From Garden to Garden, Scripture recounts the story of God being in relationship with us so that we might multiply His goodness. This is the idea of being created in His image. This is the idea of knowing Jesus Christ so that we might better reflect our Creator and then go and multiply His goodness.
Mike and I have been friends for 20 years, so visiting him in Oklahoma was an incredible treat. What really struck me, though, was the gift of seeing this idea of multiplying goodness play out. Having a relationship with Mike for such a long time, I can look back and clearly identify times where our goal was not to multiply God’s goodness–sometimes it was the exact opposite! The two days we enjoyed with the Sandford crew, however, was a precious gift reminding us of God’s desire and invitation to us to multiply His goodness. Let me recount a few of the blessings we experienced in OKC.
Noah, Caleb, and Daniel are 3 energy-filled boys who brought our family so much joy. Noah and Caleb gave up their bedroom and playroom to bless us with a place to sleep. They played from sunrise to sunset with our 2 girls and blessed them with creativity and imagination and lots and lost of fun. We read stories together. We ate together. We made memories together. As we headed to our car to leave, we realized Maiya was gone! Noah and Maiya had sneakily crafted a plan for Maiya to stay with their family and so she was hidden from us, in a spacious closet in the boys’ room Thank you Sandfords for literally multiplying goodness with your 3 boys but then giving endlessly of yourselves to model what Christ-like life should look like. You have precious kids and they blessed us.
Another unforeseen blessing on this trip is hearing multiple perspectives of church community, discipleship, and the necessary relationships of mentorship. Another way that Mike and Mariah multiplied goodness was to share their own experience and interactions with followers of Christ specifically with small groups and mentoring relationships. I learned so much from their stories and perspectives. Thank you for multiplying goodness by being willing to share your experiences and desires in this area.
Familiarity in a relationship can be used to multiply goodness–even in seemingly simple ways. After nearly 7 years of living life apart, Mike still remembered my love for chocolate and even my favorite kind, which we are unable to get in Ecuador. Mariah had gone out and purchased this treat and it was waiting for me after our drive from Dallas. Yes, this was a “small” thing but it was a symbol of much more. We are created as relational creatures. Our life is full when we are in relationship with our Creator and those he has created–think of Adam and Eve and their walks with God in Eden. Thank you for multiplying goodness by “walking” with us so that we might be known by you.
Much more happened during our short stay–including fresh picked watermelon and cantaloupe from their garden, incredibly delicious homemade meals, thoughtful gifts for our girls to keep them occupied as they sit in the car for hours, a refreshing time of prayer together, shared reflections on parenting…thank you Sandfords for allowing us to enjoy your desire to multiply God’s goodness!