I know we all love a good sale. Last night I was talking to some friends about Coupons, 75% off January sales, the great deals out there and then one friend blogging about having the luxury of shopping by herself for a change at the after Christmas sales. In fact, Mel has a great blog called Word Mom...it is on the side bar and you should check it out. I can't wait for her blog sometimes just to see what she is going to say this time. But I digress.
The sales and opportunities are limitless, well okay, depending on your checking account or those plastic things called credit cards and we are so tempted to spend more than we really have to save more than we ever will again. Or will we? When I was young, I think I had shopping down to an art form. I know my Mom did. The sales were part of the hunt. We would take a weekend in Gatlinburg just to go to the outlet shops to buy for Christmas. And oh the presents. We had piles and piles of presents for everyone. What a fun memory.
But shopping was also proving myself. Stuff seemed to be the object of my ambition at times. Do you ever feel that way. I had a friend at one time that placanted her emptiness with lipstick. The girl had every color known and not just the cheap stuff..noooo...she had the Cosmetic Counter Clinique. Leslie loved her make up. And when she was down, frutstrated, happy, sad, well really any excuse, she was shopping. I love her dearly and could share her passion but mine was on something else. Just about everything else.The clothes, the shoes, the make up, the purses and the list goes on. And Christmas, was just another excuse to shop. I know you can see us out shopping. Circuling the parking lot for that perfect parking space. In the mall, walking up and the down the halls, all of our bags in tow, looking for the next store and finally stopping at some restaruant to finally refill our energy to move on because shopping can really be hard work.Honestly, we did not need a sale. We were young, good jobs and living at home. Life could not have been easier to spend all that money. How in the world Leslie and I got ourselves in debt...well, looking back it does not take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.
As the years have gone by I have realized the changes my heart and life have taken in this area . Before I thought my achievement in life was based on what I made, how I dressed, (and this will make Melissa laugh...) even the car I drove. I thought it all said something about me and about who I was. And I was not always so pleased with what it said. Now, years down the road, a little bit wiser and a little bit more in tune with what God wants and not what I think I want I have learned a few lessons that you might be surprised to see.
Fifteen years ago my shopping list might have looked like this:
1. Make more money so I can upgrade the car and the house
2. Make more money so we can have a baby
3. Make more money so I can "feel" successful
4. Love God with all my heart and mind
5. Work harder to get the recognition I need to move up
6..Right all the injustices in the world
7. Walk upright with the Lord
8. Change Dean (my husband) so we will always live in harmony
9. Make sure to have Integrity in all that I do
10. Figure out why I am so hung up on number 1-3 in my life
I know, it doesn't look much like a shoppng list but when you make certain things priorities in your life then it really does direct your shopping list. Though I was striving so hard to walk with the Lord, I think my priorities were demanding something else from me. But God knew what it would take to get my attention, what it would take to change my heart, and what it would take to fully know what it means to "lean not to my own understanding but in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path"...this is my life verse.
So ten years ago it started to change and looked like this:
1. I have enough money but my daughter needs a transplant.
2. How to save my daughter's life at age 3 1/2
3. Work harder so you can keep your mind off the hard things in life
4. Trust God, He will get me through, right?
5. I have to learn to lean on my husband and not just myself for everything...
6. Then of course I have to learn to Trust and Lean on God
7. I want to buy Olivia everything in the store to make it right...and I think I did.
8. What have I invested my life in, because now I really need my friends!
9. Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death....do I fear evil? IS God really with me? But I do feel His rod and staff comfortimg me.
10. How much can I really trust my God? The one who has always seemed to be there for me but is tearing my life apart right now?
And how things have changed. Though my shopping list changed, it changed because my contol on life was lost. I could not control my child's very life, nor to help her get the life I knew she needed. I really had some hard lessons during those first five or six years of Olivia being ill. The world was just forever changing. I could not depend on anything. I even lost my Mom, my stability, my rock, to cancer during those years. And moving away from friends, really family, that I had for years in Nashville to Atlanta...a place that can be cold and very money oriented at times. But still that was the hand of God.
Today, my list is so different. My heart is so different. I can't believe at times how soft and tender it can be. Where the road has seemed to be so rough and hard but yet I look back at the tears and the pain and only see the most precious blessings of my life. I think some of that comes with age, some with lessons learned and some with true, good friends that are ahead of you in their relationship with God that you can learn from and lean on. I love Beth Moore, I love Dr. Stanley but I can tell you that they do not hold a candle to a good girlfriend you can open up to and really talk. No one can give you that depth of love, understanding and healing that a true friendship can do. Though God works through those Giants of the Faith I think His better work is accomplished with the shoulder we can lean on in the coffee shop.
So today my list looks a lot like this:
- Love God with all my heart and all my mind
- Trust in the Lord and lean not to my own understanding
- Love my husband as he is and trust God to take care of Him....not me, God does a much better job
- Turn my hurt and pain over to God, for I know He listens and Cares
- Be a friend and a shoulder because that truly is a precious gift to give someone
- Be a Mom that listens, hears, understand and knows that God will give me direction when I am lost with being a parent
- Give, because there is no other feeling than being a friend Indeed
- Being a friend that can be counted on because I have so many precious friends that allow me to count on them
- Trust in God
- Trust in God
Praying for a wonderfully blessed New Year
In His Grip