By Ricinda Perry
Over the past two weeks I have been saddened to see all of the pain surrounding me. I’m talking about big problems. Yesterday I met my dear friend for brunch with our two daughters. After a great chat, we went outside – only to be greeted by a homeless lady whom we had seen on many occasions. This was kind of her hang-out. Rather than pretend we didn’t see her, or pretend that we were distracted looking for keys and holding our kids, my friend and I stopped and talked with her. Clearly she was suffering losses and pain. A few days ago I was in the check out line at a department store and was greeted by another lady who asked about my daughter. Turns out she was struggling with pain medication and a husband who took her child away from her (he has a long wrap sheet and history with uncontrolled substances). She was trying to figure out how to navigate through all of the pain and fear she was dealing with in this complicated situation. After pulling up to the take out window at a coffee shop last week, I was greeted by a lady who had tears filling her eyes. When I asked her if she was ok, she broke down and told me of the unforeseen divorce she was going through. The husband was pursuing everything aggressively and took her child from her. It had been months since she had been able to see her son despite daily attempts at just trying to catch a glimpse of him.
These are just a handful of stories that I have encountered over the past two weeks, and I know that there are so many more. It brings me to the point of this article … well two points:
Life’s demands pull and twist at our blessings every day. The phone rings with an important call when my husband is telling me about his work day. A pressing legal issue arises at work dragging me away from my family time. A guy swerved into my lane and sideswiped my car. The air conditioner broke, and now I have to find time to meet with a repairman and come up with the funds to make the repairs. My daughter fell on the floor and cut open her mouth. Do you get the picture? There are so many things pulling at us to keep us from enjoying our blessings. I am blessed to have a supportive and loving husband, a wonderful little girl, great jobs for me and my husband, financial security, terrific health, and the list goes on. Do I push aside those day-to-day distractions and enjoy what I have? Do I thank God for giving me these blessings? Do I pray for God to sustain and protect them?
The Bible tells us that Satan is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8), and that he is here to kill, still and destroy (John 10:10). What steps are you taking to protect your blessings? The first step for me was to stop and recognize what I have. The second step was to thank God for every good and perfect gift that He has given to me. (Don’t we tell our kids to thank us for all of the things we buy them and give to them?) The third step was to vocalize my appreciation to those around me who are a part of the blessing. Your family, friends, and co-workers need to hear that you appreciate them and what they do for you. I try to edify and show my daughter the blessings from her dad. Last night we thanked him for getting up every morning and going to work so that I could stay home and play with her, we could live in our beautiful home, and she could have so many great toys. While “reactive thank yous” are important, actually sharing the reason that we are thankful on occasion can be a big encouragement all around.
For example, the grocery store was packed yesterday. With daughter in tow (imagine all of the impulse purchases we were making along the way), we got to the check out lines. And I do mean lines. I said a quick prayer to God to help me pick the quickest line. Sure enough we were breezing through and up next. I actually felt sorry for the people in the line next to us. My lady was checking out two for their every one. After totaling up my purchases and paying, the clerk thanked me. Rather than a “reactive thank you,” I told the check out person that they were doing a great job of getting everyone through the line quickly and that I appreciated her help. She gave me one huge smile and called someone over to take out my groceries. Thank God for blessing me with this line and this help.
As for the second point to this article. I am still exploring ways that I can be a blessing to those hurting around me and am entertaining the idea of starting a ministry at our church. Jesus was never ashamed of those who were struggling in life. Too often I see “Christians” shy away from these people, perhaps even embarrassed to be associated with them. We need to let hurting people know that they can run to the church and will be embraced with loving arms. It is by the grace of God that I am spared their hurt and am covered by a blessing.
I have written this article believing that some of the readership and supporters of Foundation Restoration (or friends that you know) may be in need of prayer, support or encouragement. We want you to know that you are not alone. You are loved and we are here for you. Please do not hesitate to contact us.