Sarah looked at me with tears in her eyes.  “God is going to really bless you for the way you sacrifice for your members,”  she said, tenderly touching my hand.   I smiled as graciously as I could and lowered my face so that my eyes would not meet hers.  I’m sure Sarah, a godly woman in her early 50’s, thought I was being unnecessarily humble.  I’ve learned over the years not to argue with people who think folks who minister within the mentally challenged community are saints.  My protests would only make Sarah more determined of my saintly position.  

 Nevertheless, I knew the truth.   Sarah  had learned that I had spent much of Christmas day with four Special Gathering members who live in a group home and had no place to go for Christmas.  We had dinner together and then we went to see Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the latest Disney movie in the Narnia series.  She was overwhelmed by my sacrifice.  But here is the true story.

Because my husband, Frank, was in the hospital recovering from major surgery, I was alone for Christmas.  As I drove to the hospital early that morning to visit Frank, I called the group home.  I asked if my friends would like to go with me to the movie and pick up a quick meal after the show. 

 I spent the morning and early afternoon with Frank.  During his long afternoon nap, I picked up my four friends and we headed off for a wonderful dinner at a restaurant and then zoomed to the theatre for a great movie.  Before taking them home, we visited Frank at the hospital and sang Christmas carols for him.  It was a joy filled and delightful day. 

In reality, I wanted to see the Narnia movie but I didn’t want to go alone.  I shamelessly imposed on my members asking them to go with me.  I suggested a MacDonald’s meal after the movie.  The group home provider gave them money for a more expensive meal and suggested that we try to find a nice restaurant before the movie since they had a massive late breakfast and this would be their big meal of the day.  He told me that he would like to pay for my meal, also, if I would take them to a nicer place. 

Imagine, a wonderful meal at a great restaurant and a marvelous movie.  And it only cost me time spent with my four friends.  Often, I take hours licking my wounded spirit over real and imagined hurts and offenses.  As I drove home from my encounter with Sarah, I thanked the Lord that He can turn a day of pure selfishness into a time of sacrificial love.  Of course, as usual, it was my four members who transformed my selfishness with their sacrificial love.