the American dream?

I resolved to keep my children safe. I took for granted my assumption that having a secure future with a healthy retirement and owning a house was the natural progression of becoming an adult, a wife, and a mother. But it was an American dream and not necessarily a Biblical one. I just didn’t really think about it until God took any hope of it away.

A treacherous economy, a single income home, and a sudden job loss ensured that right at the beginning of our marriage and the birth of our first son, the dream hard saved for, evaporated. I walked the neighborhood in those days grieving that I was a renter, never able to remodel my own home, expand my own kitchen, and paint my own walls without a care. I longed for the stability of sending my kids to the same school, never having to move them around from place to place, to grow up calling their neighbors “Aunt” or “Uncle”. My imagination painted the picture of me rocking on the front porch waiting for my adult sons to later return with their own children to their childhood home. It’s what I saw all around me, and I wanted it.

It saddens me now when I think about those wasted days of discontent and fear. And how arrogant! To think that God’s plan was a failure, that the best life could give me was bricks and mortar and the façade of safety. That my happiness would only return the day we could hang a “sold” plaque on a post in a yard.  To blame my husband for not providing, as if God the owner of cattle on a thousand hills, needed us to put money in the bank.

God was so patient with me, reminding me that this life is not about ME. It’s not about STUFF. It’s not about SECURITY. It’s about treasure in heaven. It’s about realizing that we are RICH here in the USA compared to the majority of the poverty-stricken world and that we are COMMANDED to spend our lives trying to ease that tragedy. It’s about opening our eyes and being filled with THANKFULNESS for the plenty we are swimming in all around. It’s about recklessness for Christ. It’s about saying, “Yes Lord, Your will be done all the time, no matter what, no matter where.” It’s about showing my boys that Jesus lived the least secure life of all-and He is our example.

It’s not wrong to have plenty of money in the bank or to own a house-what was wrong was the emphasis I put on that goal in my heart. It seems ridiculous now, dreaming about wallpaper and custom cabinets. As if happiness is constant, when really, it’s an empty substitute for true Christ-centered joy. This I know, the freedom that comes from “I shall not want” is dreamier than that distant American dream once was to me.

How about you-is there some “thing” that you assume is your right to have and causes discontent? Take it to the Lord, and you just might find that when you don’t make it an idol anymore, it may be the very thing you receive.

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Amber Lia

A former high school English teacher, Amber is a work-at-home mom of 4 little boys under the age of 10. She is the best-selling author of Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, say Something New. She and her husband Guy own Storehouse Media Group, a faith-friendly and family-friendly TV and Film production company in Los Angeles, CA. When she’s not building sand castles with her boys on the beach, or searching for Nerf darts all over her house, you can find Amber writing to encourage families on her blog at Mother of Knights (