Family Grace
By Shawnelle Eliasen

Good Things Multiply In God's Hands

“Mom,” Logan says. “I don’t want to hurt your feelings or worry you, but Gabe’s love tank seems low.”

My oldest son and I are enjoying a rare moment. He’s home from college, and the sun is settling on the porch swing just right.  

“I know,” I say. “I’ve noticed. Dad and I will need to pull him from the pack. Offer some individual attention. Try to fill his tank with some one-on-one.”

“I’ll help, too,” he says.

I’m grateful. I am. But Logan has spoken my suspicion. My little Gabe is one of the middle children. He’s quiet and reserved. He’s not one to tell me how he’s feeling, but his inside becomes apparent with behaviors on the outside. He wears his heart on his sleeve that way.

I sit for a moment and begin to feel heavy-hearted. And a little empty-handed. Sometimes I worry that I fall short–just a little shy of offering enough. And it’s not just about one-on-one time. Sometimes I worry that I don’t possess enough wisdom. Or patience. Or kindness. It’s easy to feel that I’m running a little thin.

Outstretched hands hold slips of paper that read Goodness, Kindess, etc.It’s then, sitting on the swing with my son that a sweet truth comes to mind. Loaves and fish. An abundance from a pittance. Baskets overflow when what we have is placed in His hands. It’s one of my favorite Bible stories.

I can picture Jesus teaching, pouring compassion and mercy on a vast crowd. There’s a hunger to learn, but physical hunger, too, and the resources that come forth are paltry. But Jesus prays, lifts His hands to the Lord, and the food is multiplied. The little stretches far. Bread is broken and bellies are filled.

In His hands, a small amount multiplied. In His hands, a small amount was more than enough.

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. (Luke 9:16-17)

Logan and I sit for a bit. There is no sound but the whine of the swing, traffic in the distance, and the gentle hum of a mower a few yards down.

And my heart is quiet, too.

I know that in my own strength, resources will not be adequate. In my own strength, I cannot meet the pressing needs.

But what I have, when placed in Jesus’ hands, will be multiplied. Magnified. Stretched to abundance in his sweet, amazing grace.

Lord, I offer You my wisdom, patience, kindness, compassion, understanding, love, joy, peace, time, energy and goodness. Let these be multiplied in Your hands. Amen.

Shawnelle Eliasen and her husband Lonny have been married for twenty-five years. They have five sons and raise their bevy of boys in an old Victorian near the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River. Their sons, Logan, Grant, Samuel, Gabriel, and Isaiah, range in age from twenty-one to six with Shawnelle home teaching the youngest three.

Shawnelle has been writing for six years, contributing regularly to Guideposts magazine, Daily Guideposts devotional and other inspirational publications.  She would say that life with her men moves faithfully, on fast forward.  But it’s her heart’s desire, her passionate prayer, to see God’s goodness and glory in the fullness of her days. She longs to see Him in the unexpected moments, unexpected places, changing the ordinary to extraordinary and bringing quiet, sustaining grace.