My love

My love
Photo credit:Britt Lanicek Photography

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sweet Cream Filling

Oreo /ˈɔːrioʊ/ is a sandwich cookie consisting of two chocolate wafers with a sweet creme filling in between, and are marketed as "Chocolate Sandwich Cookies" on the package they are held in. Wikipedia

You know them, you've eaten them, chances are... you love them. But, I will never again look at that little cookie without remembering what happened in October 2014 when 52 packages ended up on our doorstep. 
Our church had just began the study from the book "The Blessed Life" by Robert Morris. Small groups had just resumed in the church after taking a break for the summer. Now, I have been in small groups before and have loved the fellowship and instruction I have received, but this study was different. From the moment I picked up the book, I knew my life (and perception on giving) was about to change drastically. Throughout our marriage, my husband and I had been on a financial roller coaster. The tithing principle was a new concept for my husband and lets just say it added a little friction in the first few years of our marriage. Some seasons we gave, others we didn't. But, we began to notice that in the seasons of not tithing, the blessings began to fall away. Don't get me wrong... God was still faithful during those times and we had everything we needed, but there is a sweetness that was lost when we didn't give to God what was his. I can't remember the exact circumstances, but we eventually decided that tithing 10% of our net income was going to be first.. no matter what. 
After we started reading "The Blessed Life" we made the tough decision to start tithing off of our gross income... which was a very painful- faith building decision to make. I have been a stay at home mom and making ends meet with one income has not been easy, but we grabbed on to the principles we learned in the book that were directly link to God's word and knew that God would provide. 
We attended a Fall Fun Fest at our sons school during that same time. My boys were so excited about entering their name to win prizes from a drawing. I honestly didn't see what boxes they dropped their tickets into, but a few weeks later we received the call that our son Alex won the "Oreo Cookies for a year" prize! Sure enough, that next day, on October 11th we found several boxes on our porch containing the 52 packages of Oreo's! "What on earth were we going to do with all of these cookies" was my initial thought... you can imagine the thoughts of our 4 kids. We opened a package of  the Pumpkin Spice cookies. As we sat around the table eating these amazing cookies.. we talked about what we would do with the rest of the packages. We have a pretty open communication with our kids about what we are learning and experiences with our bible study or whatever issue God may be working on with us, so we talked about how BLESSED we were to have received the Oreos and how we could pass the blessing on to others. We tossed around ideas, but ultimately left the decision to Alex.
The next day in church as we continued studying more about the principles from "The Blessed Life", the pastor presented an application that I don't think anyone saw coming. He asked us to get our money out and hold it up. All we had.. Well, as debit card users.. we very rarely have ANY money. So we just stood there feeling very weird with $0. He then asked all of us without money to raise our hands. I was embarrassed but soon the embarrassment turned into shock as one by one, people began placing their money in our hands! The ones with money were instructed to give what they had to someone without. It was a beautiful, crazy kind of chaos that ensued in that sanctuary. People were smiling and sharing. Wads of cash and change seemed to fly around the room. I knew what God was doing in that moment was something amazing. People I didn't really know were throwing their money in our hands. I just stood there dumbfounded with cash piling up. As soon as the commotion died down, the pastor closed the service and we were dismissed. I however.. was still standing there frozen. I quickly shoved the ball of bills into my husbands hands. I started looking around and noticed a single mom that was a new friend that I was getting know through our small group. I grabbed the wad of cash and made my way over to her. I glanced down at the money but other than seeing a few $1 bills, I had no idea how much I had received. We caught eyes, and I said something like.. "God wants you to have this". She looked just as shocked as I had been. We hugged and parted ways. Soon after I received a message from her saying that the amount was $198.00!! I never would have guessed! But this was such an amazing blessing from God handed to us to deliver to this precious friend. She had $3 to give.. the last $3 she had that was going to by milk for her kids. She was obedient in giving and did God ever multiply that blessing! I call it "God's Math".. Thankfully his math is SO much better than ours! 
I quickly shared with our kids the miracle that happened that day at church. What God can do when we are obediant and give what he is asking us to give!!  I could tell Alex was stirring.. and I knew it was God nudging him. With tears in his eyes he made the decision to give away the Oreos.. not just a couple packages but ALL of them. Well..they were used to share with the other kids at the church as well as homeless feedings and he was so blessed by being able to share. 
From the events that transpired that weekend came a story that has been shared with the congregation and now you! God used those Oreos and this story to be a blessing and encourage us all to step out and give what we have and let GOD multiply the SWEETNESS of the blessing! 
Whatever you have, remember to PASS IT ON! 
Marlee posing with the boxes that contained 52 packages of Oreos!

Nov. 4th 2014- Alex is the 3rd one from the left as a stone carrier.
Just another blessing that came from this story.