My poverty (and yours)

This week we are swimming in  abundance.

I spent the weekend making all manner of preparations.   While Stevie smoked back ribs all day yesterday, the rest of us flew into a frenzy of buying and storing and cleaning and prepping and sewing and ciphering.   All this to make sure 28 people know how thankful we are to have them in our lives.

Everywhere I turn in my house, there’s excess.  I have bowls and stemware and linens and food and candles and silver, galore.

There is wealth and bounty aplenty.

Everywhere, that is, except in me.

It’s the poverty of my own heart that scares me to death.

It’s my inability to be who I was created to be.

It’s my impatience and unkindness to my children—-the lack of grace and love and joy.

It’s the tally of hurts done against me that I keep record of and file away for later use.

It’s the wretched cycle of my own  sin that makes me sick.

And when I stood at the end of this week, looking at the  trail of brokenness, that’s when I saw the beautiful paradox of want.

This poverty of spirit that plagues me is the beginning of repentance.   This is where I find Him.

When I have come to the end of my resources, to the last shred of hope in myself, that’s where He waits.

And the truth is, the sooner we discover this poverty—that we all happen to share—-the sooner we can learn to live from His wealth.

Because everything is His.

And if our hands weren’t so full of our own decaying riches, He’d show us what abundance really looks like.

It looks something like peace, joy, love, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance, forgiveness.

We may be the richest (most in debt) country on earth but we live in sheer destitution.

Our lives look more like  strife, sadness, cruelty, harshness, wickedness, faithlessness, stubbornness, excess, blame.

At least mine does, if I’m honest.

And I hate my inadequacy.   I want, for all the world, to be capable and industrious—to have it all figured out, to have the perfectly coiffed life.

And you probably do too.

We don’t want to feel our need, our desperation.

So we hide, we medicate, we pretend, we run, we seek cheap relief wherever it may be found.

But at the end of the that long, scary road of our stubborn self-sufficiency and our rusty heap of riches and our swirling addictions,  He waits.

Because He is gentle and kind and faithful and full of peace and forgiveness.

He is love, incarnate.

And He became flesh to know this very pain.  He took on this desperate poverty in which we live to give us wealth untold. He is our Father.  And our inheritance cannot be measured.

And if we are wise, we will learn to thank Him for those things that remind us of our true condition:  the very circumstances that break our hearts and cause us to despair.

Those are His gift to us, to help us see clearly.

By nature, we hate the heartache which drives us to Him and keeps us begging for relief, begging for answers, begging for the scraps from His table.

But from that lack, he will give us heaven.

Let us not forget that it was in desperation that David wrote Psalm 51 and from prison that Paul wrote Ephesians and Colossians.

It’s in our poverty, not our abundance,  that He will give us His kingdom.

We don’t have to try to be poor in spirit to receive His kingdom.  We are poor in spirit and we must beg Him to show us our emptiness in order that He may fill us with the bounty from His table.

Everything is His.  And so everything is yours.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.  Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”



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  • amy says:

    Whispering a very quiet amen to this as my soul aches.

  • Julia says:

    Edie…..Thank you-

  • Emily Clark says:

    Beautifully said and so true. Have you ever thought of writing a devotional book? :)

  • Ruth says:

    Amen and amen!!! Open our eyes to see our wretchedness, o Lord, and lead us unto you.

  • Glenda says:

    Thank you Edie.

  • Lori H says:

    Wow. Thank you. So necessary this week!

  • Deb says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. Beautifully written and so true.

  • Southern Gal says:

    Your words speak to my soul, Edie. To know others are struggling with some of the same things gives me hope that I’m not the only one. Is that wrong to say? I feel so alone at times in my destitution. Then God shows me I’m not alone with your words. He’s so, so good.

  • MelissaM says:

    So thankful to have found your post this morning. God’s way is so upside down from our natural way of thinking. I am always blown away when I consider that He knows the true state of my heart and yet He offers me all this grace…. His love for us is abundance.

  • debra says:

    Thank you. Beautifully written and very true.

  • mypatsyann says:

    Perfect timing. Thank you so much.

  • Carin says:

    Wow! In tears. Beautiful and much needed today. xoxo

  • sheri says:

    very well said sweet friend! Happy Thanksgiving!

