It’s Sunday night. The grass is cut. The garden is watered. We fired up the grill for dinner and had some great chicken and veggies. We played football in the yard. We stopped when we saw a bird, or a squirrel, or an ant, because all moving creatures are completely fascinating. We had ice cream cones and baths. We read stories, sang songs, and kissed foreheads. And tonight we think that we are the luckiest, most blessed people in the world.
Unfortunately, every day doesn’t follow the script like today did. Most of the time, we have tantrums, potty emergencies, forgotten items, emergency appointments, and my quick prayers are filled with the words “grace” and “help.” But this weekend was different. Yesterday, we watched our older two boys score soccer goals and helped our little ones cheer them on. We went for a 3 mile hike in “a very adventurous forest,” according to my 2 year old. We listened for frogs, found turtles, and climbed a very large hill that the boys’ proudly referred to as a mountain. And tonight, after so many adventures, so many moments, and getting so much done that life demands for us to get done, we sit here feeling blessed beyond measure.
We made a choice 6 ½ years ago, when our first son was born, for me to quit my job and stay home. It was a choice that I never thought I’d make. I was career driven since I was in Jr. High. Success was my driving force. But something happened. God spoke. He rocked our world. He asked me to lay everything down for this little one. And I did…though not always with a right attitude.
I truly believe He doesn’t call everyone to do this. Just like we are all called to different paths in life, I believe that how we raise our families also looks different. The important part is whether we have our ear turned to our Maker. He will provide us with direction. But that direction doesn’t always make a whole lot of sense.
I say this because for 6 ½ years, I’ve struggled with whether we did the right thing. Note, I did not say that I’ve struggled with whether or not I’ve heard God’s opinion in the matter. He’s been quite clear over and over again that this is what He has for us right now. But there are those times when money is tight. There are those times when you visit a friend’s house with half the number of kids and double the square footage that you own. There are those times when you talk to a friend who is able to work outside the home, and you wish you had that outlet now and then. But when we walk in the will of God, we have His favor, and nothing else can replace that.
In the last few weeks we have seen His favor in an amazing way. Just when I think that we should change course, He confirms that we’re walking right where we should be. Most recently, we had an emergency that left us with a bill that was a burden. I prayed that night for peace about the situation. I tend to worry and panic when I don’t know how things will turn out. The very next day, I received a card in the mail with a check, blessing us with the very same amount of money that we needed to pay off this debt. The note simply stated that God asked them to give, and so they did. The card was mailed the morning of the emergency…before we even had a need.
He knows our needs and acts upon them before we even know them. We are richly blessed.
We walked in more favor that week. We were blessed by a crock pot of chicken soup to soothe our fevering, achy bodies. My boys prayed for pizza one night for dinner. I rolled my very tired eyes at that one. It was most definitely not in the budget. At 4:45 that evening, pizza was delivered to my door…it was from a good friend who wanted to bless us. I got a random note of encouragement in the mail a few days later that spoke directly to the insecurities and questions in my heart. We received some good news that we’ve been waiting on for a long time. We felt the hand of God in our lives, and it was exhilarating!
My oldest son has a gift of encouragement. Pair that with an impeccable memory and love of knowledge, and he is sometimes my most favorite person to talk to. Just a few days ago, we were recalling all of the things that God has done for us recently. He quoted two verses in our conversation that have stuck with me for days. He said, “It’s not a surprise to me that God did what He did for us. When we walk with Him, we have His blessings. Our God will meet all our needs according to His glorious riches. And He’s pretty rich mom.” After some more conversation, he quoted 1 John 3:1 “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are!” (We have this one posted in our house). But he told me, “You are a child of God. And when you honor Him, He wants to give you everything He has planned just like when I honor you and you have great things planned for me.” I’m so thankful for his wisdom.
There are hard days. Like, really, really hard days. There are many, many moments of doubt. But there are these divine, amazing times when it’s undeniable that despite what we don’t have, we are exactly where we’re supposed to be. And we are standing in a place of blessing. My heart is to take it all in. I don’t want to miss a moment.
We chose for me not go to work and make an extra income for our family. This means we don’t have all the things others do. This means we don’t do all the things we’d like to do. Sometimes it even means we don’t have the things we need. But He supplies all our needs, and keeps us in a place of green pastures and still waters. And we have seen the seasons shift enough times now to know that there are times we give to others out of His riches, and sometimes we receive. Either way, we can’t go wrong with an ear turned toward Him.
So tonight, as I rocked my little girl, kissed my little boys, and cleaned up the toys in the yard, I’m feeling really rich. I am living out His promises for me today and every day. I am breathing the very breath He intended me to breathe today. I am thoroughly enjoying examining the ants, chasing the squirrels, and teaching my kids the difference between weeds and tomato plants. I love sitting on the couch with my husband in the dimly lit room talking about the past, present, and future.
I love having His love lavished on us. And I always want to be fascinated by the ants moving, the squirrels chattering, and the birds soaring above us.