Connie writes: "I grew up in a Catholic home, and became a Christian soon after I met my husband, Mark. I've been a Christian for the last 24 years. Yours mine and ours, Mark and I have 7 kids, all of them grown, 2 still at home. I started writing when I was pregnant with my youngest son, Michael who is now 18 years-old. I love God, my family and writing in that order."
Every year, I looked forward to summer. The weather was warm, school was out, and my Mom, Dad, little brother and I took a trip each August to my dad’s family’s farm in Iowa.
Marcia, my cousin, was my age. We got along during our visits just like we had been together all year, instead of just two weeks out of the year. We played with her new kittens, we dressed up and sang along with our tennis racket guitars and we sat in her cherry tree eating cherries all day.
One of our days in Iowa, all of the parents, Marcia, and I went to see my grandmother. While the parents were in, visiting with grandma, Marcia and I went next door to the house of a little girl that Marcia knew. While playing outside, the little girl brought out armful after armful of Barbie dolls and accessories. This little girl had so many dolls, clothes, shoes and purses, I was amazed. Everything Barbie just kept coming out of her house into our waiting hands.
I can remember the feeling that I had that day and it wasn’t good. I wanted this little girl's Barbie stuff and in my heart, I burned with desire for these colorful little plastic and material things. I had my own dolls at home but nothing like this collection of amazing stuff.
“I could slip a few pair of shoes or a purse into my pocket, she would never miss them,” I thought. That wasn’t a good feeling; it was a feeling of greed and want. It was actually painful, like what I had was not good enough and maybe this plastic pair of pumps might make me feel better about myself, or would it?
At times my life has been a real struggle, especially the last year. Money has gotten tighter and tighter, and sometimes I have felt that same burning desire that I felt that day when I was a kid, holding all of those dolls in my hands. Looking at others possessions made me feel like, “If I just had…, I would feel so much better!”
Then one day my son said something so simple but it changed my outlook, and made me count my blessings, instead of compare.
I had just apologized to my 19 year-old son, Elijah, for not being able to provide as much as other parents provide for their kids, and what he said shocked me into reality. He said, “Mom, we have food, clothes, a place to live, a lot of people don’t have as much as us, and God has never let us go hungry.”
I thought about it and he was right. My focus had been on what we didn’t have instead of how much we do have. Jesus even said, “The worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desire for other things, come in and choke the word making it unfruitful.”
And in Galatians 5:16, it says, “So I say live by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law."
So now what I understand is that I had been led by my sinful nature. It was that nature that wanted those doll shoes, and what I needed to do is; pray and let the Holy Spirit lead me. Then I will be fruitful and I will have joy and peace and the other fruits and it won’t matter what I own on the outside, happiness will come from within me. That is lasting happiness as compared to the small amount of happiness I might have had by slipping that red pair of heals into my pocket, that day in Iowa, with my cousin, Marcia.
(© 2014 Connie K. Cameron – All rights reserved. Written material may not be duplicated without permission.)