Do You Think Your Rich?

Christmas

It’s been a quiet and productive Sunday morning for me so far. I still have much to do today but I want to take the time today to ask my WordPress family a very simple question, “Do you think you are rich?” Most probably answered NO immediately without giving the question much thought. Let me help you answer this question with a resounding YES!
If you have a job and work 5 days a week and can buy 7 days worth of food…your rich.
If you have a roof over your head 7 nights a week…your rich.
If you have heat and never fret about having it shut off this winter due to non-payment…your rich.
If you have family and friends that love you and will be there for you when your in need…..your rich.
If your days are filled with love and laughter….you are incredibly RICH!

My point, we are richer than we think because we take these things and many more for granted. We are sometimes blind to the fact that there are so many out there that do not have the things I have listed.

I learned today that 127 households, (this includes small children, the elderly and people with disabilities) are right now, today, homeless in my community. That’s a big problem. I’m sitting in a warm home with a hot cup of coffee enjoying surfing the net, they are not. I’m awaiting the return of my beautiful family from up north, they are not. I’m going out to buy Christmas gifts today, they are not. I’m rich, they are not.

I’ll share one other tidbit with you. I had the floors at my store waxed and buffed over night and I came in at about 6am to let the floor crew out. As they are loading their equipment into their trailer I notice in the dark, over in a corner by the dumpster, an elderly man wrapping up his blankets into a trash bag, picking up his walking cane and called to his dog, “It’s time to go Buddy”. It was 17 degrees out. I AM RICH!

I have always believed that when the day comes that I stand before God, he will not reward me for what I left behind, but what I gave away when I had the chance, the blessing I bestowed on others rather than blessing myself with more and more.

My eyes are open to the needs of other now more than ever before. I will step up and help those in my community that are sleeping without the warmth and shelter that they deserve. I look around to what I have, and it may not be much to some peoples standings, but it is more than enough to allow me to help someone without.

This Christmas season, the present I want most of all, and I truly mean this, is for you to really look at others, see a need, and fulfill it. If you don’t see a need, ask! Start with your own family. Do you really know what your spouse needs? Your children?  Do you know what they are really in need of right now? It could be time spent together, a shoulder to cry on, understanding in a difficult situation they are going through, a bill paid, a car repair, a hug, or the need to hear you say “I Love You”. It is that simple. Be the blessing God made you to be.

What a joyous Christmas this would be if we all could do this!

Bring The Rain – Unanswered Prayers

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Mom and Daughter on Easter Morning

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2

Prayer is God’s appointed means to receive what is best for us and others and to realize what Paul called “what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:2) Sometimes a delay is necessary to fit into God’s overall program.

Last year my father in law lost his battle with cancer.  The family spent countless days praying for his recovery, that God would spare him and restore him to perfect health. Those prayers went unanswered. They were prayers not so much for him but for our own selfish desires, we wanted more time, we were not ready to lose him.  But I learned a lot during the last weeks of his life as he and I talked about life and death.  We weren’t ready for what God’s will was, but he was.  He talked about the life God had blessed him with and he helped me understand that God’s will, God’s plan, was far greater than our own.  In the days following his death I was able to reminisce with my children, nieces and nephews, and share with them the insights that their grandfather had shared with me.  From this, a glorious thing happened with one of my nephews.  In the past few years as his son and daughter got older, he had forgotten how important family was and that being a parent means that you are your child’s favorite toy, and that children spell love T-I-M-E.  Through this lose that he felt so deeply, he became a better father.

Weeks later my mother in law was told that she had advanced cancer. We were told that she may not make it to Christmas, the family took this hard.  I’ve prayed for my mother in law more than any other person in my life. I’ve prayed that she would be healed completely. I’ve prayed that she would receive wisdom and strength in life situations. It seems like many of those prayers have gone unanswered. But are they really unanswered, or is God using my mother in laws life to stretch her daughters faith as well as the rest of the family’s faith?

Perhaps he does it so that the soul will remain humble or grow in humility; perhaps to purify it; perhaps to make it hunger and thirst all the more so as to satisfy it all the more. Or he may delay for other reasons which we cannot even guess, but which will be revealed to us some day and show us God’s mercy. This is why it happens that a soul, who has been asking God all his life to overcome some fault, remains with it until perhaps his last days, and finally sees the prayer answered, even abundantly answered.

It’s now April 2013, and my mother in law is still enjoying everyday of her life and all the tender moments that make up each of her days.  Recently she made the decision to stop treatments.  She wants her days to be filled with quality not quantity.  The treatments were wiping her out for 3 weeks only to have a few days of feeling good.  And we support her wishes.  We all have been blessed to have this extra time with her.

On Easter Sunday I was able to sit and visit alone with her before I took her out to Easter dinner with family.  We talked about the time she has been given, family, lessons she has learned, and we prayed.  She is truly happy and at peace, her only wish, to smell the breeze of a Spring day one more time.  She talked of her love for her family and all the blessed moments they gave her.  She is ready to go to her Father and be with her husband that I know she misses terribly.

There is a song by Mercy Me called, “Bring the Rain.” When I first heard that song I couldn’t even imagine how much spiritual maturity it would take for someone to sing, that was until an Easter Sunday morning talk with mom.

“Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free.
Bring me anything that brings You glory.
And I know there’ll be days
When this life brings me pain,
But if that’s what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain.”