Today I am thankful for Mari Alice. She is pure delight. Every day is a new adventure with her. She's bright and happy; bold and helpful. I love how she starts so many sentences with "I was just wondering..." She is hard-working and playful, and I am blessed to spend my days with her.
Yesterday, I sat down with each girl individually and gave them "cyber dollars" so they could privately shop online for their family members. Ardyn showed up with a list. Ashlin was definitive and decisive. Elizabeth was not happy her time slot fell during her one PBS show, so with eyes darting toward the tv, she hastily spouted, "I just want to get elephants for the little kids and monkeys for the big kids, ok?" That girl!
Anyway, when Mari sat down, she had three dollar bills wrinkled into a wad in her hand. Not understanding that I intended to fully fund her virtual shopping spree, she looked up at me and with those big brown eyes blinking slowly and sweetly, she whispered, "This is all my money. Can you please look up 'wedding rings'?"
I blinked a blurry tear away as I typed "gold diamond ring" into the search box, and she continued to talk. "This three dollars can buy you a really pretty ring and then - since my money will be all gone - I'll just make stuff for everybody else ... I can make a scrap book for dad and ..."
A few weeks after my wedding ring went missing, I ordered a $15 silver band from overstock.com. I wanted to have a symbol of my marriage, but still resist the urge to replace my ring too soon ... standing firm in the hope that we'd miraculously find it.
But scrolling through all the images of glittery goodness, I think Mari and I both wanted something new. She saw one that she liked and shouted, "OOH! That one is gorgeous, and it's $2something. Get it!" I guided the cursor to hover over the price and offered another 1st grade lesson in place value. Gently, I explained, "It costs two thousand dollars." Deflated, yet resolved, she replied, "Ok ... let's keep looking."
Learning to scan for prices, she saw a giant solitaire for $24. She got really excited and began brainstorming ways to earn the extra money. I quickly introduced her to the deceptive world of "diamanoids". Silently, I wondered how to get out of this situation without hurting her feelings.
We had fun looking through several pages of rings, and then, we saw one that had only limited quantities and was drastically reduced in price ... like by 75%. (But her money would still barely cover a fraction of the tax.) I clicked to get a better look. It was a beautiful representation of the verse "a cord of three strands is not easily broken", and the red slashed price was leading me to believe we might be able to swing it as an upgraded substitute ring. I still hope and pray for the miracle of my original ring being returned, but to wear a pretty ring until then would be nice.
I secretly sent the link to Philip's phone while Mari continued to admire the ring.
"Could I have this as my Christmas/Anniversary present? Completely on sale and the braided cord has been on my mind for months."
His immediate response: "Yes".
I love that agreeable guy:)
I closed my phone and turned toward Mari. "I think we can get it," I smiled.
"Really?? It's so beautiful! Do you love it? When will we get it? How do they know where we live? How much does it cost?"
"Your Daddy said he'd get it for me."
She stopped suddenly. "No, I want to get this for you. I thought of this ... I lost your first one and I really want to get you a new one. How much will it cost?"
"Um... if you can pay $3, Daddy will cover the rest."
This morning, the Lord brought those words back to my mind. "If you can give $3, Daddy will cover the rest." In the calm, dark stillness, my Heavenly Father seemed to whisper, "Cari, if you can give me everything you have, I'll cover the rest."
Isn't that the truth?
Everything I have is nothing, really ... when compared to the task or project or requirement ahead. But He promises that if I'll give it all up - all my effort, all my plans, everything I seem to have acquired so far - then He will lovingly step in and offer the riches to see it through.
I am reminded of the boy in the Bible with five loaves and two fish. He gave all he had and God used his offering and blessed its effectiveness to overflowing proportions. Alvin Slaughter words it like this ...
Let Him take it and bless it and
Break it and give it
He'll multiply it in the moment you live it
And in the moment you call
When you've given your all
He steps in, He steps in
And He'll say
What's that you have in your hand?
I can use it, if you're willing to lose it.
Take the little you have and make it grand.
I am El Shaddai and I'll more than supply your need.
I got a little side-tracked, but now you see why I am so deeply grateful for Mari Alice. Her precious life is divine conduit - a channel of blessing to me.
Dear God, Thank you for my sweet Mari Alice. Thank You for the very fun guy You have chosen just for her. I can't wait to watch their story unfold. You are kind and good and Your mercies never fail. Thank You.