It seems like everything takes money. You get a house. Then you need furniture, appliances, and electronics. A car. Then you need maintenance and insurance for the car. Kids - then clothes, food, childcare, and schooling for the kids.
I'm a single mother. In the past I've frequently felt like a failure because I couldn't give my kids what other parents were able to give theirs. The last time I felt that way, it involved a computer. Many of my children's peers had their own computers, but I could not afford to replace our family's dinosaur with something better.
Often, in circumstances like this, my own mother had helped me out with a gift or loan. But I didn't want to go that route again. Where could I turn?
I was disturbed enough by the situation to pray about it. Prayer has always brought me answers, although often it involves a surprise ending. I began contemplating the Lord's Prayer, and an interpretation of it in the textbook of Christian Science. The first line - "Our Father which art in heaven" - is rendered, "Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, pg. 16).
That was as far as I got, for the word Mother had jumped out at me. God is the original, self-sufficient, caretaking Mother of us all. If my own mother was good enough to ask about my needs, listen compassionately, be instantly ready with abundant gifts - what could I expect from God? I saw that, in fact, my mom's consistent generosity didn't come from her as a person; it resulted naturally from her reflection of infinite Love and joy-filled Life. My mother had done all she could to provide for me, even as I was doing all I could to provide for my own children. But God is perfect, infinite, omnipresent, and willing and able to provide for all Her children!
For me, this realization was a burst of light. Putting my desire for a computer into the picture, I knew that another aspect of good mothering involves timing. Mothers don't always give children exactly what they want, as soon as they ask for it. Sometimes there is an opportunity to encourage a child to grow more responsible, mature, appreciative. Likewise, spiritual growth - where we learn more about how God made us - is often required of adults so that we can see the gifts that are already available.
According to the Bible, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.... Submit yourselves therefore to God.... Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you" (James 4:3, 7, 8, New Revised Standard Version).
If we want to have God's gifts, something is required of us: to get close to God, in both what we want and what we aspire to. I examined my motives for wanting the new computer. I had to admit I was reacting to what I saw other parents doing more than considering what my children actually needed. Neither of the kids had even asked for a more advanced computer - they were perfectly happy with what we had. I realized I was imposing my own limited view of what we had on our family. This was what had made me unhappy.
So now it was time to regroup. I began to make a point of being grateful for all that we did have. I began opening my eyes to the joy, fun, and accomplishment the kids already expressed, and to the signs that our home was complete. I began to cultivate a deeper trust that God, my beloved Mother, would always provide for our needs and bless our right desires. That God's provision would be better than I could imagine. I regained my peace, and our family was happy again.
This was some time ago, and since then I haven't had to wrestle so much with that feeling of limitation about money. In fact, we're doing more fun things, and sharing more easily with others, than we did before. By the way, some months after I prayed about that computer situation, my income unexpectedly went up - just as the old dinosaur crashed for the last time. In the meantime, computer prices had dropped dramatically. Guess what? We got a new computer after all, without any stressful budgetary stretching. When we let our heavenly Mom take care of things, we're richer spiritually. And our needs are met, too.