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  • Patty Breen

Bits and Pieces

Today's Readings


I am the type of personality that does not love the “messy middle” of situations. You know what I mean, that in-between space of the beginning of something and a final resolution. I do not like when life situations feel “stretchy.” But, really, do any of us?


While my life feels full and rich right now, there are areas that feel I am in the “messy middle.” I am waiting to hear about a potential new job. It would be a lateral career move for me in a new direction with great pay. I am now waiting to see if I am the candidate they choose, and I am pins and needles; wavering between confidence and the self-defeating lie that I won’t be chosen. I feel frustrated with the Church in different ways that leave me disheartened, or, at least begging Jesus to come back sooner rather than later. There is a relationship I am growing in, paying attention to particular areas, and seeing what is revealed to me. Life is good in many ways, but deep down, I know there is one lie I am internally still bumping into. It is this: when will it be my turn for the deepest desires of my heart? A good marriage, beautiful family, and a job that I love? Will God pass me by? Will I be forgotten? Will these desires pass me by? When will it be Patty’s turn?


It is the wounded little girl inside me that needs truth spoken over these lies.


I have a tendency to want to get involved and try to control or work a situation out the way I want. Whether it is a past dating relationship or a particular issue with God, I want things to turn out how I imagine and want them to be. It is funny to me at a first glance to the First Reading, because I do not feel I relate to this woman very much. However, at a closer glance, I can see how maybe this nameless widow has something to teach me and you too.


This widow did not have much of anything. A handful of flour. A little oil in her jug. A couple of sticks to build a fire. All she had was little bits and pieces of different items. I feel like some spaces in my life are different bits and pieces I am in the middle of allowing to play out; to see what will happen. That feels scary and unsettling some of what I am certain this widow felt, wondering how she would provide for herself and her son.


And yet in spite of the little she had, God sent Elijah the prophet to this woman, to speak a word of truth, a word of prophecy over her life situation: The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day of when the Lord sends rain upon the earth. A modern day translation? God will provide. You will be given what you need. You will have just enough.


As I look at my own bits and pieces, the unique items in my life right now, I think the same words Elijah spoke to this widow can be the same words God whispers to me, and you too: I will provide. You will be given what you need.


I still want to whine and cry and complain, “But when, God, how long? What will happen here?”


However, at the end of the day, there stands true a lasting promise. God provides. He always provides.


May that promise rest more deeply in our hearts today, more deeply in our own little bits and pieces.


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