The love that God has for humanity can not be fully understood by our
finite minds because the extent of His Love is beyond the grasp of our
imagination. It is easy to tell people that God loves you, but if we take
the time to really understand what that means, we will begin to see how
deep God's love is towards His creation. (Jeremiah 31:3) (Luke 13:34-35)
Imagine the love of Christ that is so great that He willingly died a cruel
and painful death on a Cross so that He may redeem mankind from their sins.
His love is perfect and comes without motive, but with purity and wholeness
to fill the hearts of His creation. (1 Timothy 2:3-6) (1 Corinthians 2:9)
I hope you are blessed and encouraged by today's message.
THE YELLOW SHIRT
The baggy yellow shirt had long sleeves, four extra-large pockets trimmed
in black thread and snaps up the front. It was faded from years of wear,
but still in decent shape. I found it in 1963 when I was home from college
on Christmas break, rummaging through bags of clothes Mom intended to give
away. “You're not taking that old thing, are you?” Mom said when she saw
me packing the yellow shirt. “I wore that when I was pregnant with your
brother in 1954!”
“It's just the thing to wear over my clothes during art class Mom. Thanks!”
I slipped it into my suitcase before she could object. The yellow shirt
became a part of my college wardrobe. I loved it.
After graduation, I wore the shirt the day I moved into my new apartment
and on Saturday mornings when I cleaned.
The next year, I married. When I became pregnant, I wore the yellow shirt
during big-belly days. I missed Mom and the rest of my family, since we
were in Colorado and they were in Illinois. But that shirt helped. I
smiled, remembering that Mother had worn it when she was pregnant, 15
years earlier. That Christmas, mindful of the warm feelings the shirt had
given me, I patched one elbow, wrapped it in holiday paper and sent it to
Mom. When Mom wrote to thank me for her “real” gifts, she said the yellow
shirt was lovely. She never mentioned it again.
The next year, my husband, daughter and I stopped at Mom and Dad's to pick
up some furniture. Days later, when we uncrated the kitchen table, I
noticed something yellow taped to its bottom. The shirt!
And so the pattern was set.
On our next visit home, I secretly placed the shirt under Mom and Dad's
mattress. I don't know how long it took for her to find it, but almost two
years passed before I discovered it under the base of our living-room
floor lamp. The yellow shirt was just what I needed now while refinishing
furniture. The walnut stains added character.
In 1975 my husband and I divorced. With my three children, I prepared to
move back to Illinois. As I packed, a deep depression overtook me. I
wondered if I could make it on my own. I wondered if I would find a job. I
paged through the Bible, looking for comfort. In Ephesians, I read, “So
use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks,
and when it is all over, you will be standing up.”
I tried to picture myself wearing God's armor, but all I saw was the
stained yellow shirt. Slowly, it dawned on me. Wasn't my mother's love a
piece of God's armor? My courage was renewed.
Unpacking in our new home, I knew I had to get the shirt back to Mother.
The next time I visited her, I tucked it in her bottom dresser drawer.
Meanwhile, I found a good job at a radio station. A year later I discovered
the yellow shirt hidden in a rag bag in my cleaning closet. Something new
had been added. Embroidered in bright green across the breast pocket were
the words “I BELONG TO PAT.”
Not to be outdone, I got out my own embroidery materials and added an
apostrophe and seven more letters. Now the shirt proudly proclaimed, “I
BELONG TO PAT'S MOTHER.” But I didn't stop there. I zig-zagged all the
frayed seams, then had a friend mail the shirt in a fancy box to Mom from
Arlington, VA. We enclosed an official looking letter from “The Institute
for the Destitute,” announcing that she was the recipient of an award for
good deeds. I would have given anything to see Mom's face when she opened
the box. But, of course, she never mentioned it.
Two years later, in 1978, I remarried. The day of our wedding, Harold and
I put our car in a friend's garage to avoid practical jokers. After the
wedding, while my husband drove us to our honeymoon suite, I reached for a
pillow in the car to rest my head. It felt lumpy. I unzipped the case and
found, wrapped in wedding paper, the yellow shirt. Inside a pocket was a
note: “Read John 14:27-29. I love you both, Mother.”
That night I paged through the Bible in a hotel room and found the verses:
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give
isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you
again. If you really love me, you will be very happy for me, because now I
can go to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these
things before they happen so that you will believe when they do happen.”
The shirt was Mother's final gift. She had known for three months that she
had terminal Lou Gehrig's disease. Mother died the following year at age 57.
I was tempted to send the yellow shirt with her to her grave. But I'm glad
I didn't, because it is a vivid reminder of the love-filled game she and I
played for 16 years. Besides, my older daughter is in college now, majoring
in art. And every art student needs a baggy yellow shirt with big pockets.
Keep in mind that when someone tells you that God loves you, they are
sharing a truth that is eternal in its mercy and undeserved by its fallen
creation. Be thankful for God's love and know that He cares for you beyond
your comprehension and will be there to lift you up when you are feeling low.
Read and meditate on these scriptures:
Revelation 3:20 Jesus declares “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if
any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will
sup with him, and he with Me.”
Isaiah 40:29-31 “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no
might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD
shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they
shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Galatians 1:3-5 “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from
our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver
us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our
Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
All of these scriptures can be found in the King James Version Bible.
Today’s Selected Poem: GOD LOVES YOU
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/inpoem28.htm
Today’s Selected Testimony: THE SPARROW
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/testimony56.htm
In Christ’s Service,
Gods Work Ministry