Don’t give advice, unsolicited. I know. But, as I reflect this week on things to be grateful for, this is the number one thing that keeps popping into my head.
Be grateful now for who God created you to be
That’s the advice I would give my daughter, nieces and younger women of today, if they asked me. As I consider the stage of life I’m in right now, I want to roll around on the floor like a puppy or purrrr like a kitten. I’m thrilled to just sit in a place of gratitude that I’ve made it through the landmines of unnecessary worry, the missing floorboards of insecurity, the blurred vision of other’s perception and the outdated notion that somehow I might not be fashionable enough for the day. Don’t get me wrong. Retirement has it’s challenges, but overall, for now, today, I’m so very thankful for who God as Creator, made me to be.
Consider the lilies of the field. (Matt. 25:28)
Have you ever looked at a flower in your garden and thought, “Those colors really don’t go together. What was this little bloom thinking when she got dressed this morning?” Or have you whispered to a friend while considering the lily, “She obviously doesn’t have a mirror or a friend on this planet!” No? Why not? Well, of course it’s because she’s a natural beauty.
You are a natural beauty!
Does a lily ever look in a mirror? She has no need to look in a mirror. She is the reflection of God’s very nature. All of creation reflects His beauty. Consider her again. You never see her long, tender leaves folded over themselves – twisting in worry. Her bending in the breeze isn’t a result of stress over whether rain will fall or the sun will warm her petals today. She doesn’t care what color she is or what color the blooms are around her.
The lily is content with her caretaker. She trusts Him. Her roots are secure and if they turn a little gray, who cares!? Her face turns naturally toward the sun and she grows and matures in her own soil. She blooms where she is planted as they say.
This is only a test
My adult daughter nor my nieces have given me reason to write this. I know they are rooted in proper soil. I know to whom they turn their face in troubled and peaceful times, and I am so very grateful for that. No. I offer this advice because of my own struggles in my 20’s and 30’s. I didn’t blossom into a secure lily of His field until I was about 50. Perhaps that’s just the way my life was suppose to be – lessons I needed to learn and such.
As I was writing this, the greatest thing happened. I’m on my back porch and suddenly over a loud speaker I heard the words, “Attention! This is a test of the emergency warning system. This is only a test!” Then the siren went off for about 30 seconds and stopped. Again over the speaker, “Attention! This has been a test of the emergency warning system. This is only a test!”
Isn’t that what life is anyway? A test. All my worries, insecurities, desire to please others, stress, trials and tribulations are but a test. And all lessons learned are learned best by trial and error. So, now I think I’ll just add one more thing. Listen to the warnings! They are meant to protect you. Watch your step as you head into the storm shelter, being careful to know from where your help comes! Don’t trip over the lies of the world. Trust in the ONE who created you.
He made you for such a time as this. He designed your personality, your style, your interests. He fashioned you to be an influencer within HIS world. Not the world.
So, as we head into Thanksgiving 2022, I am grateful to Him for making me who I am. Not in a proud, look how great I am kind of way, but, in a thank You for teaching me, kind of way. I’m grateful for the early Bible stories I was taught as a child. I only wish I had dissected the verse about the lilies a bit earlier. 😉 I’m thankful for the work ethic I learned while washing utility trucks on Saturday with my daddy. I appreciate the advice of a literature professor at Jefferson State Jr. College who suggested I consider a career in writing. The coffee money I’ve earned from this craft I love, could have been my downfall. But, I’ve learned that one or two comments from a friend or family member makes my writing priceless. My Mona Lisa. The “leaves” of my life.
Words can be gold or they can be poison. The word GRATITUDE is golden, but somehow doesn’t begin to describe the joy I experienced as a “work-from-home-mom.” I didn’t stay. Raising a family is busy work. Praying is hard work. Trusting is the hardest. But, somehow, 007 and I decided when my oldest was only 2 months old that my “job” would be caring for, teaching, loving, nursing and taxi-ing our children to and from wherever. That was our decision and we were fortunate to be able to make it happen.
I’m grateful for Larry Burkett, (Crown Financial Ministries) God rest his soul, who taught me how to budget. Yes, I was an envelope-toting-mom and when an envelope was empty, we did without. Cash was king! No credit card debt which meant we learned to sacrifice. Those sacrifices taught me appreciation in a way that debt never would or could.
Grateful for family
This year, I’ll have all my family together. The California son will be here with my daughter-in-love and my Birminghamians will sleep under my roof as well. I look at the 4 of them and I see love, faith, loyalty, and yes, beauty. I praise God that they make each other happy.
They are all beautiful. But, it’s not only skin deep. Today I’m so grateful for who God made each them and who He made me. It is through His work in us that gives us pause to count our blessings. I pray He continues His work in all of us.
So, ladies, what gratitude advice would you give your adult children for their future?