13 In family

What Matters Most

Over the last couple of years (notice I said years and not days, weeks or months), conversations like these have been all too familiar in our home:
Mommy, can we go to a movie today?  No, sweetie, I don’t have the extra money.
Hey mom, can you buy me that neat flannel?  It’s on sale.  No hun, I have bills to pay.
Mom, can we buy some ice cream bars?  No sweetie, I can only buy what’s on my list.
These conversations continue on almost a daily basis.  As a mother, it’s not just my desire to provide what my children need, but I long to be able to give them the things they want from time to time.  Over the last couple of years, we’ve struggled financially to keep our heads above water.  God has been so good to provide my husband with work, after being laid off for a year, and we never lack in having the things that matter most — love, food, clothing, shelter.  I have grown so much in my faith during this season of my life.  But although I am learning and grasping the importance of the things that truly matter, I am not sure my children, at least the younger ones, have caught on just yet.
My heart aches when I have to hear myself say “no” over and over again to the smallest and even most inexpensive things.  Today was an especially hard day. I took my youngest daughter shopping with me and had to hear myself deny her wants a few times.  And then I started to look around and see that the stores were beginning to put out their Christmas merchandise and I could feel near panic setting in.  I caught myself beginning to feel a little hopeless and depressed.  I had to pull it together though.  I refused to have a melt down in the middle of the mall in front of my ten year old daughter!

When I got home, I had to begin to reflect again on the goodness of God.  I had to purpose in my heart to fix my gaze on Him, focusing once again on what matters most.  Today was an opportunity to teach my daughter that although she has wants, they are not necessarily needs at this time.  And for those things she is in need of, God will take of those things.  We do not have to worry about what we will eat, drink or wear, for the same God who feeds the sparrow will feed and clothe us.

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
 28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matt. 25:26-33 NLT)

Even though today was a hard day I know what matters most.

I may not be able to afford the movie theater.
But we can enjoy a movie we own, snuggling together on the couch,
sharing popcorn and making memories.
I may not be able to afford the latest fashion.
But I am very resourceful.  eBay and Craigs List are two
of my best friends.  We don’t mind hammy downs.
I may not be able to buy a lot of the “extras” at the grocery store.
But our stomachs are always full.

Our God is rich beyond measure and desires to lavish good gifts on His children.  That includes me and my family.  And even though I’ve been labeled as the “mom who always says no”, we serve a God who loves to say “YES”!  I pray that my children would understand how rich they are.  I may not be able to take them to the Magic Kingdom for vacation.  But I can show them how to secure their place in the Kingdom of God and teach them to set their affections on things above and not so much on material possessions.

I am so thankful that God is using this season of my life to help me to understand the importance of the things that matter most.  All of the other things I leave in His very capable hands. 

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Beth in NC
    November 7, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Barbie, what an open and honest post my friend.

    You are right about what matters most.

    As I was growing up, I didn't get everything I wanted and I didn't know any different. I didn't have Levi jeans until my SISTER was old enough to buy me a pair. I didn't have Bass sandals (do you remember how popular they were?) when everyone else did …

    Praise God you are leaving your children a godly heritage. What better treasure? Ok, you've got a blog post stirring in my heart.

    Love & hugs,
    Beth

  • Reply
    Paula
    November 7, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Wow…very deep post and so rich in God's truths. It is so obvious you have grown in this season of your life and continue to do so. Still, I know it's very hard. As a wife of an unemployed husband (times 6 months now), I can so relate. I like you, am thankful for this season in our lives. One lesson I've learned is that when my Husband does find work, I will continue to live a frugal lifestyle…first to save in case we experience another season like this one, and secondly, to bless others who are less fortunate than we are. Much love to you sweet sister. ((Hugs))

  • Reply
    Mary
    November 7, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    It's not a bad thing for kids to know the meaning of the word "no". There are way too many kids out there who don't have that in their vocabulary. And, it will teach them to be frugal.

  • Reply
    Lisa Grace
    November 7, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I'm so glad I was pointed toward your blog; it was a reminder to me of God's provision and my needed stewardship as a parent. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Thena
    November 7, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    It is so hard having to try and explain to children.
    You mentioned ebay and craigslist, have you heard of freecycle? Sometimes people put really good stuff on it and the good thing is it's free.
    Oh and you mentioned movies, I've gotten where we use Netflex or Redbox.
    Netflex is 10.00 a month unlimited movies. Either watch them through a wii or playstation, or you can request them to be sent to your home. Return envelope included, so you don't pay postage to send it back.
    Redbox is $1.00 a night.

  • Reply
    Jenny
    November 7, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    I love your attitude. We talked about this in Sunday school this morning.
    Philippians 4:19
    "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."

  • Reply
    Diana
    November 7, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    I can relate to your trials. God is good and provides our needs. I also have been finding more resourceful ways. And I LOVE that phrase "hammy" downs! lol I'll use it.

  • Reply
    Venessa
    November 8, 2010 at 12:04 am

    Thank you for sharing this post! I think we all get caught up in the wants instead of the needs. And you are so right, the stuff is not what matters most. Very beautifully written!

  • Reply
    Miki
    November 8, 2010 at 12:15 am

    I can so feel your heart in this post, and mine aches with you. On one hand, what really matters becomes so clear, yet to be able to enjoy those extras… You have a beautiful heart, one that honors God. It's what your children will remember long after the temporal desires/thrills of today have passed by, and it's a blessing beyond anything that can be purchased. MIKI

  • Reply
    Traci
    November 8, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Hammy downs….cute.
    Even though it is hard to tell our kids no, I think it is teaching them invaluable lessons that they will draw on their whole lives. I remind my kids that they have everything they need and most things that they want, we are very blessed!
    I bet you will have a wonderful Christmas, minus much consumerism. Bless you, Barbie!
    Love, Traci

  • Reply
    Lea
    November 8, 2010 at 2:35 am

    Barbie, you are definitely using this season of your lives to teach some valuable lessons to your children. I'm sure they will be all the better because of it. At the same time, I know it must be very hard at times and I pray the Lord will encourage you and lighten your burden each day. Hugs!

  • Reply
    Mom to 9 Blessings!
    November 8, 2010 at 11:55 am

    AMEN Barbie! Keep remembering the things that matter most – we are leaving a Kingdom legacy behind for our children. Not a kingdom.

    Daily I pray for our children to want less and to understand that God has already given them everything they will ever need through the blood of their Savior!

    Blessings and grace,
    Jill

  • Reply
    DORCAS
    November 10, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Barbie,

    This was so needed right now for me! Thank you so much for sharing! And those verses were perfect. I have this verse on my entrance of the house ( matthew 25:33) but sometimes I pass it by not giving it a glance. Thanks for the reminder that he does give us everything we need. In every aspect!
    ~blessings to you my dear friend

    ~Dorcas

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