Hear It on Sunday, Use It on Monday: The Umbrella

Bunk bed made, suitcases and boxes unpacked, clothes hung neatly in the closet, I kissed my parents goodbye, watched their car drive away and then made my way down the hall to the community room where the rest of the Dwight Hall fourth floor freshman were gathering.

It was quiet as we filed into the space, and I warily eyed my new floor mates, all strangers, as I scanned the room for an empty seat.  Settling into a worn chair next to a girl with straight blond hair and blue eyes, I stared at my feet while the RA reviewed the dorm rules.
It was only when I stepped outside a little while later to walk across campus to the freshman convocation that I noticed the torrential downpour.
I don’t recall who had the umbrella or who made the offer to share. What I do remember well is that the blond-haired girl and I shared an umbrella all the way across campus. And in those soggy minutes as the rain pattered hard over our heads, all the sweaty nerves and pit-in-the-stomach fear of college vanished.
“Hi, I’m Raechel,” she’d said, extending her hand beneath the umbrella. And we’d laughed at the absurdity of the rain and the wind and the fact that we were two strangers suddenly foisted together beneath one umbrella.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that in our simple act of sharing, a life-long friendship was born.
Yesterday morning in church when I listened to the reading, from Acts 2:42-47, and heard the word "share" repeated four times in five verses, I was reminded of that first rainy day of college:
1. They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord’s Supper and in prayer. (42)

2. And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had . (44)

3. They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. (45)

4. They worshipped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity…(46)

The apostles shared worship and prayer. They shared their possessions with each other. They shared their wealth with those in need. And they shared in fellowship and community.
In sharing they opened themselves up to God and to one another. In sharing they grew in their love for God and for each other. In sharing they grew their community and their faith.
Sharing was the catalyst, the entryway, to their transformation both as individuals and as a community.
The truth is, when we share our possessions or our time or our money, when we share our compassion or sympathy, our joy and our praise, we share a little bit of our heart, too. We open ourselves up to vulnerability, we crack the door, and in doing so, we foster the possibility of connection between ourselves and those around us.

That exactly what happened for Rach and me that rainy afternoon on our first day of college. We dared to share not only the umbrella but a little piece of ourselves, and it was the beginning of something wonderful.
So today I’m asking myself what I can share to further connection and relationship in my community. My time? My money? My faith? My home? My prayer?
And I ask you the same.
What little bit can you share today to help further God’s kingdom on Earth? You never know, it might be something as simple as an umbrella.
: :
One thing before we get into the Hear It, Use It link-up. I wanted to mention that I am also writing over at the WordServe Water Cooler today about a humiliating but ultimately fruitful platform-building lesson I've learned (I wrote about it about a year ago here...but it's too funny to miss if you didn't catch my story then about how I emailed Jon Acuff. If you have time, will you pop over there and give it a read? Thanks!).

Today I'm delighted to be linking with Jen:

And Laura:

And I'm joining a new writing community today with Stacey and Katie, two wonderful, inspiring women I met at Relevant! 

Welcome to the "Hear It on Sunday, Use It on Monday" community! If you're here for the first time, click here for details and instructions on how to link up. I love hearing what you have to reveal each week about how God is speaking to you through his word, and I am so very grateful for your participation here!

Each week we write about what we are hearing from God, usually in the Bible, or a hymn, a prayer or the sermon.

I don't get all crazy and delete the posts if they don't have the Hear It, Use It button or anything, but if you can, please include the button or a link in your post, so your readers know where to find the community if they want to join in! Thank you!

And if you want to tweet about the community, please use the #HearItUseIt hashtag.

**This week we won't have the usual Hear It, Use It Round-Up on Thursday, because you know, we'll all be too busy eating turkey and pie!  So have a lovely and blessed holiday with your family and friends -- I am certainly thanking God for you and this community!**
If you want to use the button, you can simply copy the code for the "Hear It, Use It" button in the sidebar to the right, and paste it into your own post.

Shanda Oakley  – (November 21, 2011 at 3:38 AM)  

I pray, now, as well that I will be willing to share whatever it is that God asks of me.  Thank you for the reminder

T Denise Clary –   – (November 21, 2011 at 4:01 AM)  

Your faith communicated through your words of wisdom that you share on your blog is definitely valuable to the cyber community!

T Denise Clary

journeytoepiphany  – (November 21, 2011 at 5:28 AM)  

It's amazing what community can happen when we share.  Actually that's what I wrote about for this sharing of community as well.  How I shared my blogging fears with my blogging community (including you) and the love and encouragement I was surprised to find in it.

