For many months, my oldest has been trekking off to Taekwondo in pants that are about 3 inches too short. They look very silly, but he didn’t need a new pair. This pair fits him well around the waist. But yours truly hemmed them up last year, and then my son grew. A bunch. As kids are wont to do. And I’ve been busy. As moms are prone to be.
Anyway, the thick of summer is finally here and I’m tackling miscellaneous projects, so I broke out the seam ripper and have been undoing two levels of hems in these pants. My gosh I was thorough. Did I really need to use the smallest stitches on the sewing machine for these hems? Ripping them out is taking forever!! Lesson learned.
Nevertheless, I find a strange satisfaction in doing little bits of handiwork like this – picking up a piece of clothing that could be tossed aside or given away out of frustration and giving it a second life. I’m so grateful my mom taught me to use iron-on patches to reinforce the knees of jeans that are wearing thin, and how to fix a snagged sweater with a crochet hook. In learning little tricks like these, I also grew to understand that the usefulness of things can be extended, and that value is to be determined by what something means to us, not by what it means to others.
So, weird as this may seem, whenever I settle into the couch and start ripping out hems or mending holes, I feel rich. I’m not rich, mind you, but recognizing that I have what I need within the walls of my home makes my heart swell, and I remember again that my life is overflowing with blessings.
One day a few years back, I almost fell over in surprised joy at this feeling of abundance. I had been telling friends that I thought my husband and I needed a bookshelf. We just had so, so, so many books and no place to put them. We were busy with two kids at the time, and our basement was a wreck, with toys, extra furniture, and boxes of books shoved every which way and all over the place. No organization whatsoever. I couldn’t stand it, but of course, no one but us was going to fix it. No fairy godmother was showing up with a magic wand to whip everything into order.
My complaints had reached a climax and I was climbing over the stuff in our basement’s back room, where a door leads to a storage area. In a rant about buying more containers to clean up and compartmentalize the mess, I wasn’t thinking about what might be in that storage room.
Right behind that white door was a basic 6-foot bookcase my father-in-law built 40 years ago. It was exactly what we needed. It was right in our house all along. And I had completely forgotten about it.
So how often do I forget about what I actually have? Every day. It’s so easy to look around at what others have and think they have it better than me. Better hair. Cuter clothes. A prettier house. More worldly success. Some vague happiness that is greater than mine – as if that can be measured. As if what they are showing on the outside is in any way a true reflection of what’s really happening on the inside.
This is exactly what the evil one would like for me to think about, right? And these malicious whispers in my head that would divert me from the Life that Jesus came to bring to me are lies. Lies. Jesus tells us the devil “was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
So do I have what I need to fight these thoughts? If I have access to a Bible and a mind to pray, I do. But I’ve found that no matter how wonderful it feels to fill up on God’s Word, be it on Sunday at church, or during Bible study with my friends, I cannot walk through this life and expect the satisfaction of those times to last. Daily immersion is required. I cannot run on fumes.
And why is that? Because God is alive! And I have a relationship with Him. Every time I seek Him out the experience is new. He opens the doors to show me what I have forgotten or neglected to see – in myself, in the world, in all dimensions of my life. He plants His Word in my heart. The more I read it and pray on it, the more I recall it when I become challenged. Baffling situations are less intimidating, for I am confident the Lord is with me. I know the feeling of His presence.
Sitting with Him, studying what I have right here with Him, blesses me beyond words. And that’s why I come back, to use what I already have, and to more deeply appreciate the lasting, eternal value of His endless love. All glory is His forever.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
– 2 Timothy 3:16-17