Thursday, January 2, 2014

Giving Up

Happy New Year! We pray you have a very hopeful, blessed 2014!

The words "resolutions" & "goals" are flying around like a swarm of bees. The intention is sweet success, but we are more often that not left nursing the sting of our failures. My strategy this year is simplicity & grace; choose two or three simple things to work on and allowing myself grace for the rough days. Acknowledging I'm in a huge growth phase of life being a new mom & getting in the swing of the "stay-at-home" portion of my job is key.

This brings me to the giving-up part. Instead of giving up my goals, I need to give up something I don't want in my life. Selfishness. Anger. Fear. I have an incredibly hard time trusting God. I know he's faithful. Loving. Gracious. Attentive. Perfect. Yet my heart whispers, "What if..." My heart is a pessimist. An ugly, cowering, sniveling, small-minded doubter. I hate that. I want to be beautiful from the inside out. To myself. Nobody else sees into the mirror of my soul but God & myself. Only we know the true hideousness that lies within. I want courage, faith, and joy to illustrate who I am to the world. Honestly. No more faking it. You never truly make it when you fake it. Ask Steve about tofu cheesecake.

It reminds me of this dairy-free adventure we've been on. My preference in most cases is to go without. My mother-in-law is the fiercest supporter you'll ever meet, and she's determined to make every Sunday meal kosher for me. Sour cream & cream cheese are the hardest to imitate. Our phrase for a successful dish has become, "It's not horrible..." I can laugh about that. Now, how heartbreaking is it to look at the poor imitation our lives are and say at the end of the year, "It wasn't horrible." How depressing! I want better! I want the real thing! I want life. Thriving life, not survival.

Here's the answer. God. Knowing Him. Trusting Him. Believing His words are true for ME, every day. This morning, Addie & I were running errands. I'm not a stay-at-home mom. Not yet! Haha I want to teach her generosity. She's six months old. I want her earliest memories to be that of sharing & caring for people. There was an older lady on the corner with a cane, sitting on a five-gallon bucket. "Homeless. Hungry. Please HELP!" There are a lot of beggars in our city, especially to this small-town girl from rural Wisconsin, but this woman surprised me. It struck me, "That could be my mom in a few years." With the way health care costs are rising & the state of federal healthcare reform, my parents could end up on the street like that woman. It's wrong. We are to love our neighbors. Care for them. Feed them. Clothe them. Smile & talk with them. Addie baby, this is how the world SHOULD be. But it's broken. We need to bind up each other's wounds with the healing gospel of Jesus' love as we minister to physical needs also.

I decided to run to McDonald's across the street. I didn't have cash & I don't give money anyway, but we could help her start her New Year with a hot breakfast and coffee. We pulled through the drive-thru with our order only to see another msn begging on another corner. It's so prevalent! In a world that screams for equality, the easy answer is to do nothing than to help one, but not another. There I was, trying to teach my oblivious six month old generosity, and I was torn between two hopeful hearts. I had pancakes, eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, a hot coffee, and a tight budget. Lord, I thought you only said the lady? What do I do now??

"Do you like coffee?" I asked the man. "Oh sure!" He replied. I handed out the coffee & hashbrowns, feeling sad I didn't have a hot drink for the lady anymore. "Have a blessed New Year" he said. I pulled the car around the block to where the lady was sitting at a stoplight. As I was waiting to pull up, a younger woman with a styrofoam cup walked up to the lady and handed her the piping hot beverage. I wanted to shout for joy! That's my God!! He is ALWAYS faithful! I stopped at the green light and handed out the breakfast, grinning from ear to ear. The lady was very thankful and blessed me, wishing me a Happy New Year. If only she knew that what she gave me was worth much more than my meager offering. Truth. Faith. Proof of my God's perfect plan.

My efforts to teach my daughter are often redoubled by God to enrich my faith & love for Him. I must give up myself to receive God's blessings. You can trust this: It is more blessed to give than to receive.

"My God is so big! So strong and so mighty! There's nothing my God cannot do." - Ruth Harms Calkin

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