My life Stunk. At least that's what I thought. I looked up at the IV bag hanging from our broken mini-blinds. My eyes followed the tube down to my arm and then to my hand. I noticed the varying shades of red and some bruising from my previous catheter sites. I was in my twenties, but I felt like I was ninety. I rolled over onto my left side and looked up at the garage sale clothes hanging from a rope that was draped across our living room. Our dryer was broken. Where in the world would we find the money to repair our dryer? I breathed a heavy sigh and looked up at the old rope strung across our living room. I stared at my kids' ratty clothes and wondered if we'd ever have enough money to buy name brand anything. Our house was falling apart. We owed many thousands of dollars in medical debt. I battles Lyme disease while my husband worked two and three jobs to keep food on the table.
My friends made life look easy. They had beautiful homes, dependable cars, and nice clothes. They went out to dinner on occasion and even enjoyed a bit of travel. Best of all, they had their health. I always marveled when I called to see how they were doing, and more often than not they'd reply, "Great!"
I couldn't imagine waking up six out of seven days a week feeling healthy, normal, and strong. In the depths of my being I wanted the kind of lives they lived.
My pity party was set. All I needed was a party hat and some food. Just when I was about to let my mind take another detour, the front door burst open, and my giant of a husband stepped into the entry way and said, "I'm hoooooome!" Like a big bear that found his favorite back-scratching tree, he bounded in the door with glee. All of the sudden I heard a loud thump! I lifted my head from the couch to look down to the entryway only to find Kevin standing in a gaping hole up to his armpits!
Seconds after Kevin stepped into the door, the floor beneath him gave way, dropping him through a sizable hold in our entryway. He looked as shocked as I was. With his arms in the air, and his feet in the downstairs closet on a pile of boxes, he looked up at me, and then down at himself, and then up at me again. He was at a loss for words.
We burst out laughing at the same time and he couldn't stop (it was either that or break down and cry). Still hooked up to my IV, I leaned over so he could see me from the entryway, and I spouted, "We are the pathetic losers! We live in the money pit!" Kevin laughed, shook his head, and climbed out of the hole in the entryway.
Within a few minutes he was out in the garage looking for a piece of plywood to cover up our gaping hole. I pulled out my journal and started to write what was on my heart. I actually surprised myself. Here is a paraphrase of what I wrote that day:
Thank you, Lord, that we have a roof over our head. And thank You, Lord, that we have running water we can freely drink any time of the day. Thank You for food in the cupboards. Thank You that I have a husband who comes home every night. He could so easily abandon us in this whole mess, but day after day he stays and he loves. Thank You, Lord, that we have three little ones playing in the bedroom down the hall who don't even know that we're in the crisis of our lives. They just know they're loved. Thank You, Lord, for loving us like You do. And though my eyes can't see it, I know You will make a way through this terrible time. I know that one day our lives will be better, and things won't feel so hard. You are good, and You will come through for me.
I closed my journal, sat up, and looked out the window. I was the richest woman alive. At that very moment, I had everything I needed to thrive. I lacked no good thing.
But every time (before and after that day) that I committed the sin of comparison and acquired my perspective by looking at what Others possessed...I became the poorest woman alive.
"But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me." -Psalm 50:23 NLT