Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Talented Sheltering

Scroll down to enter the $30.00 Amazon gift card giveaway.

Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there there except for those who sang the best.  ~Henry Van Dyke

When I was a new bride, RB sang in an Oratorio Guild.  I'd go faithfully to hear him sing even if Oratorios sung in German weren't really my thing.  Before we were married, people questioned our choices since most thought RB needed someone with musical talent.  I'd say -- after 36 years -- that fact hasn't detracted from our love or marriage.  

International Student Convention 2010
Wherever we went I got the same question, "Do you sing?"  I'd answer, "No."  "Do you play?"  Again, I'd answer, "No."  I'd get strange looks and the conversation was over.  One day an older woman, whose husband also sang in the guild, asked me those questions.  When I answered no, she leaned close and whispered, "I don't either, and when people ask me if I sing, I say, "No, but I scrub a mean kitchen floor." 

Can you believe I still remember that?  It's because she gave me the right to be proud of my own talents.  Aren't you glad God didn't make us all the same?  Otherwise we'd have beautiful music and nothing to read.  Or we'd have
trillions of books to read and nobody to offer
hospitality to us.  God made us with  unique talents.

Emily (Auntie) and Ethan

Now admittedly, there are varying degrees of talent. 
While one may sing very well, someone else may sing
even better.  The trick is not only using our talents, but
not judging them by others. 

Have you ever been sheltered by someone talented -- someone who makes you think, "I can't believe she did that for me!"  I have been so blessed by others sheltering me time and time again.

Just this month Emily had a birthday.  She shares her birth date with her nephew, Ethan, so her birthday is so much more fun for her than it was seven years ago.   Melanie and her family were coming over for the Sunday dinner to celebrate.  Emily loves white cake/white icing and the grands love cake, too.  We have a talented cake decorator in our church so I asked her to make a cake.  Oh, my goodness, was the cake beautiful.  White cake with white roses and a teal E (so it could stand for both Emily and Ethan).  Carisa refused to let me pay for the cake, even when I said I wouldn't want to ask her to make me another one if she wouldn't let me pay.  She said, "I'll let you pay for the next one, but this one I want to do for Emily." 

Cake by Carisa
Now just having her agree to make it was a blessing to      me, because she just got home that week from her brother's wedding (and among other things, she made the wedding cake).  But to Emily, the cake tasted just a little sweeter because she knew it was a gift from Carisa.  I tried cake decorating 30-some years ago.  I had stickiness from one end of my kitchen to the other.  And I've never tried it since.  But someone else used their talent to bless my daughter -- and we all know when that happens, we are blessed, too.

 This isn't all Carisa does.  She organizes our fellowship dinners and makes the most creative dishes to bring.  She's PTO president at her children's school, keeps our nursery running smoothy, and isn't too good to do a lot of the clean up work, too.

Emily 2010

RB is out today using his talent to bless our church family.  He's playing and singing for a funeral of a fairly young man who died from cancer.  Time and time again he's used his talent to shelter others: volunteering to prepare music for state and international competitions at our local school, giving lessons, leading worship at church and at the university where he works, playing for weddings, etc.  He's taught his daughters to shelter using the musical talents they've inherited from him.  Melanie is the organist for our church, teaches lessons to the school children and homeschoolers, sings with her family and other groups in church.  Emily sings several times a month at our services, with her father for special musical services at other churches and is taking French horn lessons so she'll be able to play in the orchestra at church.

At the church in Bedford where we worked for nineteen years, the senior pastor's wife had a talent for medical expertise in caring for others.  She was a nurse practitioner so this talent was her career, but so many times she would help those in the church with their medical needs.  I know our family was spared many trips to the doctor because she was willing to give us advice. 

I wish I could tell you all the talented people who have sheltered me, but this post is getting long.  There are others, like my sister, who shelters by sharing her beautifully decorated home, tea parties and what many call her Bed and Breakfast.  Our Christian schools are full of people who could make a great deal more, but they believe in Christian education and are sacrificing to teach, be a secretary, or coach a team. 

The reason I've been thinking on these lines is because a dear, sweet and talented woman went to Heaven a few weeks ago.  Wanda was amazing.  By the time I met her and her husband, they were retirement age.  Her husband was a contractor and after retirement helped build the school for the church in Bedford.  He built a shed where he taught carpentry skills to the students.  Wanda was an artist.  For 17 years she volunteered at the school, teaching art among other things.  After her husband died she added volunteering at the local hospital.  Every year at Christmas time she would write the most beautiful letters to RB and me, thanking us for our friendship.  It was an honor for RB to play for her funeral.

Were any of these people world renowned?  No, these are ordinary people determined to use the talents God gave them to shelter others.  We should guard against being proud of what God has given us.  John Wooden said, Talent is God given.  Be humble.  Fame is man-given.  Be grateful.  Conceit is self-given.  Be careful.  We didn't choose our talents.  God blessed us with them. 

Write down one talent you have.  Now find three ways you could use it to shelter someone.  Think of something you've never done before. I'd love to hear about the ways you've found to shelter others with your talents. And don't be ashamed of the talent you have.  I'm sure your pastor's wife or an elderly woman has a kitchen floor they'd liked cleaned.

 * * * * *

Can't decorate like Carisa?  Here's a fun cake you can make without the mess.

Cake by Melanie

So easy.  Cut a circle of cardboard.  Form the diapers in a circle and tie in place with ribbon.  Fold the next layer of diapers in half, form to circle and tie with ribbon.  The next layer is one diaper wrapped around a bottle of lotion or powder.  Use pins to keep the layers together.  Decorate with baby items. 


Marsha Young said...

We tend to think of talents as expressions of some artistic skill. Your "scrub a mean kitchen floor" reminded me that a talent is any useful activity that we use in obedience to Him for the benefit of others - or to serve Him in any way.

