What was I thinking taking all four kids, between the ages of nearly two and eight, into a shopping mall? Simply with a one-tracked mind. I was determined to buy a shirt.
I was just noticing the week before that I did not have any decent shirts. It was spring break and I had decided to take the kids on a two hour excursion to visit my sister and family for a couple of days, where the closest mall happened to be.
On this particular trip, I was determined to take advantage of the shopping mall. I didn't know how the next two days would play out or trust that we would actually get out of the house once we got there, so I decided to make a pit stop on the way to my sister's house.
The mall was pleasantly empty since it was not spring break for schools in this area. We got our bearings over a corn dog in the food court then made a b-line for Macy's. Within minutes of scanning sale racks and two shirts dangling over my arm, the youngest two were running circles around me, squealing, with the older two chasing them in an unsuccessful attempt to contain them. I barked a few orders then carefully hung the two shirts back up in retreat and said, "Okay, let's go." We headed over to the play area across the way to let the children play as I obsessively re-worked my plan for how I was going to exit the mall with four obedient children and a shirt.
"We made it this far," I thought, "I can't leave without a shirt!" I mentally decided on one of the shirts I had picked out, rounded the kids up, went back and bought the shirt, then left the mall - fried, but successfully.
When we arrived at my sister's house, I told her of our detour due to the fact that I desperately needed shirts. She then exclaimed, " Oh! The sports store down the street - you know the store that carries all of the Title 9 clothes I love - they are having a 50% off sale on shirts this week. We have to go!"
Was that not a blessing waiting for me or what? But I didn't recognize it. I was still recovering from my obsessive mental state. I had been so determined to have what I wanted and what I felt justified to have, I hadn't even thought to offer up my desire and trust God with my needs. Had I been willing to sacrifice the guarantee to buy a shirt at any cost, I may have been overwhelmed with gratitude over my sister's statement, which addressed my very need.
So often we miss the blessing God has for us when we determine to meet our own needs.
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? Matthew 6:28-30I purchased a few casual shirts at 50% off by the time we left for home, yet the shirt I had bought at the mall I actually didn't end up liking very well (sigh).
Much of the time our determination comes at a cost, in which the gain does not pay off.
I often think about how my children need never to worry. They need only to trust their father and me because we will always have their best interests at heart - just as my Heavenly Father has my best interest at heart...if only I will trust Him.
As a mother, there are many sacrifices I will have to make, yet God knows every one of my needs and has blessings already in store for me. Unless I am willing to make the sacrifices, I may never recognize those blessings as truly blessings.
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. Matthew 6:31-33This Easter Season, will we let go of all we think we have to do or have on our own merit? Will we trust that His divine power has given us everything we need? Will we acknowledge the greatest sacrifice this world will ever know? Will we recognize the Blessing?