We just finished baking and decorating cookies with all of the kids tonight. I love hearing the laughing and playing, but sometimes it is nice to steal away for a bit of quiet. That is why I decided it was a good time to enjoy the cookies of my labor and have a bit of computer time. Don't worry, I plan on getting on the treadmill shortly!
I have spent the last few blog entries focusing on gift ideas that have worked for our family. I am at the end of my ideas for this season, but I did want to share a teaching that has truly impacted our life. The story is found in 1Kings 17:8-16. This is the story about the widow who God used to provide for Elijah. We read that Elijah comes to the widow's house and asks her for a morsel of bread. Her response to him was, "As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar..." Her automatic response was to look at what she did NOT have. As she is obedient to the word of the Lord, we read that "The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah".
Now, I would love to tell you that in our home that the groceries never run out, but that isn't the case or the lesson to be learned here. In fact, you have to be pretty fast in our family to get the "goodies" before they are all eaten up! For me the lesson has become the changing of my focus. I do not want to focus on what I don't have , but instead I want to ask myself, "what is in your house?". This change of focus brings a fresh perspective in our life as well as creates an appreciation for the abundance in our life. How has this worked for us? First, we are building a farm from the ground up here in East Tenn. It can be very overwhelming when you look at all the things we don't have and still need to purchase. However, if we stop and look at what we do have then we often times find that we have just what we need. We have used this principle in building a custom cabinet and furniture business. God gave Michael the talent of woodworking, and he used the talent that was in his house/hands to help make ends meet when we lived in Florida.
I also use this principle when I am wanting to give a special gift. I have a dear friend that I always exchange gifts with because we share the same birthday. I wanted to give something that would touch her very heart. She loves teacups, and the Lord lead me to give her a teacup and saucer from my own china that my parents purchased for me before I was married. When ever she drinks tea from her cup, she thinks of me. Whenever I see only 11 teacups in my set I always remember that she has the other one.
During the holiday season, we can get so caught up on wanting to give that great gift to that special person that we lose sight of the true meaning of the season. We look at the lack in our checking account, and we wonder how in the world is it all going to come together. Pray and ask the Lord to show you what you have in your house that could be used. This year my mom gave me a truly priceless gift for my birthday. Two years ago we found out just how sick my Dad was with cancer on my birthday. It has brought a sadness for me on my birthday. This year my mom gave me a bracelet that my dad had given her for an anniversary present. It brought such joy to me because it made me feel like my dad was still a happy part of my birthday celebration. Everytime I wear that bracelet, it makes me smile and I remember both of my parents. My mom had the money to go and buy me a new bracelet, but it sure wouldn't have been the same in my heart.
Michael and I do not have this teaching down pat in our lives. Often times we forget to look and see what the Lord has put into our house. We look at all the things we still have left to do here on the farm instead of looking at all the things we have done in the last 3 years. We see the lack of cows and pigs instead of looking at the addition of chickens and fruit trees and raised beds. It is a different perspective, and with this new perspective comes thankfulness for the abundance in our lives.
I want to close with one of my favorite Bible verses that has given me so much peace over the years. It is found in Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope".
grace and peace,