Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pennies from Heaven

A few years ago, I remember a conversation I had with my friend as we both were on our way to work. I listened as she vented about the frustrations surrounding her responsibilities and how much time they consumed. For the past several months, she had been working upwards of 60 hours per week leaving her exhausted, frustrated, in desperate need of an assistant, and above all else in desperate need to get back to the normalcy of her morning quiet time with God. As she talked I could totally relate to every word she said. At the time, I too had allowed my morning quiet time to slip because of overwhelming circumstances. It seemed that the more hectic everything had gotten, the further away I had gotten from my quiet time with God. My morning routine hit a road block and instead of getting up early to spending precious moments with God, I hit the alarm clock and rolled over for another hour of sleep. 
During our conversation, our venting led us to the conclusion that we both felt like poor examples of women of faith to those around us. Our daily routine had gotten exhausting and we were too tired to get up early and start our day with God. As a result, our attitudes and moods changed. We saw things differently. We agreed that we needed to get back to the peace and assurance a morning quiet time brings to the day…but how? With that, we hung up the phone feeling a little better that we were able to vent and confirmed the fact that we were not alone.

Praise God for the friends he places in our lives. 

But how do you get back to where you need to be when you’re doing the best you can in what seems to be overwhelming circumstances?
That week was my son’s last week of kindergarten. Where does the time go? As part of his class’s end of the year celebration, parents were able to join their children for a pizza and ice cream party. After the party, I followed my son to his classroom to collect his belongings and take him home for the day. Just as we were leaving, his teacher handed him a sand bucket full of “goodies”. Little did I know at the time but God was going to use one of the gifts in the bucket as a gentle reminder of how valuable I am in his eyes.
On the drive home, my son sifted through the buckets' content. He pulled out a little party favor bag with a home-made tag attached. He wanted to know what the tag on the outside of the bag said. At a stop light, I began to read the tag. It was a “First Grade Survival Kit” and each gift inside had a very special meaning. What a thoughtful gift. As I read the tag to my son I didn't get past the first line. The words I read rendered me speechless so much that my eyes welled up with tears and I was instantly overcome with emotion. 

Of course this didn’t go over very well with my son. He wanted to know what it said, but I couldn’t speak. There in black and white text on orange laminated construction paper stood the gentle reminder "I am special to God." 

"No my matter what the circumstance… I mattered.” God had sent his Son to die for me because he loved me so very, very much (John 3:16). Why couldn’t I have remembered this simple truth in the midst of my overwhelming circumstances?
I quickly thought back to the conversation I had with my friend a few hours earlier. We had made the mistake of taking our eyes off of Christ. That was our problem. We allowed current circumstances to shift our focus. We were trying to carry burdens we were never intended to carry (Matthew 11:30). Flooded by emotion, I reached for my cell phone to call my friend. As the phone rang I thought “this is a bad idea – she’s at work and can’t handle this right now. I’ll share later.” I ended the call.
“M-O-MMMM!” a concerned voice from the backseat “why are you crying and what’s wrong with your friend? Why did the card make you cry?” I had to smile at his words. The card had not made me cry, it was the gentle reminder of the words and how far away I had gotten from the truth of them. I told him that the card reminded me of a very important truth. 
“Can you read what the card says now please Mommy?” another plea from the backseat. “Gladly” I responded and began reading the first line of text.
penny to remind you that you are valuable. You were bought with a price!
Moving forward, I will forever look at pennies in an entirely different way. What was intended to be a reminder for my son is now a reminder for me. I am continually amazed by God and the way he reaches out and remind us of his great love.
Father  -
Thank you so much for the unique way you choose to reach out to us. I stand in awe of you and your unconditional, unending love for us. Help us not to forget or take for granted your great love and what Jesus sacrificed so we could be free. Help us to remember to lay our burdens down and look to you to give us rest.

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