A friend of mine had her purse stolen from her as she visited among friends in a restaurant. My heart went out to her, because she is overseas, single, and reaching out to help people in that foreign country. Reflecting on this robbery threw me back to a time when I was the same age as Taylor, in my late twenties. Our family of five lived out in the country near Raymondville, Texas.
Our house sat on 1.5 acres off of a dirt road four miles from town. Surrounding us on three sides was an expansive field of sugar cane. When the crop was nearing harvest, you could not see anything else but the waving leaves covering the thick canes laden with their sweet harvest. This time of year we were hidden from the main road
I had been a stay at home mom for about ten years and since we bought our home, I wanted to help out with the payments and I began working at Mama Knox’s Dollhouse, a home daycare. I enjoyed the routine, the children and parents, but I have to admit, I really enjoyed Mama Knox’s homemade sourdough rolls the most.
We were grateful for a job where I could still see my daughter, Audrey, every day, and when I found out I was pregnant again with our son, Jonathan, I was glad that I was in a place where I could bring my children and still help out some.
Things were going well until one day we went home, and as we walked toward our back porch, all was strangely quiet. I couldn’t quite figure what it was until I opened the door and saw that our two cockatiels, a normal gray and an albino, bright yellow, with peach cheeks were gone along with their cage that usually hung out on the screen porch where they could enjoy the fresh air and sunlight.
Some weeks earlier, we noticed that the shower room on the porch was wet from use, which was strange since we had been gone all day and the only time we used it was to shower off the kids when they were too dirty to walk through the house to the bathroom. They preferred tub baths.
I had been alone at the house when my husband was away at summer school, getting his teaching degree when I would hear the outdoor spigots squeak on, water run, and then the faucets squeaked off again. I knew that we were on an immigration trail that some illegal aliens would take. One day on a hike, we discovered an abandoned house not too far from ours and I am sure it was used for a rest stop on the way. We stayed away and did not bother to investigate.
When I heard the water run outside, I would just bless the ones out there and wish them good health and a safe journey. We did not bother them and they never bothered us. I instinctively knew that the shower was being used to clean up and that didn’t bother me either. I was glad to help someone on their way and wished them well.
Today, however, I felt violated. All of the goodwill I extended in word and deed, and here were my children’s pets stolen right from inside our screened area. That is what was missing when we walked toward the back door. Every day as we exited our car, we would hear the shrill greetings from our two birds as we came closer to them. We teasingly called them our watch birds, because they alerted us to my husband’s return each day.
Our budget was a bit tight and so I did not look forward to breaking the news to our children that no, we would not be able to run out and replace our birds. We had them for a few years. There was a breeder who lived in town. We got them when they were tiny and hand fed them so that they were very tame. The children were heart-broken.
A few weeks later though, we came home to another incident. This time our TV, stereo, an anniversary clock, a sentimental rifle that had belonged to our granddad, a collection of rare coins, my make-up of all things, and some antiques were missing. My cedar chest that I had received for my engagement, from my parents, was damaged and the lock was broken. It wasn’t even locked, to begin with.
Oh, the feeling of how unfair, of people rifling through my drawers and closets, of the disrespect for our privacy and our loss of some very sentimental items. The children and I loved to listen to records and they danced around and put on “shows” to these merry songs, but their favorite record was taken since it remained on the turntable, when they took the stereo. The sinking feeling in my heart left me numb.
I think it was more the sadness at being a target of such an act when we tried to be generous with the little we had and always wanted others to do well. But jerking away from us the things that we owned and looking through our home seemed such an invasion.
This happened again three more times that year. I wondered why I even bothered to go to work. I am sure this would not have happened had I been home.
Friends, people we did not even know, and family gave us used TVs, stereos, and money to help replace missing items.
The culprits were finally caught, but since we could not give serial numbers for the coins, we could not get them back. Same for the rifle, TV, and stereo. We had to have pictures or something to prove these items were ours, and the only thing we had a picture of was our mantel clock, but it had been smashed and the works were taken out.
We had been short-term missionaries in Japan for a year and had taken a pastorate at a tiny Spanish-speaking church for a year until they could get a replacement. Our salary was only $300 a month with a home and utilities provided back then, so we were not materialistic. Rather, we rejoiced that all of our children enjoyed good health, that we did possess a washer and dryer, cars that worked, clothes enough for the places we needed to go and a sound roof over our heads. God always blessed us with enough and more to give away when needs arose.
Today, I still can see the ups and downs in our lives. The challenges that arise are no less daunting. Yet, our hope is not in all things going well with no wrinkle, but our hope is in the great resources of glory and the intervention for our good from a loving heavenly father.
Choosing to look at life through the eyes of gratitude and love, and to forgive rather become bitter and feeling victimized are rich lessons that make each new day an adventure in faith. When you are looking to find the good in every situation, you discover the miracles and treasures that are set before you daily.
Ann Voskamp once said, “When we refuse to trust God and forget to live with thankfulness, we are living as practical atheists. We are not positional atheists (in truth, we are always positioned in Christ through faith in Him), but we are living like God does not exist.”
James, the brother of Jesus wrote,
2″Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” -James 1:2-4 (NASB)
Look for the treasure in each happening. Give your situations to him to partner with you. Then rest in the FACT that you have the Creator of the Universe and all of his resources working on your behalf. Declare his goodness and declare your praise and worship that you are his.
“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.” -Philippians 4:4 (KJV)