The bestie and I are on a trip. We slipped to the gulf coast of Florida for a getaway before life engulfs us again. The first few days of our stay, the sky was full of dark clouds and the ocean was angry. As the water churned and rolled, we bravely waded in up to our ankles, just to say we’d stuck our feet in the ocean. After a minute or two, Amy asked, “Leigh, what are those things?” As usual, I was lost in my own world and had no clue what she was talking about. “Huh?” “They look like pennies!” She started pointing out these dark disks that, yes, looked like pennies rolling in.
Upon closer inspection, we realized they were sand dollars. Teeny, tiny sand dollars. Tons of them. More than we could even count, much less pick up.
I am a beach bum at heart. I love the beach. Any beach. And I love beach combing. Several of my friends asked for seashells from Florida, so I set off to find them some unusual, can’t-get-these-in-Myrtle Beach shells. I quickly discovered that, unlike the other beaches I had been to, there was nothing remarkable about the shells i was finding here. Except those tiny sand dollars, of course. Then, as I was sifting through a pile of shell rubble, I learned that I was wrong. So wrong.
There is something quite remarkable about the shells I’m finding here. They’re tiny. So tiny. Tinier than the fingernail of a newborn.
Then God nudged my heart. These are tiny blessings. And I was surrounded by them. As I am in life. It’s taken some pretty dramatic events for God to open my heart to this truth.
I used to believe a “blessing” was something I could purchase with my tithe or was something I was entitled to if I prayed correctly or read my Bible enough or went to church regularly. When life crashed down around us, while I was doing all these things, I had to start relearning some things. The definition of blessing has been one of the biggest lessons.
You see, I had completely bought into the “prosperity gospel” of most churches today. I can’t tell you how’s my times I’ve heard “Test God! Tithe and watch him multiply your resources.” And we did. We tested and trusted. Then, I lost a very easy, well paying part-time job. Still we kept the faith. Then I lost my full time job. Still, we believed. Then Keith lost his job. I wasn’t ready to give up, but tithing was getting harder and harder. Especially when my pastor made a great living, plus living expenses and I couldn’t feed my children. Finally, God moved us. To the sticks. And I started paying attention.
My new definition of blessing is this: what you need, when you need it. And blessings aren’t bought or earned. Nothing you can do can make God stop loving you. And He takes care of His children. That’s it. Be His. (And yes, that’s a choice. But that’s for another blog.)
As I started looking at those tiny shells this morning, I thought about all the tiny blessings that I experience every day. My guess is that you do too. You only have to open your eyes.
I know this sounds like its all over the board and I’m not sure I can tie it in a neat bow for you. But, life isn’t neat. It’s messy. And so am I.
Friends, God isn’t looking for more Bible reading, more tithing, more church time, more volunteer time, more programs from you. He wants a relationship. Those other things aren’t bad. But sometimes they can get in the way of the very things they’re supposed to produce. God just wants you. All of you. And when I started learning to live like that, I started noticing. Tiny blessing. Everywhere. Every day.
I am a blessed woman.
Be blessed and tell someone you love them.