Unexpected Provision…

UnexpectedProvisions...

On Saturday, I made my weekly grocery run with the kids. Unfortunately, my grocery run typically includes at least 3 different stores which takes its toll on an adult, let alone a 3 year old and a 10 month old. That being said, they really are troopers and we made it to our final store, Ingles, without too many incidents.

My oldest had been walking with me around the store instead of riding in a cart. And, like any other 3 year old, he isn’t very aware of his surroundings, so he was constantly walking in front of buggies and other shoppers. He walked in front of a woman I recognized, but I didn’t know if she remembered me, so we kept moving. When I finally had all the items I needed, we headed for the checkout lines.

I usually would do self-checkout because waiting in a line is difficult with kids, but I was redeeming a WIC voucher. These are vouchers for specific foods offered to Woman, Infants, and Children below a certain income line. If you are pregnant, nursing, (up to a year), have an infant or child under 5, you could qualify (check here for more information). So, I needed to use a regular line.

The same lady I recognized from earlier comes and stands behind us in line. She does recognize me now and we chit-chat about my kids and her new flower business as the cashier takes care of my items. (We follow one another on Instagram.) She tells me that she has just picked up her flower bouquets that didn’t sell from a local produce stand. She says, “If it would be worth your time, if you wait for me to check-out, I’ll give you some flowers to take home.”

I, personally, feel that flowers are ALWAYS worth it. As in, I would have flowers on my dining table 365 days a year. I tell her, “Absolutely! That would be great!” We share where we parked. She told me I could go ahead and start loading my kiddos up, and that she would bring the flowers to my van. She did. They were beautiful…not because they were perfect, but because they were a blessing.

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You see, earlier in our grocery shopping trip, we had been at Trader Joe’s. There is a wonderful assortment of blooms there for a decent price. I stood in front of the flowers and looked at the prices. I just wasn’t sure if there was space in the budget for them. I moved on without any. Then, at Ingles, I ran into this sweet woman.

What I didn’t think I could afford, God chose to provide. Not because I needed it, but because my heart desired it. God doesn’t have to give us the desires of our heart, but sometimes He chooses to! That is the amazing, gracious, benevolent side of the God of the Universe. The Provider. We see it in Scripture as well.

22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

Luke 12:22-31

Here we see Jesus telling his followers that just as God cares for and provides for the birds in the air and the flowers in the field, how much more does He care for His beloved children! I actually have a ring with the phrase ‘consider the lilies’ on it to help me remember this truth. (I ordered this ring here from cinnamonsticks on Etsy.)

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So if God cares enough to provide me flowers, just when my heart wanted them, how much more will He provide me with food to feed my family, clothes to cover them, and supplies to care for them.

Let this bring joy and hope to you today!

XOXO,

Elise

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The Worries of Motherhood

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As mothers, we fall into the trap of worry all too often. There are so many balls to keep in the air as moms-so many hats to wear. As I was reading in Luke this week, I ran across the account of Jesus staying behind in Jerusalem.

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.
-Luke 2:41-51

As the story unfolds, we see Mary and Joseph searching high and low to find their son, just like any parents would in this situation. Mary reveals that she and Joseph had been “searching in great distress.” Wouldn’t you have been? I know that if I left my middle school boy in a different city and drove a day away from it, then had to drive a day back, I would be a bundle of nerves and worry. That’s a lot of time to come up with ‘What ifs’ and worst case scenarios.  The only difference is that Mary KNEW Jesus was the Son of God. So wouldn’t she have KNOWN that God would protect Him…that He would be safe? Why doesn’t she lean on God as she goes about this search for the Son God entrusted to her? But of course, Mary is just like every other mother on the planet-broken and human. Isn’t that freeing? The mother of Jesus struggled with worry and fear…and she was raising GOD! If we want to compare ourselves here, we only find an ally in our struggles as a mom.

It seems as though Mary is caught up in everyday life as a mother. I know I get caught up in the laundry, tantrums, back-talk, and potty-training. Maybe she has been consumed in this moment with her responsibilities instead of seeing herself as a partner with God to bring up Jesus. This is something I want to grasp, but don’t in the hard moments of the day. When my son tests my patience, I can ask God for help, but usually I don’t. When my children are sick, I can ask God for healing and endurance, but sometimes I forget. When my kids are disrespectful and mean, I can ask God for grace upon grace, but often I yell and back-talk, too. These tiny humans are made in God’s image for His purposes-they are HIS! I tend to put all the pressure of raising up godly boys on myself, which ultimately takes away from God’s divine work and presence. He wants to come along side us as parents.

Instead of trying to do this alone, I want to rest in the beautiful truth that Jesus has redeemed my soul, as well as my parenting! Praise God!

Elise

Photo by Josh Willink from Pexels
https://www.pexels.com/photo/landscape-sky-beach-love-69104/

A Family Shaped By Grace

Have you ever spent a holiday with your family and wondered why it felt like such a chore? Do you find yourself walking on eggshells around certain family members because you aren’t sure how they might respond to you? Are there some people in your family that you avoid because being around them is too challenging?

If so, know that there is a better way, and it’s all about grace!

A Family Shaped by Grace is a new book coming out on June 6th that I have had the privilege of reading before it’s release. Gary Morland, the author, had a crumbling family. Finally, he got to the point where he wanted to do something different. His way wasn’t working. He started attending Bible study and met a man named Harold. This man would slowly, patiently love on Gary and teach him a better way to relate to and bless his family. This book is about the things he learned. They have helped him have a family shaped by grace instead of duty, anger, fear, or disappointment.

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What I love about this book is the practical ways Gary gives you to gently change how you view your family and how you relate to them. If you are at all invested in a family (which is everyone) or working with families in a professional way (teachers, pastors, counselors, social workers, etc.), this book is for you!

P.S.-Right now, the book is 40% off if you pre-order on Amazon or Barnes and Noble! Purchase your copy now if you want to get along with the people in your life who matter most!