Nice reminder. Thank you. Marsha

Annie Joy said...

Pamela, I am a fairly new follower and wanted to let you know how much your post blessed me. Thank you for your insight on talents; I especially appreciate your understanding of the use of our talents as shelters for others. Annie

Rebecca said...

As usual, your post is interesting and encouraging! Seems like there's something here for everyone of every age or "stage". You are certainly following your own advice--using YOUR talent (writing) to inspire others.

Lorna said...

I won't mention any of my talents, but I want you to know that YOU have been the inspiration behind many of the things that I have done and YOU have opened up my world of decorating and entertaining just by your example of gracious living and your sharing nature! I love you, my friend!!!!

Jacki said...

You have a wonderful talent of writing and of caring. I never dreamed that one teacher, who only had me for a block class would grow to be the friend and writing mentor that you have become. Thank you!

Shore Girl said...

Another beautiful post - I too thank you for using your talent in writing to bless all of us!
Reminds me of the verse: Col 3:17 "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus..." The Lord brought that verse home to me a couple years ago and I've tried to live it every day since then. Big or little, noticed or unseen, important or mundane - my goal is to please Him... and to use the gifts He's blessed me with to serve Him better.

Michelle said...

This is such a sweet tribute.
You are a very special person.
Yes, cleaning floors is a talent.

Joshlin said...

I love this post! Talents are gifts from God and should be shared! Thanks for this post and reminding me that we all have a talent somewhere inside us. LOL!

Mindy said...

Thank you! You always bless me with every visit. You have such a wonderful family. I always appreciate your gentle reminders to us. =)

I really like that quote from John Wooden. Very thought-provoking.

Janine said...

I so loved this post today. Thank you for these precious words. I love the heart concept of sheltering people with our talents. Beautiful.

LaughingLady said...

This is an absolutely beautiful post! What a great reminder to not only be thankful for those around us who bless us by using their talents and gifts, but to BE people who use talents and gifts to be a blessing to others. Great inspiration here today ~ thank you!

the all-around mom said...

That diaper cake is so cute! Talents that came from God is really something to be thankful for. :)

Redeemed1 said...

How wonderful it is that God designed us each with our own talents - talents that we can use to shelter each other.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pamela,

What a beautiful and encouraging post! And it's so true that comparison to others can keep us from using our talents for God's glory and to bless others.

I'm very happy to 'meet' you, and thank you for visiting me today and for your kind comments.


Mommie Kate said...

Thank you for such a thought provoking post on talent- especially the less glamorous ones. It makes me think about how each one of us (with our unique talents and abilities) have a perfect fit for a perfect work in the Body of Christ. Great reminder! I'm going to pray about how to bless others with what I have.

MTJ said...

Hi Pamela,

This is my first visit to your blog and I did enjoy this post on Talent Sheltering. It's good that we're all different. Different in talent, skills and abilities. I believe those differences serve as complimentary gifts to one another. God empowers each of us with talent that we might bless others.

I was recently reading about the different parts of the body and the significance each has to the whole. None of us is greater, yet we're all integral.

Blessings and peace.


Avis said...

I HAVE SOME VERY PAINFUL MEMORIES BECAUSE I COULD NOT PLAY THE PIANO AND DID NOT HAVE A WHOLE LOT OF DESIRE TO DO SO. My husband is a minister. The wife is to play the piano. But I have poured a great deal of time and energy into children's work at the churches we have pastored. Also, youth services. I have also done a lot of " entertaining " endeavoring to make people feel loved and special. Have done a lot of baking " just because we love you " for our church people. The list goes on... but I could not play the piano and that made me an inferior minister's wife to some. :) Jesus has made it up to me many a time. Thank you for your lovely words of comfort!

bp said...

Thank you for visiting my blog today. I enjoyed your post and encouragement about talents.

Tricia said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog today... I am so glad that you found joy in what I shared about how the Lord spoke to me during my illness.

I love this post about using your talents to bless and shelter others, that is definitely something to ponder. God has given us all gifts and we should be using them for His glory and to bless others with...


Lynda Young said...

I've never seen a 'cake' like that before. How brilliant!

Stephanie said...

Good, good stuff!

Anonymous said...

What a amazing and eye opening post for me. I will for sure think on your challenge. What a wonderful thing. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Pam you are amazing. I watched you so many years as your wonderful husband shared his talents with us and you sat quietly seemingly in the shadows. Now you are sharing your talents of writing and encouraging with us. Thank you

Jerri said...

Loved your post! Often we are modest or even overly critical of ourselves when it comes to our talents. Many even think they don't have a talent at all because they can't draw or play music. But everyone can do SOMETHING.

Someone was speaking to our church about being active and playing in roll in activities. And the message was, you may not have the skills to teach a class, or you may not feel comfortable greeting or visiting people. But everyone has a unique talent or skill that can be utilized.

Toia said...

Great post!! This is a great reminder to appreciate those with wonderful talents and skills. Also, God blesses us with special talents to be a blessing to others.

This is an inspirational post!! Thanks for sharing and thanks for visiting my blog!!!

Mrs. Huse Clifton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Wow, I can sure see that you and Melodie are sisters....When I met her I could see the love of Jesus in here immediately. She is an inspiration to me even tho she does not know it. Now I am able to read your blog and see similarities and I really am blessed by meeting Melodies sister online here.

Mrs. Huse Clifton said...

Wow Pamela what a great and talented family you have. What a feeling of honor comes across when you read it, you are overglowing with a blessed feeling for having them.

I am so happy you stopped by my blog. I thought about you today when I was out driving. I was trying to take pictures of the PA landscape. I have never been to Indiana, PA but Bedford I do know.

You have a wonderful blog and a wonderful family.