Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving and Contentment


I have always struggled with worry about what other people think of me.  Perhaps it comes from a childhood filled with teasing and bullying.  Perhaps it results from knowing in my head that I’m a child of God, but not feeling it in my heart.  Either  way, I’m sick of it.   Sick of not feeling worthy.  Sick of feeling less valuable than everyone else.  Sick of worrying about how to instill self esteem into my girls when I don’t have it myself.  Those feelings of inadequacy color my entire world.  Of course I’ve prayed for God to help me get over this.  So far, nothing doing.  I know “no” is an answer, so I know even my feelings of misery will have usefulness at some point.  At least that’s what I tell myself.

Recently a dear friend had surgery.  As I delivered a meal to her family one evening, the spirit of discontent overtook me.  She lives in a neighborhood that my family could never even dream of affording.  My family lives in an older part of town, in a simple home – one that needs many repairs and improvements.  Somehow I connect the size/appearance/location of my home with my worthiness.  I believe Satan uses those feelings to prevent me from  playing hostess to friends/family – I can’t remember the last time we had anyone over, and my girls have never had friends sleep over.  I’m just too embarrassed.  I know it’s not rational, but…those feelings of inadequacy rear their ugly head again.

I began to pray q familiar prayer as I drove out of my friend’s neighborhood – Lord, please make me content with what I have and not embarrassed to be a hostess and share.

(But with a postscript – “but please, Lord, help us find a way to re-do our kitchen – we really need a new one – I don’t want to be embarrassed anymore”.)

Sometimes answers to prayer come in unexpected ways.

Recently our church had a Reach 360 campaign.  Church leadership chose three of our mission churches within a 360 degree radius of our church.  Church members donated bags of food, and members were asked to volunteer to deliver them to residents surrounding the three mission churches on a Saturday morning.  I seek  opportunities to expose the girls to missions activities and evangelism in action – so we signed up.

The appointed Saturday dawned chilly yet beautiful.  We drove toward our appointed mission church to join the other volunteers.  We exited the freeway, and the further we drove the poorer and more neglected the neighborhoods became.  Once at the church, we determined teams and logistics and areas, and off we went. 

Reach 360

Our assigned street had small rental homes, boards covering windows that were obviously broken.  Our team approached several houses and knocked, without getting an answer. 

The girls were happy to be there.

delivering bags

Eventually I spoke with an older gentleman, who was taking care of his 5 children along with his sister and her two children.  Several windows in his home were boarded up, and the front door had no doorknob.    We blessed him with a bag of food and blankets, asked for his prayer requests, and walked away.

As we walked down the sidewalk, on the outside it appeared I was continuing with my team to the next house.  On the inside, I was listening to God speak to me.

Do you see, Becky?  You prayed for contentment – do you see how blessed you are? Do you see that if these people drove through your neighborhood they might think the same as you did when you drove through your friend’s neighborhood?

Yes, Lord.  I am blessed.  Thank You for reminding me.

Do you see how grateful they are just for a simple bag of food?  You have a full pantry and a full freezer.

Yes,  Lord.  I am blessed.  Thank You for reminding me.

While your home may need repairs, it is a home with solid doors and windows and a secure roof.  It protects you and your loved ones.

Yes,  Lord.  I am blessed.   Thank You for reminding me.

Your family is happy and healthy.  Your home is filled with love, both for each  other and for Me.

Yes, Lord.  I am blessed. Thank You for reminding me.

You are blessed.  Remember that, and share it.  Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Yes, Lord.  I am blessed.  Thank you for reminding me.

Fast forward to today.  Thanksgiving.  God’s reminders fresh in my mind,  I prepared Thanksgiving dinner for my sweet family.  The oven that needs a little longer to bake than what the recipe calls for didn’t annoy me quite as much.   The large burner on my cooktop that doesn’t work was only slightly annoying.

This evening my sweet family sat down in our not-so-beautiful kitchen – the one that needs new countertops and new appliances – and celebrated Thanksgiving with our version of a feast.


The papers on the plates are homemade place cards that the girls made to make our table fancy.

My sweet Hannah said the blessing as we all sat around our little table and held hands.

Yes, Lord.  I am blessed.  Thank you for reminding me.


  1. Over the years I have struggled with the same thoughts and it always amazes me when God shows me how good we have it. Society teaches us to want more and more "stuff" and we fall for it. I am glad you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  2. Thank you for sharing this! It's always better to count our blessings than to compare ours with others. ;-)

  3. I read this last night in my google reader and today clicked through from the comment thread!

    Great thoughts and so true. Our house must be like yours and I struggle sometimes too.

    And then I read in Compassion magazine about families who LIVE in the garbage dumps. Ummm, I have nothing to grumble about AT ALL. They would feel like they were in a multi million dollar mansion to live in my house that I look at with discontented eyes.
    Lizzie TOS crew

  4. Yes, blessed indeed. Our eyes open to so much more when we reach out and share God's love. How wonderful that your girls joined you for that.