It is the end of the month and the fruit bowl is a little lean…
The laundry is piling up like nobody’s business and you all know how I am going to be spending 1 May. It isn’t called Workers Day for nothing. Just stretching the electricity a little further, making it last another meal or two… rather than wasting it on laundry. Though not many folks blog about this, and those last meals of the month (and I could blog about those!!!). It is a scrimp and a squeeze and I am sure it is true for many families the world over…
When my husband and I were first married, we were both students and not exactly covered in wealth. In fact many folks said – how irresponsible we were to get married when you can hardly afford the rent. But we got by. And then we had kids… and not just one or two of them. “They cost money you know…” Yes, kids cost money, but so do lifestyles. I always thought my kids would grow up with their own space: A bed, a desk, a lamp and well of course of a bicycle… It turns out that while these things are nice, they aren’t quite as essential as I thought they were… I am guessing my older kids will have left home long before we have the resources or the space for a desk and a lamp for each of them, let alone a bicycle. I think I came with a packet of predetermined ideas of what child needed to have in order to grow up and I have discovered over time that this is hardly the case.
Matthew 6:28-30 And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
It isn’t that my kids are blind, they live in the world after all!!! They do come home from youth group on a Friday night and know that they don’t have the coolest clothes, or the most fabulous holiday trips planned. None of them have their own room and only about four of them have ever been to a movie, one movie in their entire life. So their lives are quite different to their peers and they know it. And they are strong enough to know that that is okay. My kids would all rather hang out with each other than hang out at the mall. Yes, they are disappointed when they can’t have something they want, yes they do get annoyed when they don’t have a choice of shoes to choose from, but they also get outraged because winter is looming and families a mile or two from home won’t be warm enough this winter. When my kids grumble, and they do… I want it to be because winter is looming and they are so many folks that need blankets rather than wether they have the trendiest gear.
There is a group of very elderly ladies in our church and they sit in the row behind us on a Sunday morning and I have to be honest we have so much to learn from them. These ladies have a very different worldview to most that we encounter, an older and wiser worldview. They never fail to tell us week after week how rich we are. We recently lost a dear old friend to cancer, she prayed for our children daily, she sent them birthday cards that have been read to them and carefully saved until they are old enough to read the spidery writing themselves. Those letters will be remembered as huge part of their childhood and will be far more treasured than any pre-packaged gift that someone else might have sent them. We have a lot to learn from our elder ladies, they are right: We a richly blessed, and we have a heritage… we have noise, we have bounce, we have love… and from time to time a huge pile of laundry.
My kids haven’t grown up with every wish fulfilled, and we have been unable to provide many of their hearts desires. Yes we could plan a little better, we could even give a little less… but God has been faithful to us in every possible way, and our needs and so much more than our needs, have always been covered. There is a little tongue-in-cheek joke about #firstworldproblems but we live in a part of the world where third world problems are prevalent. I would rather my children asked me to give the last apples in the apple bowl to the township kids waiting for a free ride home from the beach on a hot day, than if they all stood behind the gate eating their apples and watching “those kids play football.”
Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
In this crazy world where wealth is so awkwardly distributed and where the chasm between “the have’s” and “the have not’s” gets wider, we need to teach our children not to trust in a pay-check so much, but to cheerfully trust in the Lord with all their hearts. This isn’t an easy lesson to teach. I think that the more we have, the more we would give our children, the more they would expect to be given from the world at large. While it is impossible for me to want my children to suffer, I know that in order for them to grow up with even a smattering of understanding for most of the people in their world, they need to have a little less. We have been blessed with more than the average number of children indeed… but more than that we have been so blessed by not having incredible wealth.