I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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.
We lived on almost double our present income about 12-15 years ago. But it came with a price....the price of "selling out" my time and short changing my physical and spiritual self. Now this is not anything to do with working vs. stay at home mom, so please don't read into that way.....this is about me working nights in a nightclub/bar atmosphere, dragging myself home at 2-3 AM and then being hagged out the next day. This stole time from me, time that I can never get back. And keeping it real and honest, due to lack of sleep, there were times where I am sure I was snappy/short with my children and not the mom God called me to be.
The "bar" atmosphere was not a healthy positive place to be, but I justified working there with the money I brought home. It "allowed" us to go on vacations when we wanted. We could shop for whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted......we satisfied pretty much all of our wants as well as ALL of our needs were met....and then some.
Now, this was in my infant stages of meeting Jesus....and it was then that things just started to not feel so "right" with me working in this industry. I was mocked when I spoke of my new relationship with Christ my many of my co-workers, but it didn't matter to me. I often found myself talking about God to people sitting at my bar. Some would listen, some would even venture to share their experiences/relationship with God.......but most would down that drink and
On one hand, I felt that towards the end, I was a teeny light in a dark place. I stayed for a couple more years, but the conviction grew heavier in my heart. At first, I started cutting down my hours to help me with this conviction. But when I got pregnant with my daughter, which is a miracle story I will soon share.........Josh and I prayed about it and we made the decision for me to leave and stay home with the children for good. Now at first this just seems like, OK.....big deal. You quit your part time job. Yeah, well this was close to cutting our income about 40%. So think about taking your weekly income and slicing 40% off of it to now live off of, you can see what I am talking about.
Of course during this whole time.......the Enemy was trying to discourage us. Thoughts of losing our home, not having "enough" to live the way we were used to......he kept trying to drive thoughts of failure, despair and fear into our minds. Of course he was doing that so that it would take our focus off of God. The enemy's ultimate job is to bring doubt of God's promises.
So we did it. And yes, it took a lot of adjusting.....it took a lot of discipline......it took A LOT of coupons, bargain shopping and a lot of creativity....but we are still here. We didn't face doom and gloom, we didn't lose our home.......we still have food in our bellies, a roof over our head, and my children still get to buy new clothes and sneakers every year (which seems comparable to a car payment......have you priced basketball sneakers these days? YIKES!)
Do we live week to week most of the time? Yup.
Do we have to make payment arrangements sometime? Yes sirree
Do I sometimes wish this yoke would be broken off so that we could relax once in a while in the financial dept? Absolutely.
Do I regret for one minute the choice(s) we made? Nope.
The Bible tells of so many stories where God uses periods of great stress, financial strain and troubles to perfect His will and refine His people. God ways are not our ways, so we have to grasp and trust that God often uses these trials/setbacks to deepen our faith and redirect us to focus our energies on living our lives completely for Him.
I know that the conviction to leave that job was His "refining" moment (as opposed to *my* defining moment). God needed to burn off what I (we) needed. This refining was needed to bring me to a new level of character that was needed so that I could walk in the next movement of my life. It was preparing me and developing me to where He needs me to be.
My second Philippians reference is
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. ~Phil 4:19
I'll keep this short and to the point. I can tell you that before I had no worries about bills and finances because I relied/trusted in my job to provide.
Now, I have an even more worry-free state of mind....because I rely and trust in Jesus Christ. I know He is for me and not against me. I am following His Word.....and even in these tough economic times, in the world as well as in my own checking account.....and giving back a portion of what He brings to us in faith. Faith that He has never has and never will forsake us.
This was so like God.......we had N's party and dipped into our budget more than expected this weekend. We also had a few other expenses come up unexpectedly. I mentioned that we heard an amazing message about tithing/giving and we felt it placed on our heart to give even more at the service this weekend. I knew that we had bills to pay this week.....and this was dipping even deeper into our dwindling bank account. I will not sit here and say that I gave ever-so-cheerfully as God wants us to do....I think I actually had my offering white knuckled at one point. But we did it......and I knew it was the right thing to do. And after the blood flow went back to my fingertips, I did realize that it was a privilege to give, and ultimately.....it was His first! He is the one who keeps Josh employed and the blessings that come into our lives.
Long story short......we got an unexpected check in the mail yesterday.
You guessed it.
**if you are not familiar with my blessed $200 stories, you can check them out
I encourage you today.....to rest in the comfort of knowing that God will always supply your needs. Even when the world paints a picture of doom and darkness, look UP and see the SONshine.
He loves you so much!