From my senior year in high school until the adoption of my daughter, I've worked in some capacity, almost all of it full-time in the professional realm. So now as I sit out another year at home as a new mother, I am learning how frustrating it is to have very little control over our household income, especially in these difficult economic times. While my lifestyle has never been extravagant, I was always able to dine out on a whim, go on vacation, and buy gifts generously when birthdays and holidays rolled around. Getting married only added to my financial security -- we had two sets of income and only one set of household expenses.
So what's the good news in all of this? God, of course. He's teaching me an important lesson rather late in life: He's there to get us through and all we have to do is trust in Him. I've always "known" this in an intellectual sort of way. Yet, my self-reliance has always produced the results I needed, so the lesson never truly sank into practice in my life. Jesus' words in Matthew 6 have so much more meaning for me now than they ever did before:
Do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, "What are we to eat?" or "What are we to drink?" or "What are we to wear?" All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.
So there's my challenge - learning to trust like the lilies. Others have learned this lesson so much earlier in life than I. Yet, it's never too late to learn something new. So it's time to close the spreadsheets and turn to prayer -- not for my own needs (because all my family's basic needs are met, and then some) but for others, especially those whose need is so much greater, and those who lack faith and feel hopeless in the face of these tough times.
May God bless our country, our neighbors, and especially our children with faith, true joy, and simple trust in Him!