I asked my mom for tennis shoes my 7th grade year, and I was expecting a pair of Nikes or Jordans like the other kids. I didn’t realize my mom couldn’t afford them. My mom’s solution – a pair of Avias. She assured me that it was a legit name brand because they (whoever “they” are) used to wear them when she was growing up. I failed to remember my mom grew up in the backwoods of North Carolina, so what “they” wore back then was probably less than popular. Needless to say I was teased for my choice of footwear, and then it dawned on me…I had less than what the other kids had. The absence of the things I wanted and my mom’s inability to purchase them became more apparent – and then the emotions followed. Jealousy, sadness, and anger rolled together and left me feeling “left out.”
Fast-forward years later and I feel like I’ve had front row seats to everyone else’s celebrations. Engagements, marriages, babies, home purchases, jobs with salaries that make you want to slap your boss. Am I happy for these people? Of course! Yet, there are still days that I am left asking, “God, what about me?” I go back to that little girl in the 7th grade wishing my life was as good as the other kids. I’ll admit that some days I remind Him of all the fasting, praying, seeking, and working I’ve been doing (just in case He forgot), only to hear Him say, “Armeka, if you are doing these things just to get something out of me, then you shouldn’t do it at all.”
Do I do these things to have my wishes granted, or because God is a loving, faithful, sacrificing Father and Friend?
I do it because He loved me first. And He sent Jesus to die a gruesome death so this little brat named Armeka could have eternal life.
[Now that that’s cleared up]
So in frustration I cry out, “Well God when does abundant living kick in!? Why do I feel like I am picking up the crumbs of abundance while everyone else is riding off into the abundant sunset with their awesome jobs, nice homes, and adorable families?!”
And then He begins to remind me that my grass is green. Though it may look greener in the yards next to me, my grass is GREEN! Not brown, not that ugly, withering, yellowish color that dry weather sometimes brings, but GREEN!
So I have to make it a point to apply Philippians 4:6-9 to my perspective:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.
My mom couldn’t give me tennis shoes and other material things, but she taught me how to pray and seek counsel from the Holy Spirit. She introduced me to a loving God and a personal Savior who owns it ALL! All these things will last me longer than the most expensive pair of tennis shoes in the world – in fact, GOD could GIVE ME ALL the tennis shoes in THE WORLD if He wanted to (but I don’t like tennis shoes anymore).
Sister, your grass is GREEN. If ever you forget that, I implore you to make a list of reasons to be thankful and thank God for those things every time you feel less than blessed. Here are a few items from my list:
- My relationship with God
- An awesome Mom and sister
- My small circle of TRUE friends
- A healthy and able body
- A sound mind
My list continues to grow; and as I think more on these things, I think less of the things I want but don’t yet have. Being a good steward includes being thankful.
Remember that God delights in adding to thankful hearts. Thankfulness is water for your grass.