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Thoughts on life by Teri McCarthy

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You Get What You Need

Posted by admin in November 14th, 2008
Published in Uncategorized

Mick Jagger kind of freaks me out these days. Not trying to be disrespectful to the Rolling Stones or anything, but in Texas they’d say, “He’s been rode hard and put up wet.” But my life kind of reflects the Rolling Stones’ hit, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Not that I take my life philosophy or theological foundations from Rolling Stones’ hits, but the chorus on that song really does ring true. You can’t always get what you want…but if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need.

When I was in my 20s I knew what I wanted in life. I wanted to get married, have six kids, live in the burbs with a two-car garage, a picket fence, and some premo autos in the drive. My Chinese students heard so much about the six babies thing that as a going away present they gave me six hand-carved wooden babies about an inch long each in a red silk box. Sweet. Now, don’t judge me ’cause I did love God! And I still do! But surely He didn’t care if I ended up with my dream ’cause I was having my daily devotions and tithing. Ain’t that enough?

By my 30s I realized that my chances of having that dream come true were slimming down. It was around this time that US News and World Report ran a story that a woman, with a college education, who was still single at age 30 had a greater chance of being killed by a terrorist than getting married for the first time. Stats don’t lie. Hmmm.

What made things so complicated for me was that in my 20s I was a missionary to China and didn’t meet many single Christian guys with a missions vision. In fact, 66% of missionaries on the field are single women and the ratio of single men to single women as full-time foreign missionaries is 1 to 5! So, you can see it was slim pickin’s out there. By the time I was in my 30s I was a missionary to Russia. Lots of cute guys there who were very attracted to my beautiful, shiny, blue…uh…passport! Not a good idea. I have always said that when a couple does not share a common vision they have a difficult time seeing eye-to-eye. I loved missions and knew that I was called to missions and I couldn’t find a missionary man to marry. Plain and simple.

Finally I found Mr. Right (shout out to Big D here!) but by the time I was married I was 35 years old. That six kids thing just wasn’t going to happen. Then I found out I couldn’t have kids. Now, I’m nearing 50 and I have a full understanding of why the Bible uses the “barren womb” as an illustration of things that are never satisfied (Proverbs 30). Look how many women are barren in the Old Testament stories: Sarah, Hannah, Rachael, Rebekah, Samson’s Mom. You can’t always get what you want…but if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need!

God, for whatever reasons, didn’t allow me to bear those six children. But when I married Big D I got his two kids in the deal. Sometimes getting what you need comes in unexpected packages. I found myself with these two children that are smart, beautiful, kind, intelligent, godly, hilariously funny, bright, talented and I had nothing to do with it. But I do have the privilege of enjoying all the benefits they offer. I remember the first time I met Lana our daughter. One look at her and I thought my heart would burst! Is that how new mommies feel when they hold their babies in their arms for the first time? I don’t know. Lance was so unguarded and accepting from the very first. I felt as if I had known him all my life. (I’ll never forget the initiation ceremony Lance on the way to Nanny’s house in the car!). I’ve traveled overseas with these kids (yes, without their Dad), I have had the honor of celebrating birthdays, graduations, weddings; I have had the joy of cooking for them and seeing them do their things. Then, these two amazing creatures marry and bring two more amazing creatures into my life. Now with grandsons Jack and Kempis I see my self surrounded with six children that I love more than words can say. All beautiful, all healthy, all serving God, all kind, all good, all amazing in each of his/her own way. And I get to be a part of this family. I see that God in His sovereignty has allowed me to participate in their lives and each moment with them is a joy I don’t take for granted.

I think about Naomi, who in my opinion is the real hero in the Book of Ruth. Naomi lost everything. She left home with her husband and two sons to avoid a famine in her village. She was a foreigner in a foreign land. Her husband dies. Her sons marry; her sons die–all without any grandchildren. Now there are no bloodlines to connect her to family. All is lost. She returns home and one daughter-in-law insists on going with her. They return to Naomi’s hometown in shame. Cursed. Barren. Poor. They appear to be very unlucky women. You know the story of the redeemer kinsman Boaz. He marries Ruth the daughter-in-law and they conceive a son. Ruth places the baby boy in Naomi’s arms and the Book of Ruth tells us, “Then the women of the village said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a next-of-kin; and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne him.’ The women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, ‘A son has been born to Naomi.'”

I imagine Naomi parading that little guy up and down the streets of her village saying, “Look what God has done for me! Look how my God has blessed me and given me the desires of my heart.” Now, you all know that Naomi could’ve complained and nitpicked. She could’ve said, “That ain’t my blood kin! I want my own baby. He ain’t got my nose or my chin.” She could’ve been bitter, but she wasn’t. She realized that you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find…you get what you need! And when it comes through God’s hand it is exceedingly and abundantly above and beyond anything we could ever think or imagine. That little grandson of Naomi’s became Jessie the father of David the King of Israel. Ain’t too shabby being his grandma. And then of course because she loved the one she was given, she also got to be in the lineage of Jesus Christ the Messiah–the Son of God! Remember? The women of the village named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David. I’d be willing to bet that Naomi got what she needed. I know that I certainly did. God gives us good gifts, even if it wasn’t exactly what we asked for because it is from His hand we know it is what is best for us. Peace.

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40. Debbie said,
December 4th, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Terri,
You ARE a mother! What you feel and know in your heart and so eloquently wrote about those children/adults now, is exactly what I feel for my children. The only difference is the lack of morning sickness. You are so good.
Debbie Colvert

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