My family is going shopping today. We’re going to dress up, brush our hair, secure bows in the little girls hair, pile into our old but decent van and head out for groceries. We’re heading first for Costco and, after that, the bread store; where else we make it to will depend on how long we take in those two places.
For days now my two little girls have helped mommy pick out menus and plan the grocery list. Tia and Nadia, ages 11 and 7 respectively, have dreams of dainty deserts and helping out in the kitchen. The little boys, Nicholas and Jack, ages 8 and 4, have added their desire for special treats: cherry sours, gummy worms, and the like; Jack, the youngest, has asked for something we hardly ever purchase: chocolate pudding cups just for him. He is going to get them (but not at Costco!). The big boys (actually young men), ages 13, 17 and 21, have all asked for things manly guys like: meat and cheese. I dream of avocados and salads and my dear hubby seconds the desire for the manly things.
We have nine people at home: mommy and daddy and seven children. It takes a lot of prayer for me to plan menus, purchase food wisely and then cook for so many. Prayer because I usually don’t feel all that good: I have on-going physical problems that wear me out easily. Prayer because I cook mainly from scratch and I am also a wife and a mommy; plus I write, I teach my children, keep a home, study, and so on; my time is at a premium. Prayer because we are blessed to be able to purchase delightful things to eat and I want to use them well. There was a time a few years ago when we had very few resources for a period of several months and our menus consisted of mostly starchy foods: biscuits and gravy and potato soup made the rounds far too frequently…we grew tired of seeing them but, even then, we knew that we were blessed to have them. We didn’t go to bed hungry.
God is gracious and good and He blesses His children with many wonderful things. His most important gift is that of Himself. Knowing Him is eternal life and it begins here. Many of His gifts are not tangible: they are gifts of grace and mercy, gifts of sunshine and showers, gifts of children’s hugs and a baby’s giggles; these can’t be touched but are far more wonderful than anything that can be purchased. He does grant His children tangible gifts: some more, some less but, always, they are just right. Sometimes our need is to struggle and not be able to pay our rent or put food on the table without Him. Sometimes, He blesses us with enough. I’ve been in both places and right now live somewhere between the two for, though we have enough today, my husband is still unemployed and the future is unknown.
But, as I said, for today, we have enough. Today we have a roof over our head and our rent is paid for this month–and we know we can pay it next month. Today we have the privilege of teaching our children many good and wonderful things. Today we are blessed to have a shopping day and, by the grace and mercy of our bountiful Lord, we are going to enjoy it. And, when it is over, we are going to head home and have a time of rejoicing and celebration for tonight is our “family night”–a once a week celebration (always on Friday) during which one of the children chooses out two good, and frequently old, movies and picks out the menu. Tonight it is my oldest son’s family night and he is looking forward to it. He and I will cook up some burgers for the family and then we will all feast on banana splits (and, if it looks like we will get home early enough, I will teach my girls how to make chocolate, caramel and strawberry toppings and our whipped topping will be real).
Tonight we will come together, the dad, the mom, the children ages 4 to 21, to enjoy one another’s company, to enjoy the bounty that God has provided, to enjoy the burgers “made from scratch” and the wonderful gift of banana splits (a rare treat due to a tight budget).
And, while we are enjoying our wonderful blessings, we will remember to thank our precious Lord for the glorious gift of family, of food, and, of a wonderful time of togetherness that He so graciously granted us in the gift of a shopping day.
Until next time may you and yours be blessed with time together and shared knowledge of our Lord!
Soli Deo gloria!