today?’ thoughts rise to the top, and actually follow through when we consider reaching out to ___, or when we sense the Spirit prompting us to call ___. How do I know this? Because… 

2. Only days after my realization sank in, I received an encouraging letter from a dear friend and parent of teens in our youth group. I also received sweet treats in the mail from another wonderful friend who decided to fill our empty T-Rex cookie jar that made an appearance in a devotional video I had posted the week before. I can guarantee these friends were experiencing their own hurt at the time, but it didn’t matter - they still reached out and it blessed me more than they will ever know. 

What is equally beautiful to me is that the cookies were ordered and the letter was sent before I had even reached this low. I shouldn’t be surprised that God was providing a need for my heart through these friends before I even noticed the hole, yet it still amazes me. 

I realize things don’t always work out this way. Sometimes the hurt persists and the cookies and cards don’t come. Even still, I wanted to share a very tangible way that this tired pastor received some much needed love because others dared to be obedient to the stirrings of God. To them it may have seemed like a small gesture, but to my broken spirit it was life-giving. 

Here’s the thing: we all have people around us in need of small but mighty gestures that say, ‘you are loved.’ 

Friends - send the card. Send the cookies.