15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against wanting to have more and more things. Life is not made up of how much a person has.” ~ Jesus, Luke 12:15
You know when God really wants you to learn something, and it seems like everywhere you go that message is reinforced? Lately it feels like not only have I been seeing those messages, but God’s been hitting me over the head with them.
After closing the daycare, we knew that there would be a bit of an adjustment in cash flow, and we were prepared for that. We’re pretty adept at making due with less, and God provides. The bills have always been paid, there’s always been food in the cupboard, and our needs have always been met.
Like when one of our kids’ feet grew overnight, resulting in them having to wear rubber boots in -15 degree weather. We would have had to wait a full week til payday to buy a brand new pair, but a last minute dash into Goodwill resulted in a pair of winter boots in perfect condition and in the perfect size for a grand total of $3.03. Guess how much I had in my pocket that day?
Or when the church supply of coffee was getting very low, and I didn’t have the cash to buy more. A new, large can of coffee appeared on the Registration Table that Sunday morning. I have no idea who brought it, and nothing was mentioned to me, so I didn’t think it was up for grabs. When the building emptied and the coffee was still there, I realized that it wasn’t up for grabs — it was for our coffee supply.
But lately I’ve been in situations where it’s been very obvious that we’ve been making do with a lot less than some others. After a conversation I had with a girlfriend last night about the new Dyson vacuum cleaner she’s planning on buying, I had a *bit* of jealousy swirling through my mind while cleaning the house this morning. As if to drive the point home, the handle of my vacuum cleaner fell off not once, twice or three times, but FOUR times while I was using it! I couldn’t help it — I started to laugh at myself. I have always had such horrible luck with vacuum cleaners but the irony in this case was too much. And I heard the message loud and clear: my vacuum cost $50 at Walmart, a lot less than a new Dyson, and the handle falls off. Repeatedly. But it cleans my floors just fine. It’s dependable, and it does the job. That’s what matters.
And in browsing through MLS.ca house listings in the search for a bigger, better house, I started to realize that our house has the ideal layout and set up for exactly what we need and want. It’s a small house by many people’s standards (and by our own too!), but it has everything we need. It has 3 bathrooms (we couldn’t make do with any less), 3 bedrooms with room for one more if needed, a huge walk-in closet in the master bedroom, along with enough space for a home office in the bedroom itself, a “man-cave” for hubby, a sunny living room, a rec-room in the basement (to be finished eventually), a kitchen that at this point has disorganized cupboards because there’s enough cupboard space to be disorganized in, and a fully fenced yard that is big enough for kids to play in but not too big to take care of. Not only that, but it’s location is perfect for having groups of friends over for sledding, fireworks, barbecues, and all sorts of other gatherings. It can be loud and crowded, but it still has enough space for the men to visit, the women to drink coffee and chat, and for the kids to get wild and crazy.
So, I’m grateful for my cheap vacuum cleaner and my snug little house (that lives large), and the fact that we have enough money to have BOTH a Tassimo and a Keurig (yes, they were both second-hand, but they work perfectly!), two vehicles in the driveway, a husband that is an awesome provider and that makes enough money at a stable, enjoyable job for me to stay home and do my own thing, for three kids that are healthy and well-behaved (most of the time), so many clothes that I need to give some away, enough space for a fourth child, too many computers, 2 smartphones, several electronics for the kids (most second-hand, but not all), and running shoes that still currently fit all of the kids (always a gamble this time of year). We also have school backpacks that have NO holes or wear marks of any kind. Normally at this point in the year I’ve had to go and buy new backpacks for each of the kids because the bottoms have worn out or the bottle holders have holes in them, but not this year!
We have a ton to be grateful for! A thought has started popping into my mind whenever the green-eyed monster starts to appear: “Is it worth going out to work?”.
Is working at a 9 to 5 job worth buying a new house? A new vacuum? A big tropical vacation? Brand new you-name-it? Is going back to doing home daycare worth it?
The answer usually jumps out even before the thought is complete: No! It’s not worth not being here and available to my kids. I’ll have lots of time to buy a brand new Keurig when my kids are grown and on their own. Or go on a big vacation that doesn’t involve eating at McDonald’s. Or spend more than $30 on an outfit.
Right now, I’m choosing to be thankful for what I have, because I’m investing in the only things I’ll be able to take with me when this life is over: my family.