(This is Where You Live Should Not Decide, Part II)

If you didn’t read yesterday’s post, I sure would appreciate you doing so before diving into this one. It will make more sense. If you don’t feel like it, well whatever, at least I warned you.

So while I was in the middle of writing yesterday’s post, last week halfway across SA, a friend of ours wanted to take me to the mall and wanted me to pick out something special for myself for Mother’s Day. I was so freaked out I almost totally froze. Well not really, but seriously, it was the strangest blessing I’ve received in a long time.

You see, I realised that for as long as I can remember, I have carried around a mental shopping list in my head. Please tell me you have done this too and I’m not silly. I would take note of things I felt were lacking from my closet … perhaps a new jean skirt, a black belt (not karate-type, just regular type, of course), a scarf that will turn last season’s sweater into this season’s style, a replacement for a saggy old pocketbook… you get the idea. And whenever I had a chance to shop, I would already know what I was looking for — all the stuff I “needed” on my list. Well suddenly, we’re on the way to the mall and I. Have. No. List.

I cannot describe to you what this felt like because I can’t even describe it to myself. It was just the strangest thing for my brain to go to the file where the continually-updated shopping list is supposed to be stored and suddenly find that the list is blank. I trolled around like a lost sheep for a moment before regaining the clarity to walk through a store and start looking for something I might like.

I finally settled on an adorable pink sweater (Thank you, friend, you know who you are!) and wore it at least three times over the next week and a half because, hey, we were travelling to a new place every couple days and who knew it was a repeat?

The reason I’m telling you all this? I suppose it felt like a victory to discover that I no longer had “the list.” I feel like some of the materialism I’ve grown up with (mind you I am NOT blaming my parents for this — we live in a VERY materialistic society!) is finally breaking. It’s like I’m coming out of some translucent shell for the first time, seeing the possibility of living differently.

Now this you’ve gotta hear. It gets better. While I was in the middle of writing this post, yesterday, Mark went to check the mail. We hadn’t checked it since we’d gotten back to Gordon’s Bay. And in it were two slips of paper, notifying us that two packages were waiting for us at the Post Office.

Might you like to hazard a guess as to what was in said packages? If you guessed clothing, then you’re right! Another dear and sweet friend of mine and her family put together two boxes of clothes for us — lots of ADORABLE stuff for the next sizes the Bear is growing into (pictures to follow) AND some adorable tops for me AND some handsome and manly shirts for Hero Hubby, one that will make his beautiful blue eyes even more blue! I love that.

As I pondered how all this had come together while I was in the middle of discussing this thing that is changing in me, I was reminded of a conversation Hero Hubs and I had several months ago. We were working out our budget for life here in South Africa. Once we were finally settled in, we could see what our expenses were actually going to be like, the health insurance, the rent, the groceries, etc. As we put all the numbers together, though things were tight, we decided to continue giving as before and even increase a little. This meant, however, that there was no room at the inn for a clothing budget. After setting aside funds to travel back to the States, working to pay off Mr. Potato Head as quickly as possible, and covering the costs of living around here, clothes just weren’t in the numbers.

I can remember sitting beside Hero Hubs on the couch as he said, “We are just going to have to trust the Lord for everything else.”

So we did. And I’ve begun to realise we are really trusting Him for everything. All the funds that are coming our way are from Him. And seven months later, we have been repeatedly blessed with clothing for ourselves and for the Bear, without spending anything. (Except for those special shoes I told you about that my friend sent money at just the right time for us to buy!) And I am finding once again a God who is true to His word:

Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? […] But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6: 25 & 33)

I am not saying I haven’t wanted more over the past several months. I am not saying there weren’t times where I wished I could have some cash to just blow on stuff for myself. But I am suddenly finding that I am desiring stuff less, and I am beginning to take notice of the fact that God will meet my every need if I trust Him and wait on Him.

And though I don’t have all the answers yet, I can see how if we in the West can break free from materialism, we can break others free from poverty. If we are willing to skip going to the movies twice a month, someone halfway around the world can eat that month. If we are willing to wear last year’s fashion this year, we might save enough to build a well for a village that needs clean water.

When I stand before the Lord at the end of my days, I sometimes don’t want to think about the account I will have to give for what I did with what He gave me. I am a debtor to grace every day and so thankful Jesus covers my every shortcoming. But it is good to feel like I’m moving more and more in His direction, working to be fruitful with that which I’ve been called to steward, anxiously awaiting a glorious “Well done.”

One more quote for thought to tie this up:

“Don’t fail to do something just because you can’t do everything.”
–Dr. Bob Pierce