Before we even learned where we would be moving, we began praying about the place, our home and neighborhood‘¦and the people, the church, the homeschool friends, hubby’s boss, neighbors‘¦
A little at a time, God replied to our concerns. Like a checklist, one by one our questions had answers. First we found out our next assignment. It was in a great city, though too far from family, with the best career opportunity my husband has ever had – so that he can do, and continue to learn more about, what he really loves. A few months later, we determined that a “house-hunt” was cost-prohibitive. We stepped out in faith and trusted the Lord to provide our next place to live. Not much after that, we connected with the homeowner of our (soon to be) rental house online; and the Lord provided us with an amazing place to live and a friendly and generous landlord. That blessing generated others: our homeschool community happened to be less than five minutes away, our new church about the same distance in the other direction, and hubby’s job a little less than 15 minutes from the house. After we arrived we discovered that the surrounding area is simply gluttonous – so many wonderful stores and restaurants – I can think of five terrific grocery stores that are in a 3 miles radius of us. This is astonishing to me. This is more than we prayed for‘¦so many gifts!
As we prepared our hearts for the move and all the new places and people, I talked to the children about the gifts that would come our way. I wanted them to remember to be grateful. I told them, “We must be grateful for everything that the Father sends our way. He brings us so many wonderful things to enjoy. But also, sometimes the people we meet or the places He brings to us may be, or seem to be at first, a disappointment or even an aggravation. Let’s remember that nothing, nothing that God gives us is useless. Everything Gods sends into our lives serves a purpose. And when we arrived, I continued to remind them of this idea‘¦the idea that all of God’s “gifts” serve a purpose. When we began to venture out to meet new people or go new places, we would pray to take all these “gifts” from God with a grateful heart.
During my prayer time earlier this week I was convicted about my attitude toward someone; here was a person I should show love to, not derision, or spite, or anger. Yet I had felt all of this and more. And feelings are where sin really begins. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it (Prov 4:23). Though I tell my children so often that “two wrongs don’t make a right”, I have tried to justify my bad feelings toward someone because of some unkind treatment of me. As I prayed, I remembered the Truth of this: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17). So often lately I have considered “gifts” to be things the Lord has given to me. And I have tried to remember this: As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Prov 27:17). I have tried to keep in my mind the fact that everyone in my life serves a God-given purpose. Difficult people serve to give me opportunities to glorify God; and His Hand provides for me these people as opportunities to grow and learn and be closer to Him. All of this is true, and of this, there is no doubt in my mind.
Yet…as I prayed this time about the difficult relationships, and with so many answered prayers uppermost in my mind…I heard something new and unlike anything I had heard from Him before. True, each gift has a purpose. The Giver is a Master Planner, after all. But I became more and more aware of the fact that I am a gift, too. I am given, to others, to fulfill a purpose. This was a stunning realization. A kaleidoscope of memories, of people, flashed in my mind. Was I received as a gift by these? Did I assume the characteristics of a gift? Too often, I fear, the answer is “no”.
I began to see that I should approach each person with this in mind: what is God’s purpose for me with this person or that one; and how can I be who He created me to be, to them? What if I remember daily, that the Giver of all good things has given me, to others, in relationship. And that I must fulfill His purpose for me with each one? This is too simple and yet, so very hard at the same time. How in the world can I fulfill His intention for me? Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘˜Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. (Matt 22:3-40).
So in my next post I will elaborate a bit on what the Lord did next – He never ceases to amaze me! In the meantime, consider this: who are you to be to the others in your life (servant, listener, forgiver, supporter…more)? How are you to be (unwavering, patient, resilient, full of grace)? Please tell what the Lord is calling you to give up so you can be what He has called you to be in your home or workplace? I would love to hear if anyone else is being stretched just now!
justAgirl…just like you!