Today was an off day. Last week was a jam-packed, no-school, sunshine-filled string of days without obligations. We had so much freedom. Sleep in if you want. Yes, have a snack. Play with me. Let’s go outside again! Monday met my transition expectations, as we all wriggled back into normal like fancy shoes after flip flop weather.
We all miss the margins, but especially my kids who came to us through foster care. In the midst of actual abundance, the effects of past scarcity still lurk in shadows that can hide in the corners or spread out across the landscape of our days. With less space in our lives, I see us begin to live out of past scarcity that winds our relational threads up tighter and tighter in anxiety. What if we don’t have enough?
Fears are manifest in all the little moments; The stolen snack, shrieking for attention and the hoarding of any scrap of goodness, show a disconnect from reality that I am all too familiar with.
As an adult, I still find myself wondering if my needs will be met. Wound up with anxious thoughts that spill out to show the lack. Lack of generosity. Lack of trust. My eyes can so easily be blinded from the reality that the Creator of all cares for every need. For those with much, and those with little, he orchestrates exactly what we need.
I see it throughout the Bible, as well as in the lives around me. I recently read through Ruth with The Bible Recap. I was drawn to the way God points out his abundance and care through one of the laws that we can often skim over. When Ruth goes to glean, I see God’s desire to care for those who have the least. She had no husband, no job, no hope for her future as an outsider, a widow, and a poor woman with no prospects. Yet in the midst of all she lacked, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob saw her need and met it through his people.
For the wealthy, they would need to trust God’s abundant provision by resisting the urge to hoard their crops, taking every last grain. Instead, they were to leave a margin for generosity. They gave of what was rightfully theirs, but they chose to believe God and trusted that their needs would be met. For the poor, like Ruth, they would hope for God’s abundance by going out to the margins and trusting what they needed would be there.
Perhaps this is daily sustenance.
God set it up this way because he knew that without this gleaning in the margins everyone would suffer. The landowner as he stresses over the crop, forgetting that the growth comes from God. The widow as she has no options to sustain life. God’s abundant provision and mercy met people in the margins, both then in the promised land fields and now in our own daily lives.
Time: When I am able to entrust my schedule to God, and not jam-pack life in a flurry of striving, I see how he orchestrates each unplanned moment.
Finances: When I begin to see my money not as “mine” but as a resource in the kingdom of God, I suddenly see needs that I was created to meet.
Talents: When I begin to see who God has made me to be, instead of just trying to understand myself, I see how God designed my skills to intersect with the world he is restoring. I then begin to direct these gifts of personality and talent in new ways.
Mind: When my mind is filled with busyness or distracted by technology, I stop paying attention to all the ways God makes himself known in my life. Creating a life that is mindful of margin, means I tuck my cellphone away and I awaken myself to being present in the life God gave me. There I witness how God was already at work even though I had failed to notice.
His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
2 Peter 1:3 CSB
We no longer have to live in the fear of not-enough, because our God has promised to provide all we need. He leads us to metaphorical fields that cry out for margin so that we can rest in the peace that he will provide for all our needs.
Holly Hawes writes to tell the stories of what God has done, especially through her experiences of infertility, foster care, and adoption. She is 30-something and has been married to Josh since 2010. She is Mom to a teenager by adoption, a child she’ll meet in heaven and often “bonus kids” via foster care. She loves creativity, the PNW, books, flowers, and sharing Jesus with hearts that need him.