Crockpots, Candy Hearts, and Mercy

A husband and wife had a vision to look after widows in their distress on lonely Valentine’s days and went running with it. They decked out their home in pink and red and roses and pasta. Year after year the group of widows expanded, and that’s how we found ourselves recruited as part of the team that powered up an army of crockpots this last frigid Valentine’s Day.

Amazing how crockpots have enabled us to serve a hot meal, and how men dressed in trench coats can brave the cold to valet and usher in women and serve them hot tea, and how children can respect their elders and take their orders and refill drinks, and how my husband can sit himself at a table of older women and have a conversation around centerpieces of conversation candy hearts. (Don’t worry, ladies. He belongs to me.)

And how each one thanks you generously as they head to their cars already started up for them and waiting by the front door, and they ask what’s my secret to keeping the lemon bars from falling apart. (And I’m a little embarrassed to tell them that the secret is in the box of Krusteaz, and that anyone can dump a bag of frozen meatballs into a crockpot and it was almost too easy to be called “sacrifice.”)

Because each of these women, despite being left alone, finds a way to not stay alone, but serves her church and her sisters wholeheartedly, and the blessings drip off of them onto me. Two are my children’s Sunday school teachers. Some are mothers of my childhood friends who at times fed me and loaned a sleeping bag and pillow for sleepovers. I sat next to some in Bible Studies past and shared prayer requests. My own Mommom was amongst them, a woman who helped raise me in many ways and now slowly shuffled to her seat hanging on to my arm and whispering to give her little bag of favors to my son who was hovering in the corner trying to find his purpose in life. And others who grace the church with the presence of their stunning gray crowns of wisdom as they visit each other, make meals for new moms, and pray faithfully from their rocking chairs when it’s just too cold to get out for prayer meeting.

Amazing how you can sometimes try to be merciful, but then you realize you are the one who was shown mercy.

Thank you, ladies, for being an example of what it means to love the Lord as your Husband, whether your earthly husband has been gone three months or twenty-two years. You will surely enter those pearly gates hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servants.” Until then, thank you for your long-suffering and perseverance that allows time for others to come to know this Husband to widows, Father to the fatherless, Savior of sinners, who loves to shower us all with His great mercy.

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