I’ve been shopping for clothes for my six-year-old daughter to wear to school this winter, and I am so frustrated! The “skinny jeans” and low-rise fad has made it impossible to find something that fits and will cover her behind.
(This is how these jeans are supposed to fit, with half her backside showing.)
(What are we teaching our daughters? All of our children?)
And in my frustration in shopping for her, I find myself remembering being a young girl whose body type didn’t fit the fads all my friends were wearing, and I am angry. I’m angry at fashion. I’m angry that my daughter, at 6 has to question her body shape, and struggle to find clothes that fit. I’m angry that we put so much pressure on our very little girls to be something that they are not.
At the same time, I have a good friend from my childhood who is very sick. She has a rare cancer that is growing ridicules tumors. Just when she started growing her hair back, now she will lose it again due to new, more intense chemotherapy. She is married and has two young children. All of us who know her are trying to pray her through it, but right now, things look grim.
I have another friend who is questioning her purpose in life. Her calling is not being fulfilled and she is not finding any new prospects and she is wondering what God wants with her and for her. She is very scared she will lose her job, which her family needs, and there is nothing else in the area she lives.
Sometimes I wonder where in the world God is, and why some times in life are so hard. I get overwhelmed by what I can’t control and I forget how to surrender to God for what I need. I forget to ask for help. I forget all the things I believe, because the world is that cunning. The world is that convincing. The faster the world moves the easier it is to believe what the world tells us about everything from fashion to cancer to survival. The world would have us believe that there is not enough; not enough options for little girls to feel good about themselves, so I should give up and give in and let her wear leggings as pants or jeans that show her whole bottom when she sits down (SHE’S 6!); not enough medicine, not enough bone marrow donors, not enough miracles, not enough prayer to slow or cure cancer; not enough money to maintain a family, not enough jobs to fulfill a calling from God, not enough opportunities to fulfill God’s call. The world is good at making the faithful feel like we should be afraid because there is not enough…but God has a different answer.
Faith and experience tell me that when I am faithful, God is abundantly faithful. Actually I got that order wrong. Faith and experience tell me that God is faithful before I am faithful. John 8:12 says, “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’” 1 John 4:7-8 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” Jesus performs miracles including turning water to wine at a party that ran out of booze. When I am at the end of my rope, I have to find the places of blessing, I have to remember where I see God’s love, because the world would have us walking in a darkness of fear called scarcity, but God sheds an abounding light of love that endures and overwhelms the darkness.
You see, fashion fads cannot tell my daughter what she is worth, because she belongs to God and God has determined that she is filled with the light of life. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt to be left out or laughed at, but it does mean that the love that surrounds her is the very being of God.
And you see, cancer cannot take away the life and love that already is. Cancer may or may not take quality or quantity of life from my friend, but cancer cannot ever take the love that has lived and continues to live through her right now, that is, the essence of God that flows through her and pulses around her and her family. I’m not being unrealistic, in fact as a person of faith, I am being most realistic, God has the power to heal my friend, and God will use that power as God sees appropriate, until that time, we faithful will pray and live out the God we know through the love we share.
And you see, lack of opportunities right now, does not mean lack of opportunities in God’s time. Panic is the world’s way. Anxiety is what the world wants us to feel because there is not enough. Faith says, trust God. The world will tell you that you are foolish, but the faithful know, we must trust God to get us through the hardest times. And especially when I have been faithful in hard times, in scary times when it seemed like enough was going to run out, those have been the times that the lamp stayed lit for eight nights (Hanukah reference); those have been the times the water turned to wine; those have been the times God gave me just what I needed to get through. And God will be faithful to my friend who is struggling with call and fulfillment too.
It takes an act of stewardship to be faithful in our living believing that there is and will be enough and enough to share. Let us spend this New Year building our covenant relationships into faithful living of God’s abundant blessings. Let us continue to create a culture of gratitude and generosity in every aspect of our lives.
Faithfully and in good stewardship of love towards you,