Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving: Provision

I never realized how emotionally attached I was to things like jackets and shoes until I began giving them away.

The diligent work at clearing out the stuff in our closet{s} since my epiphany has been just as hard as clearing out the junk in my heart that's tangled up with the stuff that's piled in our closets.

In addressing the root of this stuff problem -- my lack of trust that God will provide -- I've felt so exposed.

But in my weakness, I've seen His strength.

And in my obedience of letting go of the abundance by trusting He will meet whatever need we might have in the future, I've heard His voice.

Clear as day.

Streaming through the radio.

Through the wise council of a man whose name I'll probably never figure out.

Don't just count your everyday blessings, he'd said. Count the ways God has provided for you in the small ways we often call luck.

Look for God's provision.

****

On the first day of my purging mission while cleaning out a small keepsake box in our bedroom, I found a handwritten card from John's parents, given to me only a few months after his mom and dad met me for first time.

"We've been praying for you since before John was born," it said. "Always remember God is faithful."

I tossed most of the contents as part of my organizing and purging mission, but I couldn't let that card go.

I tucked the note in between a few favorite books, hidden in the safe confines of my nightstand.

****

I always thank Him for the obvious.

Food, clean water, house, health -- all the things that make up a really good prayer of Thanksgiving, all the things I know I'm blessed to have.

But I knew in order to really get this trust thing going, I needed to see His provision in other ways.

So I went looking.

I saw His provision that very day when Stephanie from Adventures in Babywearing emailed me saying I'd won her giveaway to Tiny Prints for my choice of Christmas cards.

I recognized it when I escaped to the coffee shop the very next day to finish some work without the screeches of children in my ear when the barista asked {as I waited in a line seven people deep} if anyone wanted a free drink. And it was the very drink I was planning to order.

And I recognized it the form of an invitation to write about things I know in exchange for actual payment. {A writer's dream come true!}

All of this within the same week.

All of this when I started looking.

****

I was reading in Joshua when I came across an old story I'd read before but never really heard.

"Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. And Joshua said to them, "Pass on before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, 'What do those stones mean to you?' then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever." Joshua 4: 4-7


****

Just how many, I wondered last night, provisions God has made in my life -- the small, the medium, the large -- that I've not recognized or remembered.

****

G. and I have been searching for the perfect rocks.

I wanted to recreate the Joshua scene in a new way within our home by starting a new Thanksgiving tradition where we write a few things for which we're thankful on each rock, then carry those rocks around with us for an entire year as a remembrance of our blessings, of His perfect provisions.

We haven't found many that could hold more than a few words.

Perhaps we'll scrap the rock idea, I told him this morning. Maybe we'll use pieces of paper instead.

My mind raced immediately to the note from John's parents I'd tucked away last week.

I lingered on the thought.

A 22-year-in-the-making prayer, answered in the most unlikely of ways, with the most unlikely, imperfect person -- me.

But documented on a little note in my nightstand so that I might remember His provision.

My small stone of remembrance at the foot of the river, passed down from a generation that saw His provision and knew the value of keeping it fresh in my mind so that I might know Him more, trust Him more.

6 comments:

  1. Our pastor preached on those same verses from Joshua a few years ago; what a wonderful thing to be reminded of tonight!

    I've been thinking a lot about gratitude and thanksgiving as well, of looking beyond the typical things I say thanks to God for to the more obscure ways He reveals Himself in my life.

    P.S. Also, your in-laws are awesome! I don't do it as consistently as I should, but I'm a big believer in praying for the future spouses of my children.

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  2. You realize that reading this gave me goosebumps, right? I lvoe this post - and I need to do that purge, too. I'm finally there mentally, I think... I just need to really do it. And make time for it, of course.

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  3. I just had a revelation. It's about my mother, but also about me and why I am the way I am. Thank you!

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  4. Have I told you how thankful I am that I found your blog? This post was such a great reminder for me today to be grateful for all of God's provisions in my life. Even the ones that seem insignificant. You are a beautiful writer.

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  5. I often overlook small gifts from God, too.

    This post is fitting. It isn't a list of what you are thankful for. It blank check made out to your readers for them to decide what small thing they are thankful for.

    Also, the story about the note. Well that touched me. What a wonderful thing to pray for.

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  6. It's amazing how God uses Freecycle to meet my needs (and hopefully meet the needs of others). Just what I need shows up on Freecycle and frequently, I'm the one the giver chooses. It confirms that it's OK to give away the things in my house that I'm not using. God will provide when I need.

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There's nothing better than good conversation ... but not while talking to myself. Will you play a part in this discussion?

AND will you pretty please have your email linked to your account or leave it for me so I can respond?

Thanks for taking the time to make these thoughts into conversation.

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