Working with the kids at the faith-based domestic violence shelter really has opened my eyes to how much I do have that I don't really need. The same thing happened last summer when I went to Australia for two weeks to do volunteer work--I was staying in a VERY shabby hotel, with no heat or bed (and it was negative 5 degrees!), and no computer or cell phone. When I first encountered my accomodations in Australia, I didn't know how I would manage to survive the next two weeks ahead of me! After the first couple days, it turns out I adjusted quite easily, and not only did I learn to manage but I actually LOVED my lack of luxuries! Not having constant distractions around me made me notice how wonderful life's moments can be if you take the time to relax and enjoy them.
Since I've been working with these kids who have been inflicted by domestic violence, I've had that same reminder that we don't need all that much to be happy and live wonderful lives. I suppose one would expect that these children would be angry or depressed or sad, but it's actually quite the opposite! They are so happy-even when living in a shelter with their past experiences still fresh in their minds. Sure, there are days that are harder emotionally than others, but for the most part the children are so happy just when a volunteer talks to them for two minutes! I think because of their experiences they extremely appreciate any tidbits of love they can get. It gave me that same reminder of how very blessed I am that I have a nice, safe apartment with my husband and kitty cat and even though money can get pretty tight here in California, we still always have plenty of food, and we both have a car, and I'm able to go to college--we have more than enough of the essentials! Which Garrett and I are very blessed and thankful for. Having these reminders of how little one needs to be happy are so beautiful. One, it helps you save money since it makes you be more mindful of only buying things you need, and two-it makes you realize that you can make so much out of life!
Thinking about the children at the shelter really make me think of this passage from the Bible:
"Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 'Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.' So he arose and went to Zarephath, and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, 'Please get me a little water in a jar, that I may drink.' As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, 'Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.' But she said, 'As the Lord your God lives, I have no bread, only a handfull of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die.' Then Elijah said to her, 'Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel, "The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain on the face of te earth."' So she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke through Elijah."--1 Kings 17:8-16 (NASB)
Other than making me think of the appreciation of even having seemingly little, I love this passage for a few other reasons. (1) It proves that the Lord will always provide, even if it seems our resources have almost run dry, (2) If you put all your faith in God, He will give you all that you need, and (3) We can discover from this passage that all we really need is just enough. For in this passage, they didn't even need to begin with enough bread for several days to fill their need for food, they just needed enough flour and oil to make enough bread for those days. All they had was enough-and it was still a great blessing to receive that! I hope that I am always able to keep that mentality about life!
I love how His Word is always living and changing! God is so good!
"For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold to those who walk uprightly. O Lord of Hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in You!"--Psalm 84:11-12 (NASB)