Today was the closest I’ve ever come to actually hearing an audible voice from God.
You know how sometimes you hear speakers, pastors, or other Christians use the line “God told me that…..” or “God spoke to me and revealed that….”. Something along those lines. Well, today I think I understand a bit better what they mean when they say that.
God saw something in my heart that needed changing. And He wasn’t about to ignore it.
The Green-eyed Monster
It started a few days ago.
I was settling down for the evening after my son went to bed. Flipping through Instagram I noticed photos of people I know, relaxing on sunny, sandy beaches. Sipping on drinks with little umbrellas. Wearing sunglasses. Some of them had even brought their kids with, and their little ones were running in the sand and splashing in the water.
“Must be nice.” I thought, looking through the window at the ice and snow blanketing our front yard.
A dissatisfaction began to brew.
The next day, as I was online updating a post I had shared about home-raised pork, I took a few minutes to see what my friends were up to.
“Looks like they had a nice dinner.” I thought, as I looked at one friend’s photo of a fancy dinner night out at a restaurant. “We certainly can’t afford that.”
I began to reminisce about the day of eating out with friends, being single, and having the money to splurge on culinary indulgences.
Visiting with a friend the other day, she asked me “Hey do you know of any good spas in Edmonton? I would love a little relaxation time.”
I couldn’t remember the last time I went to a spa. Seriously. The morning of my wedding day maybe?
“How can people afford to spend money on themselves like that!? We’re struggling to just pay our bills before the due dates!” My mind raced, and a little monster was born. It had green-eyes, and it’s name was Envy.
Never once, did I smile at seeing my friends and family being able to enjoy these special experiences they were having. I wasn’t happy for them. Never once did I think “That’s wonderful, I’m so glad they were able to enjoy that time together.”. Nope. I was just plain jealous.
Am I aware that envy and covetousness is sinful and wrong? Absolutely. But part of me just wanted to sit in that envy and stew in it for a while, despite knowing how wrong that is. Self-pity at it’s finest.
The Tipping Point
Driving home from my son’s playgroup today, I found myself once again floating around in my little boat of self-pity.
Slowly driving down our gravel road, in hopes of helping my son fall asleep in his carseat, I waded through thoughts of “It’s not fair. We work hard. We deserve to go fun places, eat fancy meals, and indulge every now and then too.” I think because Christmas is only a few days away, and because we really had to budget tight on gifts this year, I was getting especially resentful.
My son fell asleep in the car. I parked in the driveway to enjoy the peace and quiet for a few minutes. I remember that the internet bill needs to be paid, so I login to my online banking. A surprise is waiting there for me.
A notification of a returned mortgage payment. “Insufficient funds” it reads.
My heart sinks.
How? I budgeted correctly, I’m sure of it. How is there not enough?
With my son in the backseat, sleeping away, I spend the next few minutes quietly sobbing.
After carrying my sleepy boy inside to his bed, I pick up my heavy heart and carry it into the kitchen. I walk over to my iPod, choose the “Christian mix” playlist, and snap the kettle on to boil some water for tea.
“God,” I say quietly. “I’m really upset. And I need you to help me. Please God just comfort me.”
I listen to Casting Crowns sing “Jesus, friend of sinners” while waiting for my water to boil. There’s something calming about music and tea.
But my thoughts were quickly interrupted.
I suddenly find my mind repeating over and over again, “but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Over and over the verse repeats itself. Fully interrupting my pity-party.
Was God trying to speak to me? I had to look up the verse. Luke 9:58 – “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
Jesus had nowhere to lay his head. No place to call home. No safe, secure, warm bed waiting for him every night. He was functionally homeless. God’s own son. Homeless.
I let that sink in for a while.
Jesus is God’s son, and He loved Him, yet He let him go homeless? I look up at the roof over my head. At the walls sheltering me from the cold, and feel the warm air rushing through the furnace vents.
God let His perfect son wander homeless, but yet He chooses to bless me with this warm, secure, safe, lovely home. A huge pang of guilt hits me.
I open the refrigerator to grab some milk for my tea. I notice how full it is. Milk, cheese, eggs, ham, carrots, pineapple, oranges… so much food. I’ve never known hunger. I’ve never suffered through having an empty grumbling stomach. God has always provided for us. More conviction hits me.
I sip my hot tea, which apparently startles the baby inside me. She wakes up and gives me a few kicks. I look down at my round belly, and think about the year we spent trying and praying and hoping for another child. I think about how God answered our prayers. I remain convicted, but am beginning to feel thankfulness welling up inside me.
I hear a squeak on the baby monitor. Tip-toeing to my son’s roon, I go check on him. He’s curled up fast asleep on his little bed. Peaceful, cozy, wrapped in his snuggly gray blanket. I take a minute to lay beside him, and a few hot tears of thankfulness silently fall from my eyes into his little pillow.
Rich Beyond Measure
Finishing my tea in the kitchen, I flip through my bank statement online, and realize how silly I was to be remotely upset a single missed mortgage payment. A call to the bank and a quick money transfer and everything is all good.
I also realize how silly I was to let jealousy and envy sneak into my heart, giving birth to an attitude of ungratefulness.
Because let’s be honest, I am rich.
Rich in strong relationships, family and friendships. Rich in my basic needs constantly being met. Rich in access to social services like good health care, education, community groups, etc. Rich in financial security – my husband has an excellent job and great benefits. The list goes on and on…
As imperfect and flawed as I am, undeserving of the love of a perfect and Holy God, I am amazed at how much God loves me and blesses me. It’s crazy. It’s a crazy love.
I can be so selfish and ungrateful, yet God is willing to forgive that, and to continue blessing me. I suppose that’s grace isn’t it?
And like God reminds Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you…”
It is indeed.
I think sometimes we all need a little reminder. Something big enough to catch out attention (like a missed mortgage payment) to force us to turn back to God, take a minute to listen to what He’s trying to tell us, and refocus.
I needed this reminder. My heart needed to be mended.
Now, sitting with my computer at the end of this emotional day, I can honestly say that God has helped me shift my perspective. The envy that was festering is gone. I’m filled with a renewed thankfulness for the blessings God has surrounded me with.
He’s a good God, and He loves us so crazy much. If all I have in this life is God’s love, that will be enough.