When I was a little girl, one of my favorite activities was to sit on the couch with my mom’s giant, 4 inch thick JCPenney catalog, a pencil, and a piece of paper and select what I would purchase for my future family. I spent time thinking about my future husband and each of my future kids’ likes and dislikes and carefully selecting items for each person. I gave them each names and ages and sectioned off a portion of the paper for them. I carefully made hash marks next to each name each time I selected an item, making sure that each person got an approximately equal number of items.
As a college career counselor I occasionally used an activity asking a person to describe a favorite childhood activity or memory and to consider how it might relate to a future career. It was often surprising how accurately childhood play could describe future endeavors or how these conversations, at times, opened doors to unconsidered careers.
What could my childhood pastime tell you about my future as an adult?
Well, it could describe a future shopaholic or couch potato, or perhaps, on a more socially acceptable note, a personal shopper. However, this is not me, although I do admit to a love of shopping, and let’s face it, being a couch potato just isn’t an option when you have two little boys constantly running around.
Here’s what is true about me:
It was always my desire to have a family and to provide for them. I wanted to be home with my kids, giving them everything they needed. Yes, I realize that being able to be home with them is a privilege in itself for those who desire to do so (I realize that not everyone does, and I have been a working mom and know it has challenges all it’s own). However, today as a stay-at-home mom, some days I struggle with how effectively I am doing this. I could be out earning money so that my family could have and do more. I could find more ways to save money. I could be doing more in the home – planning crafts and activities, somehow loving my kids and husband more and better. I could be out in the community doing something with a larger impact. I could, I could, I could….
It would be so much easier if it was as simple as picking things out of a catalog.
But life is so much more complicated than that.
I have to constantly remind myself that God is there with me, Emanuel – God with us. He’s right there alongside me filling in the gaps, loving better than I ever could. I could spend a lifetime worrying about all of my imperfections and shortcoming as mom and wife. I could try to fill it all in by somehow providing more. Or I could trust God, the great provider, with all of my worries. After all, even as a child he was shaping and forming me into the person I am today and can continue to become, if only I will continually trust Him and let Him work in me.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“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 splendor 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? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
What are you trying to provide for your family that you could be letting God provide?