It’s not complicated, really.
These three things that seem to have so little in common bring back a flood of memories.
Memories can take us back to places we sometimes need to revisit. Maybe it was a time that you learned a lesson the hard way, or maybe it was just an epiphany moment that you’ve long forgotten. This particular memory reminds me of a simpler time.
We were young–and “living on on love”. It was a phrase that we jokingly used to express how little money we had, though we were rich in other ways. Out of necessity, cheap meals and dates that didn’t cost anything were at the top of our list. Paying a babysitter was not an option, so most of our anniversaries were celebrated with four children around the dinner table, and maybe a special ice cream treat for mom and dad after the kids were put to bed. (Sorry, guys!)
Thinking back on the life we enjoyed during our early years conjures up a certain nostalgia for this simpler time. It’s not uncommon for us to even repeat some of those cheap meals just for the sentimentality of it. (Did anyone else live on beans and cornbread for dinner?)
Back in the day, bologna was a cheap meal for a large family. I grew up eating it, and I had no problem adding it to my grocery list when we lived on a tight budget and had four kids (and often more) to feed. I’m not really sure if any of them would even eat it now, but they liked it when they were children–mostly because I didn’t make it a habit to give them choices.
Let me just say, bologna is not my favorite food. Slices of smashed meat that has been pounded to look like a new creation is just not that appealing. Quite unhealthy, it’s easy for me to pass on this by-product–that is, until I have a fresh summer tomato still warm from the sun and ripened to perfection to top it off. This cheap substitute for meat is suddenly transformed into a delicacy fit for a queen.
Here’s my point.
Being thankful doesn’t require anything more than a willing heart.
While it can be easy to express gratitude when a great blessing comes along, I can just as easily look back on the times when my life involved a steady diet of caring for little ones and providing for the needs of my family and I am grateful. Even when the only “quiet time” I had was before everyone was awake or when they were taking naps, I knew that it was a season that would pass quickly and I wanted to treasure every moment.
Young mama, don’t rush or wish away those early years with your children. Cherish the moments and enjoy every stage that you are privileged to be a part of. Even the years of difficulty can be times of growing and bonding that wouldn’t come any other way.
What do babies and Bibles and bologna sandwiches have in common? They are three simple pleasures that can bring us joy if we let them.
Those sweet babies will melt even the hardest of hearts. This gift of new life is a beautiful reminder of just how much God loves us.
“For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you
because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began.” Psalm 139:13-16
The responsibility of raising these precious babies is not to be taken lightly. God is the giver of life, and has given us His Word as a foundation for truth. Building character in our children is so much more than teaching them right and wrong–it’s showing them the right motivation. Why we choose to do or not do things matters. It’s not just a bunch of rules to keep. If my children obey me just because they have to (and often that’s where it starts), they will eventually lose their motivation. But–if we demonstrate for them how love and obedience go hand-in-hand, discipline takes on a whole new meaning.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live too. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, you are in me, and I am in you. The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.” John 14:18-21
The spiritual foundation that we lay has to be more than a book of rules. The Bible is so much more than that. God gave us His Word so we could know Him. So we could see His plan and His purpose for every part of creation. The joy that comes from following God’s plan is so much more than what we see in the moment. While those early years might have been difficult in some ways, and even more difficult on some days than others–living by faith meant that we kept trusting God even when life was hard, knowing that He loved us and that He was providing in ways that we might not even see.
Even if it was bologna sandwiches.