My wife and I try to teach our kids what matters in life–God, family, friends, love, and compassion. The intangibles. Like all parents, we fight the incoming tide of materialism, and often lose. They fight over video games, beg for more toys, and refuse to share. Our 19-month-old even snatches things up, clutches them to her tiny chest, and emphatically declares in her sweet little voice, “Mine!” It’s cute, but also demoralizing. How can we compete with human nature?
We all like our stuff. Giant HD televisions, golf clubs, books, pianos, video games, cake decorating equipment, computers, handbags, shoes, Barbie dolls, movies, blankies, Legos…the list is endless. But it’s not important. We constantly have to remind them and ourselves that if we lost it all, we’d still be blessed with our family, our church, and friends.
We are a Christian family. Like all Christians, we have a standard litany for times of trouble.
“Our trust is in the Lord.”
“God will provide.”
“The Lord will take care of us.”
“No matter what happens, the Lord will use it to his glory.”
We’ll pray for you.
“Consider the lilies of the field…”Matthew 6:28
They roll so easily off the tongue, I sometimes wonder if people really believe what they’re saying, or if they’re just following the script. I’ve seen people who say these things spend all their time fretting and obsessing over the worst case scenarios instead of doing what they can and trusting God to take care of the rest. And I wondered, do I really believe that God will take care of me? Do I trust Him as much as I claim? I’m positive my wife believes it, but do I?
Then, a police officer told me my house was completely engulfed. “Oh, my God.” A plea and a prayer. Then, a stunned silence, broken only to comfort the children. My husband and I followed the police car for the 10-minute drive, and we discussed it. I don’t remember much of what was said, other than my husband’s statement, “Well, it’s an opportunity to put our money where our mouths are.”
When he said that, I thought about what I was really feeling–shock and concern for the children and our landlord. What I didn’t feel was fear, hopelessness, or despair. I knew we were going to be okay. I was at peace. A peace that surpasses all understanding.
I do believe that God will take care of us. If I didn’t believe it before, I have no choice but to believe it now. We have gotten so much help from the church, the community, family, friends, and complete strangers. I actually have to turn away clothes, toys, and furniture now.
We have a fully furnished house to live in and more Barbies and bathing suits, Legos and notebooks, video games, and clothes than before. We have money to help us buy the groceries, the cleaning supplies, the garbage cans, vacuum cleaner, and all the other stuff you don’t think about unless you have to start over.
Look around your house at the things you use every day and write it down. Hairbrush, fingernail clippers, screwdriver for those pesky minuscule screws in kids’ toys, band-aids, tape, a can opener. We have none of that. It is going to be one heck of a trip to the Wal-Mart**. A trip that wouldn’t be possible without the donations.
**If you hate the Wal-Mart as much as I’ve grown to, you will reconsider that if you find yourself looking for a one-stop shop to buy a vacuum cleaner, hair dryer, dishes, socks and underwear, books, tools, and a dozen eggs..
We are blessed. Abundantly blessed.
Next time, I’ll share the amazing things that people have done for us, from the state of Georgia all the way to The Netherlands. Yeah, The Netherlands. I can’t wait to give them a little tiny bit of the credit they deserve.
Right now, I want to thank all you blogging buddies for your thoughts and prayers. I am overwhelmed by the number of comments on Friday. It meant a lot to read all those comments. I felt all warm and fuzzy. (((Hugs))) and I love you guys!