Nancy Franson  – (November 21, 2011 at 6:33 AM)  

You got me with the image of your parents driving away. Beautiful picture of how the simplest act of sharing may be exactly what someone else needs. Thank you for sharing this space with us. Gotta go check out the new community.

Jen Ferguson  – (November 21, 2011 at 6:56 AM)  

I find it so amazing when we write about similar things even when we aren't sharing the same bible passage.

Not only is this a beautiful story and a timely question, but it is also such a neat glimpse of you.  That is always precious.

Lisa notes  – (November 21, 2011 at 7:06 AM)  

Dare to share. That's a great lesson I need to keep with me always. We learn as children that we're supposed to share, but only as we get older do we understand the "dare" part. It can be risky. But worth it.

kendal  – (November 21, 2011 at 7:39 AM)  

i have the week off work. and feel like staying in. to myself. you have challenged me, sister! thank you for helping me with my perspective.

Laughwithusblog  – (November 21, 2011 at 9:33 AM)  

Letting people ahead of me in line...though sometimes only God knows!  :)

Richfaith  – (November 21, 2011 at 9:47 AM)  

"Sharing (is) the catalyst, the entryway, to their transformation both as individuals and as a community."  Such truth, my friend. Why is that...when we get outside ourselves....somehow we expand. Yet, inside ourselves....we only implode.  Great reminder to look upward and outward!  Thanks! ~ jen

Jenn hand –   – (November 21, 2011 at 10:15 AM)  

Michelle I loved this post.  I have never experienced people sharing pain like I have this week when my Dad was diagnosed with cancer.. people have shared our pain our joys, our ups and downs from the body of Christ in a way i could never imagine.  One particular picture i will never forget :  Saturday when my dad had his surgery that was supposed to last 8 hours the ICU waiting room was full of about 20 people there to share in our wait.. wow.  4 1/2 hours in they came and ushered us upstairs to meet with surgeon.  For 30 minutes we waited in a dark waiting room.. in those moments my mind and heart wondered in every direction. I texted one of the ladies that was downstairs waiting.  She did not respond becfause all 20 were circled in that waiting room, kneeling-- sharing our WAIT, our pain, our what ifs.  30 minutes later when they doc had finally come with the good news that they got the cancer we went downstairs to their holy prayer circle and they shared in our MIRACLE

Glenda Childers  – (November 21, 2011 at 11:12 AM)  

Sharing . . . is one of the best things about life.


Hazel Moon  – (November 21, 2011 at 11:46 AM)  

Many of our church ladies are older but they contribute their earnings for bazar and craft sales to our local mission, Feed the Poor and our local Hope center.  They (and I) do not serve the food, or distribute the clothing, but we do share in the process.  Sunday, at my request, my fellow church members brought in warm clothing and tennis shoes for one of the churches that ucooperate with Feed the Poor and serve free lunches twice a week.  We filled my van and I delivered the bags after our church service which is an early service.  The other church was still going on, but I was able to bring the items into the church.  They had a nice buffet table all ready for a Thanksgiving lunch for those ater church, and a large sign on the front door, "Free Lunch Today."
We can find a way to share when it seems out of our bounds to actually get in there. 

Hazel Moon  – (November 21, 2011 at 11:48 AM)  

Praise the Lord for His Faithfulness

mamaabby –   – (November 21, 2011 at 12:13 PM)  

I loved this and needed to hear it today...a reminder of all of the elements of God's plan for our calling as missionaries.  We share the journey, the needs, His heart for people and others share their resources, prayers and together God's kingdom comes.  

Thank you friend:}

Jamie @ Six Bricks High  – (November 21, 2011 at 1:49 PM)  

Oh this idea of sharing what I have has been big on my heart lately.  Love this post!  Thanks for the encouragement, friend!

it000016 –   – (November 21, 2011 at 2:06 PM)  

Thanks for the reminder not only that we should share, but that we will be blessed by sharing! We have a Burden Bearers prayer group that is a great blessing as we share our joys and support one another in our trials.

Laurie Collett, Saved by Grace


Connie@raise your eyes  – (November 21, 2011 at 7:11 PM)  

Sharing is the catalyst, and in the sharing perhaps we see Him clearer...love the umbrella photo...you and Rach? :)

Amy Sullivan –   – (November 21, 2011 at 8:03 PM)  

First off, this made me miss my college roomie, the one who was loyal and would do anything for you, even if was 2 in the morning, and she had a test the next day.

