Sometimes motherhood wakes me up with smiles and kisses surrounding my face. Other days, I awaken and face tasks much too hard for this only child to tackle. This would be one of those days…
The day started with me desperately trying to talk myself out of driving 60 miles to get groceries at the nearest Costco. “Are the savings really worth my morning?” I pondered.
Doing some quick math confirmed, yes, they were.
To the utmost delight of my children, we slipped on our shoes and slid open the doors to pile in our minivan ready to conquer the aisles and bring home the bacon.
Actually, I’m pretty sure I had to remind each of my children that they weren’t alone in their “I don’t want to go” statements. I didn’t want to go either. But I do like to eat. And, I am always thankful on the back-end for a pantry stocked with supplies for dinner.
Little did I know that wouldn’t be the biggest obstacle to a joyful spirit that day. After we returned home and unloaded all the groceries, we had to re-load and re-strap our bodies right back in the van to head to….the dentist. (sigh!)
My older two settled in quickly, sharing with the technician all about our adventure in Kenya. So I went to check on my little guy and see how his first visit was going.
I took a seat across from the TV playing something from Cartoon Network. The technician took off her mask and said she saw 3 problem areas the doctor needs to look at.
I’m hoping they’re nothing.
A few minutes later, the Doc came in and confirmed her concern. Yep. Cavities. Three of them.
No problem, I think to myself. They said they were small and wouldn’t take long…could even take care of them today if I had time. I asked for an estimate of how much this small cavity would cost.
When the sweet gal brought me the print off with the cost at the bottom, I was hoping there was a mistake. Maybe the amount was written in Euros instead of Dollars? This couldn’t be right! I double check everything with the helpful employee. She smiled and understood I couldn’t do it today after all.
I felt a tidal wave of emotions threatening to rise up and break all over this dentist office. All I could think was “I can’t afford this.” I’m estimating how much just today’s bill is MINUS the fillings…
Plus my Costco receipt…
Plus my vet bill yesterday…
Plus the eye doctor expense for Caleb taking those throw down poppers onto the trampoline and one popping in his eye…
Plus our remodel that I’m supposed to be saving for…
“I can’t afford this!” my brain screams.
To that, a gentle, peaceful whisper speaks to my heart, “Why are you so worried?”
I’ll tell ya why I’m worried…I begin… I’m worried because I’ve already spent like my whole budget for July and it’s only the 9th… I’m worried that I won’t have enough for…
Oh. You weren’t really wanting me to list all that out were you?
But the Spirit kept moving. Why are you worried, Julie?
I’ve spent the last 24 hours rolling around that question. I thought I knew why. But God knew what was really worrying my soul and He wasn’t going to let me stay there. This morning, I discovered all those things I listed out to Him were really just covering up something much deeper – and uglier.
This morning’s Utmost for His Highest started out with the question, “Have you the slightest reliance on anything other than God? Are you relying on yourself in any particular in this new proposition which God has put before you?”
Truth be told? Yes. I have. I’ve relied on my savings account and my good budgeting habits. Those are what provide for emergencies like this, right?
I mentioned the remodel project I was supposed to be saving for –
We poured the slab for this project almost 3 years ago. I’ve dreamed of it for longer. Our family has joined hands around the slab and prayed for God to provide the funds for this project. Every time we were close to saving enough money to start it, something would happen and the money vanished.
When we got home from Kenya and opened the file back up, we realized we had saved enough to begin!
The party in my head and the project has begun…excited isn’t enough to describe how happy I am. But reading that question from Oswald Chambers this morning made me realize something really ugly. The fulfillment of that room has become an idol for me. It has taken the place of my Lord in my heart. For a moment I thought it was my good practices that got us to this point. That I deserve this room. That my happiness depends on this room. ‘Cause I’ve been good. I’ve been patient. But now, it’s time…NOW!
I realized I was inwardly protecting this project like a newborn baby and wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of it being completed. Nothing!
As if I needed more conviction, I read these words from Tim Keller in my bible study Anything:
“If you love anything more than God, even though you believe in God, if there is anything in your life that is more important to your own identity or significance than God, then that is a false god and it is a power in your life. And you can usually tell that something here has become an idol because you have an extreme reaction when it is threatened.”
How did I slip so far, so quickly? I came home from Kenya 6 weeks ago, humbled and surrendered to His plan. Heck, I was there 5 days ago.
This following Jesus is a daily process, isn’t it? It’s not a one and done prayer and life is a bed of roses. Well, maybe a rose bed where you continually prune, water, weed, fertilize, water some more, prune again over and over again, daily! Enjoying the flowers equal only a small portion of the process.
I confessed my sin to my Creator this morning. I’ll have to apologize to the sweet ladies at the dentist office later. Life will go on.
Yes, the day was exhausting. I’m still putting groceries up and Zach’s enjoying brushing his teeth with his new hour-glass 2 minute timer.
But at the end of it all here’s my new declaration: The room is His and the finishing of it does not define me or my happiness. My children are His and He will provide for their needs too – yes, even fillings and dental appointments. He owns the cattle and the thousand hills, He can handle this. I am His. Two sparrows are sold for a penny and He counts the hairs on my head. He says I am worth more than many sparrows.
God alone is my Provider. He is my Lord. I pray all my dreams are shattered; all my plans are thwarted, until He shines brightly through me – His very cracked pot. But His, nonetheless.