i was over everything.
but i was mostly over the ungratefulness.
i saw it proudly shining through my children, but the arrows stung me because it was shining in my heart too. i wanted the light shining in the dark corners of my heart to shut off. it was embarrassing and gross.
but it was on purpose. God was holding the flashlight.
hey, look what's in here.
it wasn't loud. just a subtle, piercing whisper that called me to change.
when i was young, maybe 8 years old, i remember opening the door on christmas morning and there was a pile of gifts on the front porch. i grew up in a family of 8 children, so you can imagine that things were tight around the holidays. we had already had christmas and i was wondering why we were getting more presents.
the funny things is, i was perfectly happy before we opened the door with what we had already received that morning. because when you have nothing, the smallest, tiniest gift is a treasure. i remember not understanding why someone would give us more gifts. i think it was the first time i started to figure out that we were poor. it's strange to describe, but i thought it was funny that people were giving to us when already had so much.
i was grateful. at my poorest.
this year, i have prayed that God would help me be more grateful. that it would start with me. i knew this is where it must begin. not in my children, but in me. my children did not get ungrateful by chance. no, they learned that somewhere. perhaps one of their greatest influences?
and so the answer to my prayer was that God made me poor. not in our actual finances, but in my spirit. i began to see my need for God in a new way this year. how i am nothing without him and i how i need him from moment to moment...i am constantly failing as a mother and wife and friend and sister. the promise that stuff and things would make it better didn't help my problem of inadequacy, it only made it worse. the promise of having more or being more became slavery.
luckily, or should i say, very purposefully, Jesus came for those who are failures and know they are sick with only one hope.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. matthew 5:3
or revelation 3:17 cuts to the chase.
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
oh. that's was me. drowning in the tornado of wrapping paper and boredom with the gifts. pridefully saying, i need nothing from you, baby Jesus. this story is boring. it's not enough... i want more.
i needed to be 9 again on monroe street, standing in my pajamas. i needed the smallest, tiniest gift to be a treasure. the God that humbled himself and came as a tiny baby to save the world. i desperately needed to be poor enough to see the greatness of this gift.
and he showed up.
a simple prayer last year after christmas and it changed my year. it changed my parenting and my conversations. it changed things that i have pursued in the past and made them look foolish. it is changing tangibly in the amount of gifts we are giving the kids and each other and how we celebrate Jesus' birth. but it doesn't stop here.
not that we are there yet, but that it has begun.