  • So much wisdom on a Monday morning, my dear friend. I love how you never shy from facing the hard truths and telling it like it is. Wishing Punta Gorda & Bean Station were a little closer….I could go for a little heart-to-heart and I’m pretty sure Chuck would trade one of our children for some of those ribs! :-) Miss you! xoxo

  • Karen says:

    So true Edie!families I see are aching and broken apart. Reaching to them is what god wants as well. We have to share with others the grace god gives to us.

  • Janine says:

    I love this. May I share it?

  • Brooke says:

    Your best post ever. Ever. Amen. And Amen again.

    Thanks for you.

  • Megan says:

    You wrote a post called ‘rebuilding a heart’ that I go back and re-read when I need a wake up call. This is another one of those posts. Insert bookmark. Thank you Edie for sharing this wisdom with the poor.

  • Shaunna says:

    Mercy, friend. Amen.

  • Thank you. Beautiful and full of truth and wisdom

  • marilyn says:

    So true and so need at this time.

  • We already are poor in spirit. Yes. This is beautiful. Have you read Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning? I’m meting it out to myself in small doses right now because I want it to never go away and because it’s a 1:2 reading/processing ratio.

    Happy Thanksgiving, friend.

    ps – Your photo up there is pretty much perfection.

  • Brooke says:

    needed to read this today. thank you

  • Lisa says:

    Reading your words has certainly put my hectic week into perspective. Oh how I am poor in spirit and in need of His refuge!

  • Alesha says:

    This is beautiful! I love how honest and raw this post is and yet it is so true of all of us! It was beautifully written and so encouraging. Thank you!
    Alesha <3

  • shellie says:

    Just what I needed this morning. I read your blog every day and have to admit, feel a bit envious of you sometimes. Thanks for allowing me into your heart. I know we are all sinners who are only saved by God’s grace.

  • martha says:

    Your posts are like golden nuggets of wisdom and truth. I love your honesty. I am so thankful I stumbled on your site, I look forward to reading it everyday and have gone back to read all your previous posts. You help me remember the fire I had in my heart when I was your age. Thank you!

  • Susan says:

    Yes. and thank you.

    From his abundance we have all received. hallelujah.

  • Love Him so much for always waiting…

  • Caila says:

    This was JUST what I needed this morning. Thank you.

  • chrissi says:

    Tears for your truth and thankfulness. Thank you sweet Edie.

  • Kristie says:

    Thank you for the truth-filled reminder. I really needed it. To be honest though, it does help to give away and get rid of some of the literal “stuff” in one’s house. There is nothing wrong with possessions (and I have plenty of them), but God has some mysterious equation about that. Holding your stuff loosely and not having such excess leaves more room for Christ’s values :) Now, I need to go look into the rooms of my house and put that into practice!

  • Ashley Johns says:

    Beautiful Edie… as always. Thank you!

  • Sarah says:

    Thank you for being an amazing inspiration to me! I too have been feeling that poverty lately…thanks for putting a finger on it so I will go to my knees today!

  • Jennifer says:

    My heart aches. I have been running around pleasing everyone but my dutiful children, trying to accomplish tasks on lists, all the while pretending I’m not ruining a beautiful week of thanksgiving straight from the gate. Today I’ve been impatient, angry, demanding and less than loving to the people I love most. I’ve been stomping down guilt and remorse all the live long day. And then I read this:
    [And He became flesh to know this very pain. He took on this desperate poverty in which we live to give us wealth untold. He is our Father.] My heart broke because I know this pain, the guilt and disgust of feeling lost in my own dark depths. I know this pain and the reminder that He knows this pain, too, how it feels to dwell in my sinful heart, is heartbreaking. What am I thinking? What am I doing? Thank you for saying what we need to hear — for reminding me that this life is grace.

  • Claire says:

    Bless you for speaking the truth. I have been revisiting Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges. He writes that, “We act as if God’s grace only makes up what our good works lack.” Ouch! In reality, each of us is completely and permanently bankrupt without His grace!

  • Anna says:

    What a wonderful, touching post. Thank you, Edie.

