The sky was a crisp blue with just a few clouds that looked like cotton balls, the trees and landscape were in magnificent summer bloom, it was as if God painted the perfect backdrop for a profound lesson. Lexi, my middle child and I were experiencing a rare moment alone feeding the ducks at the end of a pier. As we tossed the tiny balls of bread the fish, turtles, ducks and even a beautiful swan fought to win the prize. These God made creatures seemed a bit desperate to get their meal, but at the same time they had a peace about them as if they already knew it would come. I couldn’t help but picture these animals swimming along wondering where they would get their next bite to eat, when all of the sudden this bread came falling from above giving them exactly what they needed. Sound familiar?
I thought so. I asked Lexi if she remembered the story in the bible about the Israelites wandering in the desert with no food. Yes, she said. Do you remember what fell from the sky? Manna, she answered. I told her how the moment had played out in my mind and how our bread falling from above reminded me of the manna falling from the sky. I asked if she thought those animals were hungry and worried about what they would eat and if she ever feels worried or questions things that happen in life. She said yes, I said when you look back do you feel like God gave you the “manna” you needed to get through. Always, she answered. Then I asked, what were the Israelites supposed to do with the manna. She described how they were only supposed to take what they needed except on Saturday they were to take what they needed for Sunday so they could rest on the Sabbath. (we so love our Catholic school!)
And then God spoke to me the same way I spoke to my child. “Why are you at the end of your rope with frustration? Why is this summer defeating you? Why are you all consumed with worry and regret? Don’t you know by now my child that I will always provide?” I’ve written many times that summer often gets the best of me. Caring for Katie and all of her special needs while trying to maintain a normal summer for the other two can be overwhelming. Late at night, I get too consumed in the Facebook photos of everyone else’s fabulous summer adventures. Never a good idea.
“Why do you compare? I gave you your life and they have theirs, it’s all the way it is supposed to be. When you start trying to keep up with others you are taking too much manna. I give you what you need every day, it is not supposed to look like your neighbors, it is specially made for you. Life wasn’t meant to be easy, but when you surrender to my will, you will find true peace and joy!”
His words meant so much. I am always wanting more. I am always feeling inadequate. I am always wishing things were different. I am grumbling like the Israelites in the desert. But when I stop to listen to God, when I put all of these worldly desires aside I feel it to my very core, I have exactly what I need. When the Israelites kept the manna overnight, which they were commanded not to do, it rotted and filled with worms. When I get distracted by my envy and try to take more than I need, my heart feels like that leftover manna.
My three children in all their glory are perfect in the eyes of God and when I stay focused on my job I find peace and joy rises out of my soul. I will forever treasure this moment with my 9 year old because those animals swimming along in that mucky water reminded me of the most important lesson that God offers us. Just live the life God has given you to the very best of your ability, stay focused on God above and His love will forever pour down on us just when we need it most.