Great question, Michelle. My faith and my prayer. I could. Scratch that. I need to offer both more.

Kat @ Calling Shotgun! –   – (November 21, 2011 at 9:05 PM)  

What a lovely, heartfelt post. I gave a friend an umbrella and I wrote all the protective and overcoming scriptures I could think of on the fabrick with marker. Whenever she opens the umbrella, God's promises are her covering. She returned the favor and made one for me. Kat

thefisherlady –   – (November 21, 2011 at 9:07 PM)  

What an encouraging post!
Everything is so much better shared!

Shelly –   – (November 21, 2011 at 9:37 PM)  

You brought me back.  Remember those first awkward days of college. I enjoyed your other story as well. Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving with your family Michelle.  Blessings!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 21, 2011 at 9:41 PM)  

Many blessings to you and yours, too, Shelly -- I am thankful for you this week!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 21, 2011 at 9:42 PM)  

Ok that is just the coolest most lovely idea.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 21, 2011 at 9:42 PM)  

Raechel is just like that, too -- so generous and such a good friend. I miss her!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 21, 2011 at 9:43 PM)  

I like the idea of that a lot - the Burden Bearers prayer group. What a blessing and encouragement that must be!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 21, 2011 at 9:44 PM)  

You and your family are wonderful, inspiring examples of sharing all that you have, Abby!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 21, 2011 at 9:44 PM)  

Happy Thanksgiving and much love to you, Jamie!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 21, 2011 at 9:47 PM)  

Jenn, this story is just incredible. That image of your dear friends and family literally on their knees on your behalf. That is such an awesome picture of community and love.

God is so very, very good. I am praying right now that God continues to guide your dad through healing and recovery, and that He gives your family the hope and strength to  be there for your dad during his healing.

Much love to you -- and the happiest of happy Thanksgivings!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 21, 2011 at 9:47 PM)  

Totally true, that expansion vs. implosion theory -- I like how you put that, Jen!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 21, 2011 at 9:48 PM)  

Seriously, I get that! Sometimes it's the small things, isn't it? And God only knows...but really, He's the only one who counts!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 21, 2011 at 9:49 PM)  

Thank you...and blessings right back to you!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 21, 2011 at 9:50 PM)  

And I loved that story so much...thank you for sharing your vulnerability and fears -- we can all relate to well to that.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 21, 2011 at 9:50 PM)  

Love you, Nancy -- grateful for wonderful you this week!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 21, 2011 at 9:51 PM)  

Isn't it amazing how that works? I think it's God doubling His impact through our words! :)

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 21, 2011 at 9:52 PM)  

And you wrote the perfect story of sharing at your place today, Lisa, in reaching out to a stranger and covering her in prayer and love.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 21, 2011 at 9:52 PM)  

Love you, Kendal. Thinking of you tonight.

Sheila Seiler Lagrand  – (November 22, 2011 at 9:01 AM)  

I love that He built so that something as simple as an umbrella can weld two hearts together.

Michelle, thanks for inviting me to think about what I can share today. 

Sara  – (November 22, 2011 at 10:58 AM)  

This is one of my favorite passages of Scripture.  I so want to live my life this way, and I want our churches to engage in this type of "radical" living as well.  I want my giving to be so ingrained in me that I don't even stop to think about it, I just do.  Luckily, God's not finished working in me yet! :-)

Jean Wise  – (November 22, 2011 at 12:31 PM)  

You did it again, Michelle. What a neat inspirational post. How the simple act of reaching out and sharing would bless you for a very long time.  I will remember this story for quite a while. Thank you.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 22, 2011 at 10:04 PM)  

Yup, me either, Sara -- God's still working on my heart, big-time!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 22, 2011 at 10:07 PM)  

You are very welcome, Sheila. And happy Thanksgiving to you, my dear friend.

Sheila Seiler Lagrand  – (November 22, 2011 at 10:58 PM)  

And happy Thanksgiving to you, too. I am grateful for you :)

JeriT –   – (November 23, 2011 at 6:39 PM)  

Hi Michelle! This was a joy to read and made me think back on high school dorming days. That first person t reach out and become friends. In this season, I can give my words and speak life in the simple everyday.

Stacey29lincoln  – (November 24, 2011 at 8:27 AM)  

Sharing was the catalyst, the entryway, to their transformation both as individuals and as a community.what a lovely memory and picture of this truth!  Thanks for linking up!

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