When I was younger, our family collected Ty Beanie Babies. And when I say we collected them, I mean we were slightly* obsessed with them. (*you can omit this word.)
My mom led the charge. Her love for completing a set of something shone through and we were fixated on finding them. Collectors stores. Gift shops. Parking lots. Hospitals. Florists. The back of the school bus. (Yes, I said the back of the school bus. I have a vivid memory of purchasing a retired Ty spider off of a classmate with a wad of crisp twenty dollar bills.)
Once I was made aware of these stuffed animals (which were adorable, let’s be honest), the hunt was on. I could spot a Ty tag a mile away. I could list stats about the editions, the text styles, their value. (The thought of not being able to get our hands on the limited Princess Di bear was unbearable to my 12 year old heart.)
As soon as we started looking for them, the animals were found faster than our change purses could keep up with. I ate more Happy Meals in 1996 than in my whole life put together in attempts to get all 10 Teenie Beanies. The more we looked for them, the more aware of them we became. The more we focused on finding them, the greater our abilities then became, often times finding them in spots others would overlook.
Isn’t that true about God and His goodness? I live a life that is remarkably laced with His blessings, faithfulness and trustworthiness, yet am guilty of overlooking it on a regular basis. But here’s the thing I’m learning – the more I become intentional to search for His hand in my life, well, much like the Ty Beanie Babies, the more I see Him everywhere. Our lives are woven with His promises of hope, of faithfulness, of presence. And just because I forget to look for His goodness doesn’t mean it’s not there. The Beanie Babies were always there but it wasn’t until we decided to collect them did we notice them.
He is not a God who is hard to find. Tragically I forget to seek Him, forget to collect the promises He has sprinkled all around me. I forget to look back at the “collector’s book” and learn all of the nuggets of information that it holds. He’s given me all the lessons, the facts and truth of His value. It’s in the Bible where I am reminded of this unarguable truth – He can be trusted.
To this day I can still spot a Beanie Baby a mile away. I can tell you exactly which ones the 25 cents bin holds during a garage sale drive-by and can sniff one out from a thrift store parking lot. And unlike the Beanie Babies, God’s value never plummets with time or upon mass production. His richness and worth increases every day in my life as I am tested, tried and make my best attempts of survival. All I need to do is look for Him, seek His goodness, and be intentional to collect as much of Him as possible, taking note of how much of His presence surrounds me each day. I want to be someone who can’t help but notice Him in the big and small moments of each day.
What’s it for you? What do you always see that others might miss? A stray paperclip? A dandelion in a field? The crazy amounts of Walgreen’s everywhere? (Or after 24 hours in Chicago, the amount of Starbucks drive thru’s everywhere? I am not kidding you, there is one on every corner. My mind is blown.) Let’s put something in our path each day that will remind us to look for Him because I guarantee it, once we start looking for His hand in our lives, we will see it everywhere and it will change us forever. (Pick up a Teenie Beanie Baby the next time you see one and slip it into your car. Use it as a reminder to seek Him each day!)
Oh, and yes, Cali has found a liking for Teenie Beanie Babies too. (That or her mom cannot leave a garage sale without providing them a new home.)