This a contributor piece written for the Joy Of It Blog.
Inexplicably life has a way of revealing common threads from what seem to be completely unrelated events, seasons, and experiences. One such thread for me has just so happened to center around a household appliance.
I know, odd.
The story line spans over 15 years, but has come to represent a recurring testimony of the Holy Spirit’s faithfulness and wisdom for my life…as well as God’s gracious sense of humor.
My hope is that this personal “parable of the blenders” will remind you of your tremendous value in this world.
Sixteen years ago this month I got engaged to my husband. With a six month planning on-ramp, the wedding registrations were quickly underway. Walking into Bed Bath & Beyond felt overwhelming for us mostly broke 20-somethings. We made our way through the store and it wasn’t long before an argument ensued.
We stood in the aisle of small appliances – toasters, blenders, coﬀee makers and the like. I suggested something middle of the road – good quality, but not too expensive. But my soon-to-be husband didn’t agree. He proposed the base level model. Living oﬀ one small income ourselves, he couldn’t justify registering for something that we ourselves couldn’t aﬀord as a gift.
I conceded, agreeing that our college-aged guests might be oﬀended at something with a high price point. We registered for base model appliances in shades of white.
Those appliances didn’t last long before needing replacements. Particularly, the one that caused us problems was the blender. Regardless of what we were blending, the smell of burnt rubber was ever-present. A year after we were married we made a move across the country.
I’m pretty sure the blender was “accidentally” left oﬀ our packing list.
During the next season of our married life we lived close to my parents and were recipients of “gently used” hand-me-downs, one of which was a stainless steel blender with multiple attachments. Despite its capabilities, we only used it as a blender, until it broke. Then it sat in the cupboard for a long time. I didn’t know exactly what was wrong with it so I didn’t know exactly how to fix it.
I held a fool’s hope that this fancy, multi-faceted blender might start working again. It was so pretty and shiny and capable, I just couldn’t bring myself to throw it out. Eventually, I lost track of what happened to it. It either made its way into one of our garage sales or was a casualty of a spring cleaning binge. I just knew that I didn’t have a working blender and I still remember the space in the cupboard it occupied all those years.
Life with no blender was fine until one day it wasn’t.
I had an intense craving for a milkshake to combat the 100 degree summer heat. I phoned our good friends who lived up the street and asked to borrow theirs. True to form, they were quick to share and brought it over. My dreams of milkshakes on the patio watching the sun go down came true.
The close of summer welcomed back routines, schedules and to-do lists. At the top of my list was a purge of all the cabinets, starting with the kitchen. The house we lived in at the time had a plethora of storage, which turned out to be more of a curse than a blessing. The garage sale bin was filling quickly, and when I came across the cabinet that housed my friend’s borrowed blender, with confidence, I declared it was the old broken one and threw it in the trash.
A few Saturdays later, my friend from up the street showed up while we were flipping pancakes. He enjoyed a cup of coﬀee with us before stating the reason for his visit. They were making fruit smoothies for breakfast and he came to get their blender. I opened the cupboard to retrieve it and then it all came into focus.
I hung my head in shame and admitted that I had thrown away their blender.
I sheepishly explained that I was cleaning out cabinets and assumed that the broken one that occupied the cupboard all those years was what was in there. I had thrown away their perfectly good blender. I promised a replacement. My friend razzed me a bit and then responded with grace. It is now a standing joke to keep blenders under lock and key when I am around.
Can you relate? Have you ever thrown away something that has value because you thought it was broken? The story found in these blenders revealed truths that I had dismissed.
God in His kind, and personal way, brought them to my attention.
My decision to concede with a bottom-of-the-line blender for our wedding registration was driven by believing I didn’t deserve something of higher value. I internalized that we didn’t really deserve something expensive and that asking for it was actually oﬀ-putting. I was simply too worried to ask for what I wanted because of what other people might think.
God is a giver. He gives and gives and gives. Despite knowing this, I find myself continually downgrading what I really desire, because I’m thinking about what other people are thinking about.
Whether the situation has involved a need for healing, monetary provision, or something miraculous, too often I’ve settled for base level model requests. It lacks faith, it’s rooted in fear of man, and it makes light of the gospel: the great lengths to which God went to redeem mankind to Himself.
When provided with a new, upgraded blender from my parents, I didn’t take the time to maximize its value or even learn how to fully use it. It wasn’t something that I chose or paid for. It was used, and therefore not as good in my mind. When it broke down, I was content to just let it be that way.
As I reflected on this situation, again the Holy Spirit began showing me that I have responded in a similar fashion to what I’ve believed to be a spiritual hand-me-down from God. I felt a fresh conviction about how I’ve done this with myself. There are parts of my personality that, frankly, I’ve not understood. I’ve not known how to use them and I’ve questioned why God made me the way he did.
In my confusion I had concluded that some areas of my life were simply broken parts – parts that don’t seem terribly necessary and really weren’t worth attempting to fix.
But the truth is, there are some really unique and resourceful attributes of how I am hardwired by my Creator that I have yet to explore. God has given each of us a set of gifts and abilities that require some discovery and most likely some redemption.
When our friends lent us their blender I should have just returned it the next day. But, because I had stored our blenders in the same spot for so many years, I just put theirs in the same spot without thinking. Habits aren’t always good. And when I threw it out, it revealed my train of thought about lack and brokenness.
I felt the Holy Spirit asking me about how I miss God’s provision because I relate to it as charity.
The generosity from our friends was received in the moment but eventually a more dominate narrative took over – that we’ve had a broken blender that we can’t fix and just needs to be thrown out. I’ve often seen God show up: He responds, He delivers, and He answers prayers, and yet, before long, I start playing old tapes about the lack in my life.
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