I vividly remember the day on my front porch as I was thinking, “What will people think?” It was a small thing that produced an internal conversation in my mind with God, but it changed the entire way I looked at life from that moment on. We all have an atmosphere we grew up in. The atmosphere in my home wasn’t terrible, it was just always about presenting an image. “What will people think” was basically all that mattered.
“The atmosphere we grow up in is our normal, no matter how abnormal it is.”
I didn’t realize I thought that way. It was my normal. The atmosphere we grow up in is our normal, no matter how abnormal it is. When we become adults, we often reproduce whatever our normal is. If we grew up in chaos, we bring chaos into most everything we do. I we grew up in drama, we bring drama into most everything we do. I we grew up in peace, we bring peace into most everything we do. All of us are an atmosphere.
“All of us are an atmosphere.”
That day on my porch I had received a phone call. It was a local Mexican restaurant and they wanted to speak to my husband about his job application. I called him and asked him about it. He already had a full-time job and he wanted to make some extra money to make ends meet. I was furious. First of all, he didn’t tell me (I wonder why?). Secondly, (and the main reason) was “What will people think?”
It was my knee-jerk reaction and always my biggest fear. I feared people would think we were poor. As I stood there feeling helpless and hopeless, I felt God gently say in my mind, “You are poor. It’s the truth. Why do you fear people knowing?”
“I also felt God gently start to teach me how to look at this situation as it really was; out of my control but completely in His sovereign will.”
I had never thought about it that way. I also felt God gently start to teach me how to look at this situation as it really was; out of my control but completely in His sovereign will. Our lives as God’s children are not usually huge moments. He teaches and disciplines us through the mundane everyday stuff if we will only open up our hearts and minds to Him every second of the day.
I felt God open my mind to understand that I shouldn’t be ashamed that we had very little money. Jesus’ family was poor. These scriptures would never have meant to me what they did had I not gone through this very difficult time.
And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”
That may not seem like an important scripture to most people but it was a treasure of hope to me. I was surrendered to God and His will for my life as wholeheartedly as I knew how to be; I was teaching God’s Word to people; yet I was struggling to buy groceries. I felt so tired and defeated. In the middle of my misery, God let me know that His own beloved Son was born into a home of poverty. When Mary walked into the temple with the Lamb of God in her arms, she couldn’t afford a lamb as a sacrifice for Him. She had to offer the sacrifice of a poor person.
“When Mary walked into the temple with the Lamb of God in her arms, she couldn’t afford a lamb as a sacrifice for Him.”
“If a woman cannot afford to bring a lamb, she must bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons. One will be for the burnt offering and the other for the purification offering. The priest will sacrifice them to purify her, and she will be ceremonially clean.”
She carried the most important baby ever born on the planet, yet God let her be poor. She had very little earthly speaking, yet she held in her arms the King of heaven and the Lamb of God.
“Through that scripture, God showed me I was rich, no matter how poor I was.”
Through that scripture, God showed me I was rich, no matter how poor I was. I held the greatest treasure in the universe not in my arms, but inside my soul.
“God let me know He wanted to set me free from my prison of “What will people think” and put me in the mindset of “I belong to the limitless and sovereign God of the universe.””
God let me know He wanted to set me free from my prison of “What will people think” and put me in the mindset of “I belong to the limitless and sovereign God of the universe.” God wants each of us, in the circumstance we are in at this very moment, to look to Him and say, “You have a plan and You are not caught off guard. Speak to me and give me ears to hear what you are trying to say.”
What I heard on my porch was, “Be thankful for a man who is willing to work seven days a week so you can stay home and raise your children. Since he is gone most of the time, gather up your neighbors and teach them my Word.” God set me free to embrace my humble lifestyle and learn how to be totally content with very little. I did what God asked and soon had a house full of women hungry for God. Through poverty, my children saw their Father in heaven provide for us in ways that have made them who they are today. God gave me daily bread literally and figuratively. Little by little, we all became amazed at the unseen Hand guiding and providing for us. Never be upset or ashamed of physical needs you may have as a child of God. How will we know He can provide for needs if we never have any?
As I learned how to walk in true joy, my children learned how to appreciate God’s gifts everyday; a beautiful sky, a hike in the woods, a good book, and just being together.
“God only asks us to trust Him for the day in front of us. To think of having enough faith to last for years was exhausting.”
Life became a journey of learning how to trust God…one day at a time. I learned to be grateful for morning and evening. God only asks us to trust Him for the day in front of us. To think of having enough faith to last for years was exhausting. But I knew I could make it from sunup to sundown. Jesus said, “Give us THIS DAY our daily bread,” not this month or this year, but this day. He’s so smart. We can’t psychologically handle more than that and we weren’t meant to.
Jesus said, ““Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
We have to become unpretentious and uncomplicated like little children if we are ever going to follow God. He won’t have it any other way. Pretense makes us the opposite of God. There is nothing false in Him and He wants nothing false in us (Lord help us all).
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
Hypocrite – a person who professes beliefs and opinions that he or she does not hold in order to conceal his or her real feelings or motives.
“I look to Him and say, “Dear God, please get the hypocrite out of me.”
When I see Jesus use that word in scripture, it takes my breath away. I look to Him and say, “Dear God, please get the hypocrite out of me. That hag still wants to take over. Let me see her for who she is and willingly let you expose her to me and everyone else if that’s what it takes.”
“We don’t have the ability to see the masks we wear.”
We don’t have the ability to see the masks we wear. If we belong to God, He will put us in the circumstances needed (beyond our control) to force us to get to the root of our own personal mask. What is yours? Mine was image. To a degree, I think it is the human condition.
“We are all trying to uphold an image when God is trying to do the ultimate with our lives; conform us to the image of His Son.”
We are all trying to uphold an image when God is trying to do the ultimate with our lives; conform us to the image of His Son.
When we remove the mask, we can look into His face. As we do, something magical and mysterious starts to happen.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18