I talked to a good friend a few weeks ago about our financial struggles because she has also been living on faith for some time. She shared with me some of her "Ebenezer" moments where God provided for her family. She has come to the point where she doesn't question, she just prays. I want to be like that. I want to be able to say, like Paul: "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:10).
But I'm getting there. I see and feel Him molding and forming me. I've learned this week to be inventive with the food we do have. I'm relearning how to wash dishes by hand, since we don't have any dishwasher tablets. I'm learning to be conservative with gas again. I'm re-learning what a true need is, not just what I think a need is. I've discovered again how God provides immediately to our needs. The same night I was talking with my friend about how we needed milk and bread to get through the week, God was already at work moving to provide. I got a phone call the next day from our church secretary that there was something for me up front at the church. When I got there, there was a Walmart sack with three loaves of GOOD bread, two gallons of milk, a gift card and some cash. God provides. He is always on time.
Then came Christmas and God truly blessed us through our families. I was able to buy myself clothes for the first time in a long time. And then before I knew it, despite my best efforts to be frugal, the money was gone. So here we are again wondering how to get through...stretching our resources to their tightest, praying that nothing crazy happens that would overdraw our account.
I'm trying desperately to find an online teaching job. I have applied and even interviewed at a few places, but so far nothing has solidified. Dwayne is working so hard and has a good job with a lot of potential, but right now he is at the low end of the totem pole. We're also trying to sell our car so that we can decrease our outgo. This will be hard on us to go down to one car again, but I know if God allows it to sell, He'll provide a way for us to manage with one vehicle.
There are so many things on my heart. I'm asking God to rescue us from this. To change us or change our circumstances. He has put on our hearts to add more children to our family, but we need resources to do that: a house with a third bedroom, a van so we could transport everyone, money to feed these hungry mouths...
It's all crazy isn't it? And yet deep in my spirit there is peace. Peace that my Daddy is here. Peace that it is all going according to the plan He ordained before the creation of the world. Peace that He hasn't left us and that the desires of my heart are holy and good.
I have felt so much persecution about our finances over the years. So many people just want to fix us. I have to laugh a little, because if everyone could see our budget and know our hearts, they would know that our situation isn't based upon bad decisions on our part. I can honestly say as I look back over the last 7 years of my life that I wouldn't change anything. Every financial decision we've made has been made with prayerfulness and the best information we had at the time. Sometimes in retrospect we would have done something differently, but hindsight is always 20/20 right? We can't know all things right now.
So why am I sharing all of this? I guess part of me wants to be real with myself, with my readers. This is who we are. I'm tired of being ashamed of it. I also want to look back and remember my Ebenezers. I want to encourage others who are going through the same things as us. God does have a good plan! He tells us that in His word! He is faithful! He is just. He sees us and hasn't left us! What great joy we have in that. There is no joy apart from this knowledge of Him.
So, this that we are going through is hard. Very hard. But I know it is purifying us. I know that God has allowed this in our lives for a holy purpose. I know He wants us to give Him all of our money. Yes, you heard me right. It isn't ours. He gives everything we have to us. He wants us to stop compartmentalizing it and giving it percentages and making it a line item and realize that every good and perfect gift comes from above. From Him. From HIM.
I want to get that too, Jesus. It all is yours. Freely I receive and freely You give. Everything belongs to You.
And this is how good He is: last night I was praying that He would show us the way He is leading us, that He would answer our practical questions as to how and when we should do certain things, some of them impending. I felt great peace as I talked to Him and knew He heard me and would respond. This morning I got a text from a friend who said that God laid it on her heart for me: "So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth" Hosea 6:3. God knew I needed affirmation and He placed that scripture on a friend's heart specifically for me. Isn't He lovely? Oh Lord that I wouldn't doubt Your love. I believe it but I want to walk in it all the time. Help me in my weakness Lord!
Press on Beloved. Press on.
(PS-I intend to post my thoughts regarding the new year, but this post seemed more impending and necessary at the moment.)