  • shelley says:

    I love this post. Especially – we don’t have to try to be poor in spirit. We already are. As the inevitable demands of the holidays approach, I keep trying to stop in the moment and rest in all that he has done. I have nothing to prove. I am an imperfect sinner and he has covered me.

  • dara says:

    well written…this made me cry for my own poverty. Thank you!

  • Kaye says:

    Your blog is your ministry. Touching lives and offering glimpses of the Christian life. Please continue in your efforts. We all are waiting in the wings, learning and being amazed that God is always with us in all we do. God has given you a gift of self expression that reaches to the core of our souls. Thank you. Peace and Grace.

  • Meredith says:

    I love this! Thanks for the reminder.

  • Alison says:

    Lord, have mercy. Christ have mercy. Bless you, Edie.

  • Christine says:

    Thank you Edie, I so needed this.

  • edie.
    you can tell you drink from the well of brilliant writers.

    our poverty. where we meet His riches.

    He is everything. I am so thankful for it as I walk daily with my own weak, grace-less, impatient me. But I have Him! Therefore, there is Hope!

    this post was stunning. just stunning.

  • Patty says:

    You pretty much cut to the heart of it. Thank you for writing the hard stuff. How I needed to hear this…this week especially.

  • Corey says:

    “But at the end of the that long, scary road of our stubborn self-sufficiency and our rusty heap of riches and our swirling addictions, He waits.”

    W.O.W. I am in complete awe of your post today. I am not a morning person and don’t usually have any use for electronics until I have had ample amounts of coffee. But, I got a little off course today and sat down to read your post while eating some breakfast. I had to read it twice. It rung my bell. I am humbled by your courage to give it to us straight. Its one of my favorite things about you. This is the good stuff Miss Edie! Live changing! I am telling you, between your house and everything you have going on with your family, and the Nestor selling all of her stuff right out of her house… It is leading me to believe that heaven on earth is pretty close to wherever you all are at!
    This post will be printed out on some fancy paper and made beautiful. It is profound! On a side note, I have never been to a Lutheran church. But you just about have me convinced that I have been missing out all my life!
    Thank you for keeping it real!


  • Tina says:

    Once again, proof that your message that hope and trust in Him are the only things that can sustain us. Please, please consider coming to speak at our event in April! :)

  • happy thanksgiving dear edie. i’m so thankful for God’s grace over me and for friends like you who remind me how much it is needed.

  • Julie Ann says:

    Hi Edie. What a beautiful post. Sometimes we think others’ lives are perfect…..there you are with your cute little husband cookin’ ribs and you doin’ all you do….so perfectly…..and just lookin’ so effortlessly and naturally cute!!….but no one’s life is perfect on this earth. You captured it!! Beautiful words. Made me think of the song, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, because He lives, all fear is gone…..because I know, I know…… who holds the future….and life is worth the living…..just….because….He….lives!!” Thank you for sharing how only God can make us feel. Like we are rich in His spirit. Like we are happy….just because. I am feeling really thankful right now…for the things that matter! Thanks again, Edie. Happy THANKSgiving!!

  • Heather says:

    Beautifully expressed, Edie. “It’s my poverty of heart that scares me to death.” Yes and yikes. Charles Spurgeon riffs on Psalm 107:9 by saying “It is well to have longings, and the more intense they are the better. The Lord will satisfy soul-longings, however great and all-absorbing they may be. Let us greatly long for God will greatly give. . . .” [Faith's Checkbook November 20] May we see much grace in our week of thanks-giving and God bless you, Edie! – from an out west mom (you’ve heard of the left coast?) who appreciates you

  • Sandy toe says:

    Lovely post!!! Today, Edie, I blogged about my Thanksgiving runner that would be fun to do with your 28 guests!!!

    Happy Thanksgiving! Many of your posts this year have been a blessing to me!

    Sandy Toes

  • ruthie says:

    amen and thank you…..

  • katy says:

    Beautiful post. I am Lutheran too, heard about your site from Issues, etc. Such truth is painful and beautiful. Sort of like law and gospel. The law hurts, the Gospel heals and relieves the burdened heart.
    Just started reading Hammer of God by Bo Giertz. Found a few tears running down my face and I am only in the first few chapters. His Grace abounds.
    Thank you.

