Saturday, September 3, 2016

Abundance


Joy | Exercises of gratitude for things of this world cannot produce because joy is not a fruit of our work/circumstances/ourselves. Joy is a fruit of God’s Spirit. It is a manifestation of who He is, a result of the power of Christ in us. We are commanded to “rejoice,” “be joyful” and consider trials as “pure joy.” Because Jesus is always worthy of rejoicing. If we label our lives as joyless, it is due to our misplaced hope/ pleasure in things of the world rather than the joy of our salvation.:
I am so thankful that God doesn't give up until I understand what He is trying to tell me. He repeats himself over and over again until I get it, whether it's through music, a verse or just a conversation with a loving friend. Over the past few weeks, I have felt that He is reminding me to be aware of the abundance in my life. I read the verse above one morning and it jumped out at me. My husband used the word abundant later that day when describing the amount of clothes our children have in their closets. I heard a story on the radio a few days later about a food drive for kids that don't have enough to eat over the weekend and the DJ said, "share your abundance with those that truly need it." So I started to pay attention.


We have already invested much of our year shaving our finances and ridding ourselves of the clutter in our home. This year had been about giving things up. It had been about sacrifices. Or was it? I watched my kids eat three different breakfasts over the course of the morning and felt thankful for the food in our home. I walked through our playroom and, instead of feeling annoyed about the toys strewn all over the floor, I was aware of the abundance of toys my children had been given. We have more than what we need of everything.

But abundance isn't just about stuff. It's about the gift of our relationships. I began to think about the incredible friendships I've been given this year. I thought about the growth I have seen in myself and in my marriage. I realized, once again, what a gift it is to stay home and teach my children every day (even on the crazy days!). And then this beautiful reverie was interrupted. 

"We need to cut back a bit more," my husband said as he flipped the pork chop he was frying. 
My head shot up from my phone. "What do you mean?" I asked, suddenly feeling defensive.
"Our spending is out of control," he said plainly. "It's not big stuff, but all the little stuff is adding up. It's not just you, babe. I'm a spender too. We probably should just go back to cash so we know our limits." He smiled turning to look at me. Instead of an agreeable wife, he found a dark storm.
"Our spending is not out of control! I barely spend any money ever!" I took a deep breath, knowing I was behaving like a spoiled child. "Let's just take a look at the account."

I pulled up our bank account on the computer and was stunned at the numbers staring back at me. Our spending had doubled over the last three months. I wish I could say I was contrite but I wasn't. I was angry. I felt that I had already given up so much. How could we cut back more without keeping my kids out of the activities they wanted, eliminating date nights or getting rid of other things that helped us all maintain our sanity? I told my husband I needed to let all this sit for awhile.

The next morning as I prayed I heard the quiet voice in my heart say, "abundance". Immediately I began to feel more peace. I realized that God had been preparing my heart for that conversation. He knows my weaknesses and wanted to remind me to stop focusing on the sacrifices and start seeing the gifts that he has blessed us with. We can still do all the free activities for kids. We can still have date nights under the stars with a bottle of wine. I haven't lost anything. The Lord's abundance never changes, no matter what my bank account says. And for that, I am thankful.

Is there a certain message that you keep hearing? Listen to it. It just might be God's voice leading you.

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