Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mail Call

I love getting mail. Ever since I was a small child, I have been fascinated by the whole postal process. It amazes me that someone in a far away state (or even country!) can put something in a box at near their home and days, or sometimes weeks, later it arrives at mine.

I faithfully check my mailbox every day. I have figured out when the mailman comes (actually, I think we have a mail-woman, but whatever), so I can be prompt. If I happen to be unable to check it, I will usually go as soon as I can the next day, even if it happens to be on Sunday. My neighbors probably think I'm crazy. They are probably right...

My mail lately has been fabulous! Just this last week, I have received: a photo book,coupons for free: yogurt, sweet potato fries, and allergy medicine, a CD to review, a book to review, and a bottle of shampoo! Checking the mail has become an event.

Our larger packages are delivered to our front door. Joel joked the other day that he can't go outside without bumping into some sort of box. For me, it is like Christmas every day. I get free samples, coupons, magazines, books, all kinds of things!

But it makes Josie sad. Every day she says, "Mom, did I get any mail?". Well, she is 5, so the answer is usually no. Every now and then I will get some kind of kids' catalog that I will say is for her. But usually, she does not get any mail. My mom ordered her a magazine, but we have been having some trouble getting it delivered so usually, while I am rejoicing, poor Josie is lamenting.

Why doesn't she get any mail? Part of it is that she is young. I get plenty of credit card and insurance offers because of my age. Part of it is that she doesn't do anything to get mail. Even if I never did a single thing I would still get mail.

But it wouldn't be the kind of mail I love. How do I get all those things? Well, when I began my couponing I started following a couple of money saving bloggers (Money Saving Mom and Mojo Savings, namely). They would show photos of what came in their mail, all the freebies and coupons. And I was a little jealous.

Until I realized something. I can do what they do. I can fill out forms and surveys. I can write companies. I can join review groups. I can become a member of survey companies. I can put together photo books. And I can get fun mail!

It is silly, I know. But to me, the rewards are worth the effort. For example: it usually takes me 2-3 hours to put together a photo book. I won't pay full price for them, so I am always waiting for a sale. This last book, I only had a few days to put it together before the deal expired, so I had to hurry. It was a little stressful, but oh, the joy of opening that box! All my hard work, come to fruition.

And the surveys I do can take hours. It is not a task for the faint of heart. But, I love getting the test products, and I like knowing my opinion counts. Free stuff to tell people how I feel? Sign me up! I love doing book reviews for that reason, too.

What it boils down to is this: if I sit around and wait for fun mail it probably won't happen with any great regularity. We will occasionally get cards from friends and family, every now and then I might get a cents-off coupon, and there will always be bills and credit card offers. But if I want to get mail that I really enjoy more than every once in a while, I have to get out there and make it happen. I have to be proactive.

How often am I that way about my faith? I accepted Jesus, now I just sit back and wait for the blessings to roll in, right? You can try that, but it won't be very beneficial. You have to get out there."Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling." (Philippians 2:12) After coming to faith, we still have a job to do.

Faith is a two-way street. Thankfully, what you receive will always far outweigh what you put in, but you can't just sit around doing nothing and have every prayer answered. You have to invest. It is personal, it takes time, and you may have to wait more than weeks to see the results. Sometimes, you never see the results.

Several months ago, I registered to get coupons for free shampoo and conditioner. I am still waiting for those. I have a feeling I may never get them. But I won't let that stop me. I can't be that way with my faith, either. "But, Lord, I am sharing my faith. I am working with children's/men's/women's/homeless/name-your-group ministries. But I am not seeing any fruit. What gives?"

"So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow." (1 Corinthians 3:7)

Ugh. We don't like that verse. Basically it means sometimes I can put my best foot forward and nothing will come of it, to our eyes. But God knows. And He will bless our efforts, when they
are solely focused on pleasing Him.

And some things have guaranteed results. I can promise that if you spend time in the Word, it won't return void. Actually, God promises that!

"So is My word that goes out from My mouth:
It will not return to Me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."
Isaiah 55:11

But, if you put forth little effort, you will get back fewer rewards. We look to the giants of the faith: Paul, John, Billy Graham, Beth Moore, and say, "I could never be like that." Maybe you won't write award-winning Bible studies (and I can certify that you will never write a book of the Bible!) but you can develop a thirst for the Word like they have.

I am learning, slowly but surely, that I can. I can be in love with God, I can drink up his Words like a man lost in the desert, I can talk to other people about Him, I can share His salvation that has become mine. I can use this little blog, my tiniest corner of the internet world, to be a birthday candle in the vast universe. I can do what I can do with what God has given me. I don't have to be anybody but me, and He will bless that. But not if I hide under a bushel lamenting. Only if I get out there and put forth some effort.

I can make sure that I have fun mail. And I do. When someone leaves a few words in a comment that says, "I believe in you. Your faith inspires me in some small way." When my kids say Bible verses. When a friend leaves a post on my Facebook page. When Josie accepted Christ. When I see the overwhelming awesome beauty of the mountains and I know that God made them with me in His mind. When I am reading His Word and I can be certain that He gave me that particular verse that makes me quiver and cry, knowing it would be exactly what I needed to hear.

It isn't without effort. There are certainly days that go by when I feel like I must be losing ground, or I am at least about to lose my temper. I pity myself saying, "I give and I give..." But then I get the message I really need, "No, I give. And I will continue to-strength, patience, perseverance-you name it, I've got it. Just ask." And I know that He is the One who is responsible for every good thing-in my life and in my mailbox.


  1. A lady at our co-op invited a couponer to come give us a demo and lesson and it was pretty fascinating. I signed up for all kinds of 'freebies' and have gotten a few, but certainly not all. I cannot wait :)

    Send me your address via e-mail ( and I can send Josie some mail. She will love getting a letter that's addressed to her :)

  2. Clare
    I always love reading what you have to say even if it is just about your daily trip to the mail.
    I would love to send Josie some mail too.
    Hope your family is well



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