  • Oh, how I needed this…found out today how much my daughter’s braces were going to be and get so frustrated at times like this that in all of our years of marriage, we still aren’t to the point where we feel “comfortable” in our finances…always seem to be striving to save and watching it go hither and yon…but knowing, as you so perfectly stated, that it is at this point, this need to always look to Him, that it keeps us always looking to Him…and he always, ALWAYS meets the need, without us ever having to beg, borrow, or steal. :) Thank you for this very timely reminder. We are, indeed, very rich in what is important: His love but my soul can be very poor when it forgets.

  • Lisa says:

    Wow – thanks you for this!

  • Rhonda says:

    So so beautiful Edie…i love how Holy Spirit leads ur thots and words and thru u delivers God’s truest heart to us in a way we can chew it and swallow it. Your gift of writing and revealing your heart and struggles is so amazing! I am so blessed by your life and heart! Blessings to you and yours as you serve this holiday and draw out the beauty and destiny in each of your guests.

  • Angela says:

    This is exactly what I need to hear today. It truly touched my heart and reminded me that I need to thank the sovereign Lord for my present circumstances. Everything you shared was so meaningful and I particularly loved this – “And if we are wise, we will learn to thank Him for those things that remind us of our true condition: the very circumstances that break our hearts and cause us to despair.”
    Thank you,

  • Ashley says:

    Absolutely lovely.

  • Renee says:

    Thank you so much for putting into words exactly how I’ve been feeling lately. Exactly what my heart needed to hear.

  • Tammy says:

    That is beautiful! Thank you!

  • Fairy says:

    Beautiful, absolutely beautiful!

  • amy says:

    amen sister. i’ve been feeling these same things for a few months now. i need to focus more on the lord so that i can seek what he wants for our family and my life. glad i came online and saw your post today!

  • Mary says:

    Well said, Edie. Thank you!

  • Sarah C. says:

    Thank you!

  • katey says:

    Very powerful words and thoughts and so welcoming to read. Thank you for sharing your heart. Yes indeed truth was spoken here.

  • RD Shugart says:

    The truth eloquently written. Thank you for baring your soul (and mine)! So passionately brave and piercing. Blessings to you and yours today.

  • angela says:

    “It’s the poverty of my own heart that scares me to death. It’s the tally of hurts done against me that I keep record of and file away for later use.”

    These words sting. Because they speak to me.

    Thank you. No really, thank you.

  • Kristin says:

    Wow. Thank you so much for your honesty and wisdom. I am going to pass this on. Blessings to you.

  • Trudy K. says:

    Mercy indeed… thank you for your honesty Edie, it really gives courage. Courage accept God’s Mercy, forgive one’s self, and move onward in His Grace.

  • Amanda T. says:

    Amen. Words fail me and for you to put into words beautifully some of the truths in my heart wanting out…it’s just awesome to read it. And of course share on FB! :) Thank you for putting your heart out there!

  • Stephanie says:

    Wow. I couldn’t have said it better myself…it was eloquent in its honesty and simplicity. I needed to hear this. Thank you.

  • Janice says:

    I needed this today :)

  • Billie says:

    You put into words my thoughts of life. Wrote beautifully!

  • Diane Jaynes says:

    Edie, I have just now found your blog and just happen to see it in the Jan. 2012 Better Homes & Gardens. Just reading your postings, I feel Gods presence and at the same time THANKING him for placing you back in my life if it is just a blog. I have missed you. But I am excited!!!!!!

  • Lisa says:

    beautiful: This poverty of spirit that plagues me is the beginning of repentance. This is where I find Him.

  • Denice Erway says:

    yes… painful and hope filled

  • Janette says:

    In our weakness His Strength is found.

  • Jessica Burdick says:

    Beautifully written, I agree with every word. We chase opulent dreams while living impoverished lives. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Јe suis tombé sur ce poste paar mégarde еet je
    ne le regrette pas !!

  • rachel says:

    What a lovely post Edie, so glad I read it tonight it has made me really understand the value of letting go of ‘stuff and nonsense’ and making much more space for the Lord in our lives. Thank you. Rachel xx

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