As most of my hunting days go, I start out looking for one thing and find ten others. Today was no different. I set out in hopeful search of a table and some chairs for the kid’s playhouse (post on that later). Most of the morning was gone, as I searched one garage sale after another to no avail. If I haven’t found what I am looking for, especially in regards to furniture, by mid-morning I feel like my opportunity is lost for the day. Good furniture tends to go quickly. Deciding to give it one last try, I toted the kids to yet another sale. As I was driving up the street I could see it… the chair jackpot. Bells, whistles and flashing lights were dancing in my head. There were about 15 chairs lining the driveway! Too expensive I thought to myself, why else would they all still be there? Doubt crept in. We piled out of the car to look anyway. I kid you not, all the chairs were marked $1, some even 50 cents. Swiftly I scooped up two chairs for the playhouse. My eyes, however, were locked on these beauties… Pardon the cell phone pics of the two best looking in the bunch. Threadbare seats graced the other two.
I have been in a season of major un-love with my breakfast room table. A glorious picture of a rustic farmhouse table with mismatched chairs slept quietly in my mind. After deciding this dream wasn’t really in the budget I had ditched the idea and postponed it for another day. $1 chairs told me differently. Needless to say, $4 later, the chairs were mine. Four of them, matching, found in the middle of the day. Really.
After what felt like an eternity of striping nail heads I got down to raw wood. These chairs were obviously high quality in their day, well-built and sturdy. Original springs in the seat proved a welcome surprise during deconstruction. I painted them with homemade chalkpaint (made from a $5 gallon of oops paint), roughed them up a bit and finished them off with a dark wax. Renovation was a joint effort. It had to be, I don’t do well with fabric. My mom is an upholstery expert so I sent the chairs to visit her. A gazillion staples and nail heads later she was done. There were A LOT of nails in case you didn’t notice! No sewing was needed for this undertaking, which in my mind means anyone could tackle a project like this. This redo looks more daunting than it really was (ok – mom had the hard part, so she might disagree). Don’t be scared off by chairs with fabric. They take some time, but are soooo worth it. These turned out gorgeous if I might say so myself! Disbelief is usually what pours out of my friend’s mouth when they hear the price tag on my new-found loves. They quickly ask me to divulge my shopping secrets, to which I have none. I can’t even believe the deal, or that they were still there for the taking.
Truth is – I can’t believe a lot of the grace and gifts poured into my life. Why am I constantly so surprised at how big and abundant God is? Especially when he shows up in the little things, like $1 chairs. Why am I shocked when good happens? Amazement sometimes stems from just recognizing God’s hand at work and being blown away by watching His plan unfold. The flip side to that is much uglier – Am I surprised because I feel unworthy of the blessings He has in store for me? Sometimes. More often I have to check my heart. Do I walk through my day searching out His goodness, looking for it, giving God credit when it happens? Or do I chalk things up to my keen skills or possibly even “luck”? How much do I pray a prayer hoping my Father will answer it, not expecting he will. There is a major difference in hope and expectation when it comes to prayer. When I don’t pray expecting to see the results God has for me in His will I might as well say, “ I don’t really believe/trust/think you can/will/want to do _________, but I’m gonna put it out there just in case.” So of course I am surprised when He answers!!!
David sets the right example for us in Psalm 5:3
In the morning O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay down my requests before you and wait in expectation.
This one verse overflows with treasures of how we should pray and look through our day.
In the morning – Firstfruits of your day given to Him, start your day in prayer.
O Lord – Who do we go to when we are in need? When we are joy filled? Friends? Family? We should go to the Lord – first!!!
You hear – God listens to His people. (1 John 5:14)
MY voice – Know that He hears YOUR voice, He knows you by voice and name
I lay down my requests before you – Tell Him your heart, lay out your desires and LEAVE them there. Laying something down means letting it go! (hello Kim…quit picking your requests back up and trying to work them out in your own strength!!!)
And wait – God’s timing is perfect, ours is not. Practice patience here and know that time is not necessarily a no to prayer, but God working out all the details.
In expectation – EXPECT God to answer you. This doesn’t mean the answer will always be yes, or look the way you imagine, but He will answer.
I have to remind myself of these facts when my prayer life gets stagnant and becomes a “throw one up and see what sticks” format. Today I am refreshed by this example. The new year is such a clean start, a fresh beginning and a traditional time for resolutions. Let’s make a resolution we can keep, one that is worth keeping. Let’s start this year together with the goal of approaching each day with expectation and on the lookout for God. He is in everything if we just open our eyes to Him. There is not a doubt in my mind that God sprinkles little treasures in my life to remind me how much He loves me personally. He knows what gets me excited. Creaking seeps out from the old springs buried in the seat of my new desk chair every time I sit in it. The joyful noise reminds me of God’s gift. It is not just “luck” or good hunting on my part that results in treasures like this. My resolution: I will look expectantly through my day for God’s answers, for His blessings, and STOP being so surprised when He shows up in the big things and the tiny details…like fabulous $1 chairs.
Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. Habakkuk 1:5
But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:6
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