We were loved profoundly this weekend.
Drake and I were recipients of the kind of love that leaves you feeling humbled and awestruck that God would place it on the hearts of His children to reach out and care for you in such thoughtful, tangible ways.
A small group at Saddleback Church (a different church than our own), having heard about our story, decided to commit their weekend to serving our family.
First of all, they sent Drake and me on an all-expense paid trip overnight to Catalina Island. We stayed in a great hotel that welcomed us with a special bottle of wine, dined at some nice restaurants, rented bikes and rode around the island, enjoyed the Wrigley botanical gardens, caught a movie at the historical Casino theatre, and had plenty of time to rest and relax in between. It was a sweet time for the two of us.
Meanwhile, while we were soaking in the sunlight and leisure of the island, several couples, having secured babysitters for the day, came into our home and totally renovated the place. Here is a list of all that they did (this list is intended to serve as reminder for me, more than anything):
1. Deep cleaned every nook and cranny in the house including the refrigerator/freezer.
2. Steam cleaned our carpets and shined our hardwood floors.
3. Applied touch-up paint on all the scuffed surfaces of our walls and staircase.
4. Repaired a door that was falling apart.
5. Unclogged a sink and repaired two others.
6. Fixed our vacuum cleaner.
7. Cleaned and re-organized the garage.
8. Cleaned and organized the patio.
9. Repaired our teak patio set and refurbished it with teak oil.
10. Repaired our smoke detectors.
11. Re-organized book shelves.
12. Re-organized drawers and cabinets.
13. Fixed some hooks that were falling out of the wall.
14. Got rid of our ants and caulked the holes where they were coming in.
15. Did our laundry.
16. Filled our hummingbird feeder.
And on top of all of that, they left us flowers and put four homemade meals in our freezer to provide us dinner this week.
Who gets loved like this?!!??!
This question kept racing through my mind all weekend, especially when we returned from our trip and raced around the house like kids at Christmas “unwrapping” the gift they had given us as we discovered and marveled at all the work done around our home. To describe it as “incredible” doesn’t do justice to the kindness and generosity bestowed upon us by this group of people that, for the most part, we have yet to even meet.
While this love and compassion affected us on many levels, the spiritual implications are especially weighty.
It is an easy temptation on this journey of loss to feel alone and abandoned by God, as though He does not care about me or my feelings. But when we are loved by “strangers” with such uncommon fervor, even a year after our son has died, it points to a supernatural love, it points to God. As I peered at our unclogged sink, discovered the refurbished patio furniture, and saw the spotless refrigerator, I was deeply affected by God’s love for me; He is, indeed, looking after me. God will not abandon me. My Heavenly Father wants me to continually experience His boundless love anew.
The manner in which our brothers and sisters at Saddleback Church covered us with love this weekend encouraged and stretched my faith, causing me to lean more deeply into the God who loves me and calls me to trust Him, even in my heartache.
Thank You Saddleback Small Group!!!