God is regularly teaching me that the quality of your life is not dictated by your circumstances but instead by which lens you view them through. I say "regularly" because I seem to have to learn this one over and over.
When I am at my weakest and most vulnerable, I tend to put on my entitlement lenses. Those are the ones that tell me I was entitled to a summer with my kids complete with swimming, movie nights, vacations, and good times with friends. They tell me that Maggie had already been through enough and that this extra dose of suffering is an injustice to this child. Those lenses were purchased at the store of the sheltered suburban life that was built with the bricks of comparison. They tell me that success is measured in accolades and acquired possessions and that no matter how hard I try, I am never going to measure up. I hate those lenses but somehow I hold them in my pocket for safe keeping.
When Trent I were first married, I went years without updating my eye glass prescription. When I finally did, I remember walking outside and noticing the leaves on the trees and the details all around me. I had seen it before but I had slowly grown so accustomed to my blurred vision that I didn't realize it wasn't normal. Trading my old lenses for the right prescription brought everything into focus. The same thing happens when I trade my lenses of entitlement for my lenses of eternity.
Experiences like mission trips, adoptions, loss of a loved one, and long stays in the ICU will give you that new set of lenses to view life with. You are suddenly reminded that life on earth is short when compared to eternity. You learn to see disasters, abandonment, and other crisis as an opportunity for God to reveal Himself as redeemer. You see your possessions as gifts instead of trophies and you use your natural abilities as opportunities to do good instead of reasons to draw attention to yourself. You are less likely to shy away from those who make you uncomfortable and more likely to take their struggles on as your own. And you smile. You smile because you know that there is a greater purpose. You smile because you know that you don't have to worry about measuring up (like you do with the entitlement lenses) but you accept that you have already won in Christ.
I am not saying that life through the lenses of eternity is easier. Often those who wear those lenses have seemingly more difficult days but they do life better because they have hope and perspective.
That is what God is teaching me today as I watch those around me and ponder what I have been given. Thank you for praying for Maggie. She is continuing to improve and we are hopeful for no more setbacks.