Today I am honored to introduce you to Lucie Winborne. This is a busy time of the year for me and I am happy to have a fellow blogger to Guest Post on my site. Lucie offered to share a wonderful story of gratitude today. I am sure you will be touched by her transparency. This a great reminder the week of Thanksgiving and beginning the Christmas holidays.

About


I’m a Central Florida-based blogger and freelance writer for hire, NaNoWriMo winner, novelist-in-progress and poet…when I’m not the full-time employee of a top-notch engineering firm and a book-loving, cat-loving, seventh-generation fried okra-loving Southerner who uses words not just to communicate, but to reveal. Please stop by and visit her website “Postcards From My Head” and enjoy your visit, then she invites you to join her on her front porch for a glass of iced tea and a chat.

Lucie M. Winborne
It starts with something relatively simple at work…something that ticks me off, although I don’t reveal that to anyone.  Something that sticks with me into the next day…

Until evening, when I’m relaxing on the family room couch, laptop open to Facebook, and see that a friend of the cousin I’ve heard very little from in eight years has messaged her, “Sending prayers of healing your way.”   My cousin and I are terrible at keeping up, but her most recent status updates have rung a faint alarm bell that just got louder. I promise myself to finally stop procrastinating and send her an email the very next morning: “How are you?  Is anything wrong?”

But before I can hit “Compose,” she preempts me with a lengthy update.  In the past year she’s navigated her longtime boyfriend’s debilitating accident, her only sibling’s multiple brain infections, and now breast cancer surgery, followed by chemotherapy that’s taking her hair…which upsets her more than the surgery.

Yet her message closes with faith and positivity, a firmly expressed belief that God is bound to do something with that suffering.  I’m astonished, humbled, and (once again!) a little ashamed of being such a poor correspondent.

Because I need to be reminded.

On Facebook again a few nights later, another status update from another cousin.  His three-year-old son, undergoing treatment for leukemia, has been in the hospital for over a week, mystified doctors performing test after test.  Diagnosis, release(and relief) come after 11 days. From my cat-clawed but comfortable couch I imagine the stress his parents endure in hours spent at a child’s bedside while one also holds down a job– the kind of stress that comes not just with chronic illness, but not knowing.

Yet their unflinchingly honest Facebook updates are not merely progress reports or prayer requests, but missives of hope, of gratitude, and faith that God is hearing, blessing, and will continue to uphold them.

Total strangers from around the country are reading them.  Some of them, like me, need to be reminded.

A few days later, in a Walmart parking lot… ”Ma’am – ma’am,” I hear behind me, hoping the voice isn’t directed my way.  I turn and an older African-American man apologizes for startling me, holding out what looks like a driver’s license, as if to identify himself as something other than dangerous.  I can’t make out all his words, but the message is clear.

With a set amount of cash, a set amount of time and a set number of items on a list, I tell him I’ll connect with him after I’m finished.  He thanks me, apologizes again.  I tell myself I don’t need to feel guilty: who knows if he’s even for real?  And I’m already shopping for a charitable function.  I can’t help everyone, much as I might want to.

But it’s not over.  On my way back to the office I spot a couple at the plaza entrance, the man holding a sign saying his wife is pregnant and he’s looking for work.  At the stop light, my eyes don’t connect with theirs and I hope they won’t approach my car.  Barely 15 minutes later, I’m back in the same plaza but at a different store…additional food has been requested for the office potluck.  They don’t have what I need, and so it’s back to Walmart – again! – and there’s the young woman, supposedly pregnant, whose partner was just holding the sign…approaching me.

She’s holding a bag from Chick-fil-A.   Someone gave her food, but she then says, “she called a shelter and they have a bed for her, thank God, but she needs six dollars to help her get there…”

This time I say yes.  She says, “God bless you.”  I could and should say, “He already has.”  Because the car I get into after handing her those small bills may be 12 years old, with sun-damaged paint and an oil pump leak, but it rarely requires maintenance. I’m returning to a place of well-compensated employment and a belly-busting potluck, then to a comfortable even if a little cluttered house, not a shelter for the homeless…

If she really is.  Who knows?  What I do know is that, unseasonably warm in this week before Thanksgiving, embarrassed by panhandlers, irritated by multiple shopping trips, holding fast to the bills in my purse even as I know there’s more in the bank…with a relatively stress-free existence I frequently label as “boring”…I’m still oblivious far too often to the good fortune surrounding me daily.  Unchurched, secular Christian that I am, I can’t help feeling that the stories I’ve encountered just this week are gentle nudges from God to open my eyes…not just to need, but to gratitude…the kind that in turn seeks to bless others.

Because He knows I need reminding.

Please leave Lucie a comment sharing your thoughts and stories of when God has reminded you to be a blessing to someone else or a story of thankfulness.

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brendamcgraw@yahoo.com'

About Brenda McGraw

Brenda McGraw is the founder of Ask God Today Ministries where a team of writers share hope and truth with others. She has a God-given dream to reach the masses with the gospel of Christ. Brenda is an author and speaker who reveals how to discover joy beyond the clutter of life. She draws from her own life experiences in the #1 Amazon Best seller,“Joy Beyond, 28 Days to Finding Joy Beyond the Clutter of Life”. She has two new books released. Finished, Top Ten Steps to Finish Writing a Book and Living Uncluttered, An Abundant Life Bible Study.

Brenda lives in South Carolina with her husband, Jeff and one of their five children. She is a survivor of breast cancer and a heart attack. Despite the challenges she has endured, Brenda found peace through her relationship with Jesus Christ.

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