I forgot my offering was enough.
Before the world was full of iPhones and email and lightening charge, there was a woman who placed two coins in an offering plate. They were barely worth anything, even in a world where a day’s wages were far less than drive-through dinner for a family. A ridiculous offering, really, because it was so small and insignificant that it couldn’t provide anything for anyone. People tittered and mocked her meager offering.
There was once a boy who carried a lunch of two fish and five loaves of bread. There were thousands of hungry people and not enough food. It didn’t make sense for him to offer his lunch, but he did. It was a silly and insignificant offering. People dismissed it as meaningless.
There is a story of a man who needed help harvesting his field. He gathered workers in the early morning, promising them a generous wage for a day’s work. He gathered more workers later that morning, again around noon, again in the afternoon, and again just before quitting time. The sun set and the man paid every worker the full day’s wage, no matter how long they worked. The first workers hired grumbled and begrudged his generosity.
Many times offerings and blessings do not make earthly sense. It is easy to believe the harder we work, the more rewarded we will be. It seems that a significant offering is one that is notable and flashy. It would make sense that efficiency and effectiveness is most pleasing.
Somewhere along the way, I forgot my offering was enough. Rather than noticing small pleasures, I counted all the things not done. Instead of lingering with naming the color of the sky, I began dwelling on all that I haven’t accomplished. Sitting still stopped bringing sweet solitude and started conjuring failure. I tried going for walks and going to bed and going out of my mind trying to savor the glory of an ordinary day. Instead of claiming peace, I clenched it in a tight fist with gritted teeth.
It wasn’t peaceful.
It turns out when you forget your offering is enough, then nothing else is enough either. You find yourself in the dark and dangerous waters of the Sea of Not-Enough. When you are working to keep your nose above clamoring waves, you don’t have much energy left for anything else.
I decide to heft an SOS into the sea. What if it begins with a picture? I scroll my camera roll sure that I will find evidence that I’ve been idle and sluggish and lazy. Instead, I find a fight for celebration and a summer filled with incredible adventures with teenage boys and friends and a big Montana sky.
I don’t know what to write, but I begin tagging pictures led by my OLW 2021, peace, and trust I will discover something needed. I drop the pictures into Photoshop and start creating something out of nothing.
I didn’t know I had decided that my offering wasn’t enough. I think about the woman who dropped the coins in the offering plate. She knew she gave her all. The boy gave his whole lunch. There’s wasn’t more he could give; it was enough. The workers labored for the time they were given. They didn’t feel badly for not giving more.
As is often the case, I return here, to the space I’ve carved to make my personal thoughts public and now I toss this SOS into the sea. I want to be a woman of wisdom and whimsy. It hinges on believing my offering is enough.
Peace fills my lungs as I breathe in new resolve to believe it is true: my offering is enough.
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“Somewhere along the way, I forgot my offering was enough.” As happens many times, your words come to me when I need them the most. I quit writing because I didn’t think I had anything useful to say. I was drowning in the sea of not enough. Thanks, Ruth, for reminding me that my story still matters.
Oh thank you! We all need this now is this crazy world. We are enough! Peace and joy will guide my way!
Love you bunches. Sending hugs
I am thankful you are here and share your words. You write with honesty and grace. From where I look, you are a shining star even when you see the world through grey clouds.
There’s nothing better than starting Sunday morning with your words and pictures. You ARE a woman of wisdom and whimsy! Love the fireworks pic and the pic of you. It’s always good to read your words. Hugs and love, my dear friend.
Tying these biblical stories we have heard over and over to you and your struggle to feel worthy is a magical thread that leads us all, and hopefully you, too, to realize we are enough. God doesn’t make junk.
Dear Ruth, Something drew me to search for you blog today. And then I spent a lot of time reading. Your willingness to share your story, to write so vulnerably, is a gift and I hope it is providing you with some measure of comfort. You are more than enough. Sending you so many thoughts and wishes for strength, ongoing faith, and love from your people.
I love coming back to your blog from time to time and seeing glimpses into your story, and how it has unfolded over the years. I always love the craft of your writing and how you weave stories together. I love that peace is your word for 2021. I have been rereading a book about peace that you might enjoy exploring as part of your word. It is called Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart by Fr. Jacques Philippe. I also love the quote by St. Frances de Sales, “Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” This quote stood out to me when I first saw it because I could recognize that I very much lost my inner peace when my world seemed upset, but I wanted to grow in that area. Recent years have been a sense of inquiry into that. I really appreciate your last line of the post – so beautiful.
Thank you for sharing from your heart.
Your words help me.
Your reminders from God’s Word were timely.
“My offering is enough.”
As is so often true when I pull up your blog, I definitely needed to read this. Your words always make a difference, and I am thankful for them.
This is so timely for me. I am so glad I read this tonight. So often your stories speak right to me. Thank you for reminding me that my offering is enough – more than enough so that I keep the joy in what I do.
Ahhhhh … what a beautiful post. Beautiful reminders, beautiful photos, beautiful thoughts and words, by beautiful you. Thank you so much for sending your SOS out into the world. You have made my world better.