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Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering and come into his courts with thanksgiving.

Psalm 96:7-8

For most of this week, my camera has sat on its shelf. My notebook where I keep my “gift list” has sat idly on the kitchen counter. The last gift that I numbered was four days ago. Some days, the gifts are easy to number. My eyes are good. I see them and call them by name.

Other days (weeks??) are harder. It’s not that the gifts are fewer, it’s just that I can’t see them. The urgency of circumstances and events and things beyond my control presses in hard on all sides. Dinner needs cooking. School needs planning. Children need baths. Clothes need washing.

The weight of hopelessness presses on me as I realize the impossibility of doing everything that is calling to be done. I press back by seeking satisfaction in something, anything, that I can actually accomplish. Cleaning the baseboards. Scrubbing kitchen cabinets. Purging toy baskets. All of these things I actually did this week. But the things that matter, the important things, these I did not do. I did not sit at the breakfast table with my family. I did not read books with Pearl when she asked me to. I did not take a walk with the little guys when the weather was beautiful and they asked to go outside.

The urgent triumphed over the important this week.

In the midst of this crushing hopelessness, I found myself chuckling over Pearl transforming her lunch into an elaborate sculpture. Very purposefully and with great intent, I watched her stack all of her lunch elements one by one. A foundation of peanut butter and banana sandwich, turned inside out. A sprinkling of crumbled tortilla chips. One….no, two….no, actually just one…..no, definately two cherry tomatoes placed just so. Topped with another slice of bread with peanut butter. And…it’s missing something. What does a peanut-butter-banana-corn-chip-tomato tower need as a final touch? Oh yes, a thumb right through the middle of all of it.

It was this One Thing that I was able to enter into this week. I was there for it. I don’t doubt there were plenty of gifts this week, and I, with my eyes focused on urgent things, didn’t see them. They were obscured by the persistent gravities crushing me on all sides.

But this is my one gift this week from which I truly drank deeply.

I am the widow bringing my two copper coins to the temple. They are light in my hands and feel insignificant…next to nothing. But they ring true as I release them in gratitude back to Him who gave them to me. They gain significance through the offering.

It is a humble offering, but it’s all I have to give.