First, Mrs. Sherry at our church is in charge of the food baskets at church. Thursday before Christmas she called to say she prepared a basket for James and I. Now we're poor, but trust me we still eat - my expanding waist line can't solely be blamed on Baby Lackey. :) However this act of kindness was a huge blessing in that it is food we don't have to buy, thereby saving our resources. What was even kinder was my conversation with Mrs. Sherry. I commented "You didn't have to do that for us" to which she responded not "well I know you guys are having a hard time, etc.." Rather she stated a very simple, "I know but I wanted to." What kindness she exibited not to remind me of our situation. It may seem like a trivial comment, but it meant a lot to me.
Second, so many people have given us little gifts: encouraging cards, kind words, hugs, reminders of their prayers, gift cards, etc... this Christmas.
Third, our Sunday School teachers' daughter gave us some of her things from when her daughter was a baby. Particularly a Pack-n-Play, Car Seat, several sets of crib sheets, and an adorable hooded towel. Sure, I could get these things through Baby Showers, but I hate to ask people.
Fourth, Christmas evening our doorbell rings. Not expecting company I answer the door to find a couple who I've never seen before (or atleast I didn't recognize them). The wife asks if I'm Melissa then hands me a card says Merry Christmas and leaves. The card contained a very, very generous financial gift signed simply "Friends." By the time I opened the card and realized what had occured, they had driven away.
These acts of provision (combined with my pregnancy hormones) cued the onset of many tears. Now let me be honest and say these weren't tears of happiness or joy. These were tears of humility and repentance.
You see I struggle almost daily with trusting the Lord. I may talk a good talk, but mostly I am trying to convince myself of the truths my brain knows but my heart struggles to believe. The Lord has revealed to me this week through his kindness that my struggle to trust him is planted firmly in pride.
My pride is rooted in self-sufficency/self-reliance and anxiety.
I have never been one to be on the "receiving" end. I have almost always been able to take care of myself. I would rather take on multiple jobs or struggle greatly than ask for help. My parents raised me to be independent, which is good, but I find interdependence (which is a biblical-lifestyle) very difficult.
Moses reminds the people of Israel (and me) of the danger of this kind of pride.
In Deuteronomy 8:11-17 he says:
Beware . . . lest, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply . . . then your heart becomes proud, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt . . . [and you] say in your heart, "My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth."
While I have never verbalized that attitude outloud, I do take pride in being able to fend for myself. I don't want people's help - I don't like how it feels to receive to be helped or served.
My self-sufficiency also causes me to be anxious about the future because deep-down I know I can't control all. What exactly am I afraid of, you ask? Everything! Afraid that the baby will die, afraid that the baby will be born with some kind of birth defect, afraid of not living near family and not knowing what to do with a baby, afraid that I'll have to go back to work in the fall, afraid that James will never get the ministry position he longs for, afraid the Lord will keep us in this holding-pattern forever. How stupidly sinful of me.
In Isaiah 51:12-13, the Lord admonishes Israel (and me, again) with these words:
I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, and of the son of man who is made like grass; that you have forgotten the Lord your Maker?
Friends, Please pray:
- That the Lord will bless those who have blessed us. Their generosity is a testimony to their faith and I pray that the Lord rewards their kindness.
- That the Lord will give me endurance as he refines me. My pride of self-sufficiency and anxiety are smacked in the face when the Lord shows his kindness to me. The Lord is kind to discipline me. The Lord's dicipline isn't comfortable at all, but I know it is what is best for me.
- That I will live the words of 1 Peter 4:19 "Entrust your soul to a faithful Creator."
Now, I'm going to go finish crying and repenting. *sigh*
Don't you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you?
Does this mean nothing to you?
Can't you see that his kindess is intended to turn you from your sin?
Romans 2:4 NLT