This has been a hard week for me, emotionally and spiritually. God has been working on me in huge ways lately. I can almost feel the hammer and chisel smoothing out my rough places, as I go about my daily routines. God has slowly but steadily been changing the desires of my heart but this week for some reason there arose many opportunities to doubt God, to question what we are doing, to ask that big bold question we all ask God at least once in our lives – why me? But really, it was about changing my selfish heart.
A couple of things happened within a 48 hour time period that rocked me emotionally. The first thing that happened was that I accidentally saw pictures of our old house that we moved out of over 8 months ago. You would think that after all this time and countless confirmations from the Lord that we are exactly where we are supposed to be, I wouldn’t still be emotional about seeing pictures on Facebook of “our” home. Only this time, they were pictures with the renovations and projects of just about every single thing we had planned on doing – new carpet, new hardwood floors, a painted accent wall in the dining room – pretty much everything we had on our to-do list a year ago. It took me off guard. I was in shock seeing “my” home looking so sparkly and brand new – but for someone else, for the new owners. I had a 30 minute break down and had to cry for a bit. I honestly would not have thought I would have reacted that way. I am so happy. I love our life. I don’t know why I got so emotional but I did. I am human and I had some serious jealousy and worry going on. It crept up on me so fast that I didn’t know what hit me. All at once my mind was trying desperately to filter the enemy’s lies. You know the ones I’m talking about…”You don’t have enough. You can’t give your children everything they need. God isn’t giving us what we need. Maybe you made a big mistake.”
That evening I read my Bible and as He always does, God reached out to me, calmed my fears and spoke His truth to the lies. “Seek the Kingdom of God…and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 I also LOVE the Message’s version of this scripture. It truly spoke volumes to me in that moment where I was feeling really sorry for myself. “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” My pity party ended pretty quickly to say the least. Especially when I read the part about knowing how God works – steeping my life in God-reality, God initiative, God provisions. Don’t be so preoccupied with getting, be more preoccupied with giving! I am NOT missing out – on anything!
A couple days later, I took one of my girls to a friend’s house for a play date. She was a friend from school and we had never been to her house before. As we drove onto her street, I gasped. The houses were massive and gorgeous. As we rang the doorbell, I could already feel the anxious thoughts piling up in my brain. Walking in didn’t help that. Every room was perfectly decorated with no detail overlooked. It was full of amazing furniture and beautiful decor, with huge rooms and an awesome kitchen – all in a style that I love, which made it even more enviable. As she took us down to the playroom and movie theater room – complete with movie theater seating and curtains, I thought the girls might be feeling some of the things that I was feeling. I was almost surprised that green ooze didn’t start seeping out of my ears as my jealousy grew while she talked about her job where she gets to take trips to Europe and other exciting places around the world that are on my “Bucket Travel List.” At this point, my stomach was turning and I could only imagine some of the things Chloe might have to say after spending a few hours in this beautiful home with toys galore.
Again, the lies started washing over me. As Cammie and I left the house to go to the library, tears welled up quickly. I don’t want anything that fancy, but I do want a home again someday. It’s just not happening as fast as I want it to – again with the selfishness. I had just read a book that very morning about taking delight in the little things in life, not worrying about what I don’t have, but relishing and thanking God for what I do. Thankfulness is a way of life. I had been so determined to live my life that way and this one incident, this little peek on someone else’s lifestyle brought me to a dark place. Really? Was it that easy to get my focus off of God and back onto myself?? I was embarrassed. I reached for my phone to get a quick scripture to refresh my mind. I get scriptures sent to my phone daily from a Bible website and I hadn’t read the one for that day yet. It was Philippians 4:19. (Of course, it was.) “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches.” HE supplies my EVERY need. He has provided lavishly for me and for my family and He continues to do so – and lately, it hasn’t all been in the form of money or material possessions, it has been something even better than that. He has been so faithful – answering our prayers in ways we never imagined, strengthening our marriage – giving us more grace, more patience and more joy, giving us a continual spirit of praise and the list could go on and on. It has been awesome watching His hand on our lives and how our hearts just keep growing bigger and bigger for ministry. We are all in. We are undone by what we see God doing in our church and in our city and we can’t get enough. More importantly, we can’t seem to give enough. We want to give more to Him in every way – with our time, our spiritual gifts, our finances, our attitudes – our whole lives.
I didn’t have to worry much about my child’s reaction to being at her friend’s house. The only thing she said in the van on the way back to our apartment was, “She sure had a lot of Barbies. When can she come over to play at our house?” I smiled big and so did my heart. She wasn’t jealous and her heart wasn’t envious. She just had fun playing with her friend. And as if I needed any more obvious reminders that houses, clothes, furniture and decor just aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things – we checked the mail on our way home and I got an update letter from my friend who is a missionary with her husband and five children in Africa. I read their prayer requests and praises about the awesome things God is doing in Zambia and Chikankata, Africa. I was humbled. I was reminded. I was thankful. I was prayerful. I was overcome with peace. And again, I was comforted by my God who “will generously provide…I will always have everything I need and plenty left over to share with others.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
A praise song comes to mind:
“He is jealous for me. Loves like a hurricane. I am the tree. Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy. And all of the sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory. And I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me. And Oh, how He loves us, Oh how He loves us.”
He is jealous for me. What a concept.
“God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out. This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.”
2 Corinthians 9:8-11 (The Message)