A few years ago, I took my daughters shopping for a few things. I planned on getting them both a couple pieces of clothing, but gave them my usual rule, "Don't ask, let me offer" because nothing takes away my love for blessing them faster than when they bring half the store to me with those "puppy dog eyes". It started well with them honoring my request, but then before I knew it, bit by bit they brought more to me - and I was totally overwhelmed with their desire to bring the whole clothing section home.
I sadden at the thought of times God gives us gifts - from His heart, and we don't accept them with gratitude, but rather want more. Hmmm...as a parent, that's a heartbreaking thought that I've done that to my Best friend/Creator of the universe.
I made them put it all back, headed home - told them it would benefit their health to give me a moment by myself. As I took a deep breath, I heard The Lord talk to me about PERSPECTIVE. The Haiti earthquake JUST happened, so I pulled my computer out, opened it to pictures of the tent city those precious people were living in, and called my girls in. They were quiet as I explained that was all the Haitian people now owned, and lived in. I asked if they thought frilly cute-sy panties were at the top of their wishlist?
I too had to learn the hard lesson of perspective - from times of feeling sad because the beautiful Christmas decor or gifts were out of my budget, and yet TRULY finding it in myself to be thankful I'm able to go grocery shopping for my family - and no matter what kind of roof I have, I HAVE one. I see more and more people in the road with "hungry" signs, and see the natural disaster rate increase (like those poor people affected right now trying to rebuild from Sandy).
Now I'm NOT against beautiful Christmases, but I know God brings us through seasons where that may not happen THIS year and no matter where we are, or what we have, we need to have a heart of thankfulness, JOY, and knowing God is ALWAYS working on our behalf - even if it's to strip us for a season.
We've had some unsettling years of moving so much (and coming from a background of living in 2 homes my whole life, that was difficult), uncertain financial state, much stripping from God, and instability. I had times of being soo depressed, and pleading with God - but He had to bring me to a place that no matter how small, I needed to be thankful for what I do have. Right down to:
- Thank you God for the washing machine, and soap to clean my family's clothes - because there are people all over don't even have THAT privilege.
- Thank you God for our home - even if will be a different one next week - because there are people all over who don't even have one to warm their heads.
- Thank you God for my family & the love we have for each other - because there are people all over don't even have THAT privilege.
I know this is such a simple concept, but one that was very difficult for me to learn - but when we have a thankful heart, we are more full of JOY & peace...REALLY!!!!! When our eyes are no longer on our "wishlist", but rather "have" list, we appreciate what's around us more, laugh more, smile more, and find the little things that tickle us more.
So even if it's just the washer, be thankful for it every time you put in a load - I do!