I have a small collection of old hymn books, vintage momentos from a time when worship songs were sometimes lengthy sermons delivered in multiple stanzas seeped in deep theology and truth. Over the years, I've also been gifted books that tell about the person and story behind an old hallelujah favorite.
This weekend, on a rare solitary morning, I read of the writer of Break Thou the Bread of Life. Mary Lathbury was known as the honorary poet laureate of her upstate New York community in the late 1800s. Throughout her simple life, she wrote many enduring hymns.
She said that God had once spoken this truth and challenge to her, "Remember, my child, that you have a gift of weaving fancies into verse and a gift with the pencil of producing visions that come to your heart; consecrate these to Me as thoroughly as you do your inmost spirit."
These words echoed in my heart all day as I went about doing the things that must be done for my family and even in the silence of the night as I readied myself for bed, reading and composing the details of my upcoming week. I have been given certain gifts and though I am often hesitant and uncertain of what they are and how best to express them, I am grateful for ministering individuals in my life who affirm what comes easily and pleasurably to me and helps me define what those gifts may be.
My husband gifts me with the necessary confidence to step boldly into new arenas because he believes I have qualities essential to the task. A now long-distance friend affirms my strengths as a mother and the heart that inspires my absolute devotion to my children, despite my failures and protest. A published author and beloved blogger emails me to encourage me to keep writing, to keep fleshing out the journey and light I seek in my life. Friends hire me, unadvertised, to capture fleeting moments of life through my lens because they see beauty in what I do for pure joy.
Slowly through the years I have come to believe in my gifts and believe that, no matter how feeble or untamed, they are an offering I can bring as an audacious act of worship.
Remember, you too have a gift. Today, having declared it as a sacred expression of who you were made to be, how will you exercise your gifts in a continual rhythm of worship?