I was scrolling through Facebook tonight, not expecting much but the usual pointless quizzes and general updates about friend’s food choices or the latest adventures of their kids. To be honest, I just wanted a little mindless surfing after a few pretty rough days.
I didn’t expect to be stopped in my tracks by a single picture and a Spanish phrase. But now I’m sitting here humbled to tears, and I knew I would not be able to continue my night without first sharing this experience.
Some of you may not know that I spent two years as a volunteer missionary in Argentina, and during that time I made friendships that I will cherish for the rest of my life. It’s been a blessing to continue some of those friendships online even though we are so very far apart now. And early on in my time in Argentina, before I could speak the language well and while I was still struggling with culture shock, I met an amazing woman named Maria Rosa. She had a gentle and humble spirit and she was incredibly kind and accepting of me, despite the fact that we could not communicate well at the time.
Now, 15 years later, we’re still friends on Facebook. We don’t communicate often as my Spanish skills have deteriorated since my return home, but I do follow her posts about her beautiful family and I’m always happy to see updates. But tonight… as I’m living in my American bubble and binging on HGTV and our consumerist culture, Maria Rosa almost literally brought me to my knees.
For those of you who don’t speak Spanish, the caption reads, “Our house. Thank you God!!!!”
That is not a sarcastic statement. Maria Rosa is genuinely grateful to have that home.
My first impression of the house was that it looked like the “Before” picture on an episode of Fixer Upper. But to Maria Rosa, it is a dream come true. And I was suddenly struck with not only how blessed I am, but how ungrateful I am.
You see, I don’t come home every day and think about how happy I am to live in this house.
Instead, I watch hours of HGTV and think of all of the things I’d like the Property Brothers to change here. I look at dated linoleum and Formica countertops and wish for the better things in life. I want a $2,000 shopping spree at Hobby Lobby to decorate my walls and new furniture because mine is just ugly.
But I have furniture. I have perfectly good furniture that was mostly given to me. And my walls may be pretty bare, but I sure have a whole lot of them, and they’re covered in pretty paint and nice molding. I have two and a half bathrooms and a big kitchen and a 55″ TV. My driveway has three (paid for) vehicles in it and my cupboards are never bare.
So why on earth do I struggle with contentment? Why does it take a picture of a friend rejoicing over her blessings, which seem so small in comparison, for me to open my eyes to how rich I truly am?
I think that’s going to be my challenge for the next few weeks. I’m challenging myself to find new blessings to be thankful for every single day. Sometimes they may be blessings in disguise. A sink full of dirty dishes or Annie hair all over the floor don’t always feel like blessings, but I am beyond blessed to have the love of my slobbery, shedding pup and to have more dishes than I can fit in a single cupboard.
Maybe you’d like to challenge yourself as well. Just look around and let me know what blessings you find in your life. And if you like a real challenge, spend the next two weeks trying to find 14 blessings in disguise. And please, let me know if you’re joining me on this. I’d love some company on the journey to contentment!