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Philippians X 2

I am not huge on talking about money.....mainly, because I don't ever have any to speak about. HA! But it wasn't always that way and I wanted to share.......and two verses from Philippians help:

Philippians 4:11-12
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 run walk away (with no tip!)

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.

$200

**if you are not familiar with my blessed $200 stories, you can check them out
here
here
and
here

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!

xox
*~Michelle~*

26 comments:

Sassy Granny ... said...

What a worthy encouragement it is, too! And what an amazing testimony. It's one thing for believers to share about God's faithfulness in theory. It's an altogether different matter to flesh it out in the everyday.

What an awesome God!

Blessings,
Kathleen

Deb ! Frugal Living And Having Fun! said...

God is a "Good Accountant"!! "smile" Loved your comments. you know I'm with you all the way. We lost 30,000 overnight!! lol We haven't gone without, we have more than we need! ~ Not to say some months are a little "tight", but something always seems to work out!! You could always come visit on my blog and get a few 'extra' coupons!! lol

love,
Deb

Mich said...

"It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, who is poor." - Lucius Annaeus Seneca

I've been studying this very issue. It is hard to have faith on those "tight" days, yet so rewarding when He rains blessings upon His children.

Angela said...

Oh girl..thank you thank you thank you for sharing this..I'm off to read the other posts..

Heart2Heart said...

Michelle,

Isn't it nice when you put your faith and trust in God and He just provides the way out?

I too, have had very much the same experiences with you and unexpected checks showing up! God is good and I will never second guess what He is capable of.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

~*Michelle*~ said...

"It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, who is poor." - Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Oh Mich.....def. going on my fridge! LOVE it!

Joey said...

Awesome...I have walked by faith and not by sight many times. I seem to be closer to God when I am not so independant. Fasting really puts me in a place of humbleness. I really have only one need...Him. Thanks for sharing.

Becca~TimeWellSpent said...

What a wonderful testimony!

We fretted and fretted about having me stay home full time. We finally made the decision almost two years ago. We're still working to pay of dept. and we have times we could do better with our money but the Lord has provided without my added income and I feel so blessed to be homeschooling right now!

Daveda said...

Michelle, this is such a wonderful post. One all can relate too. HE is our provider, in every way. Many times we think we know this, but don't really learn it until we are faced with changes, as you talked about. Changes that require us to depend on Him. Blessings to you :)

Tea With Tiffany said...

I could write a similar story of going from working to becoming a stay at home mom. Yes, God provides.

And I loved reading how God changed your heart. I know He used your testimony for His good while you were working in the bar.

Thank you so much for sharing and encouraging others. It worked wonders.

Hugs,

Tiffany

Denise said...

Such a fantastic post, bless you.

rcubes said...

We must be good stewards of His blessings, not idolizing those blessings, especially money. God is indeed good all the time. He provides in His perfect time but we must learn to trust that. Our own self worries don't bring us anywhere. But when we give it to Him and completely trust in Him, we can be rest assured that we are already taken cared off. Thank you for visiting me. Blessings to you.

Alicia, The Snowflake said...

Amen! We have struggled so much over the last few years, but God has provided all of our needs and even some of our wants. I hope to never take His provision for granted. Thank you for that great reminder!

christy rose said...

What an encouraging story Michelle! God is so good and you give Him all the glory!

Rick and Monique Elgersma said...

I'm so glad to find you and thanks for the encouragement--this day that was important for me. I loved how you integrated scriptural references right into the conversation, even without a reference. I love that type of conversation.

E @ Scottsville said...

I live "week to week" too. =0)

My daughter told me this week "I sure wish we were rich." I told her that if we used to be poor, she'd feel that we WERE rich. I said "So try imagining that we used to be super poor and couldn't afford anything, then you'll feel RICH now!"

It's all about perspective, isn't it? =0)

Karen said...

I'm finally catching up on blog-reading from my trip!

What a great post! I'm glad that you are happy with your lifestyle. True, it doesn't work for everyone, but it's so important to do what we feel the Lord wants for us. That's the key to being happy in life.

And I love tithing miracles! I hear quite a lot of them and they always make me smile.

Beth in NC said...

Oh Michelle, what an awesome testimony! Praise God! I love the way He provides. You sow, you reap. That is wonderful!

amanda said...

LOVE IT!!! thanks for being honest. my kids are all awake upstairs though so i have to keep this short before they jump through the ceiling!! :0) praying!

Deborah Ann said...

God will reward you big time for making the decision to make more time for your family. But He sure used you for His glory in the bar. I think bar patrons are the best people to witness to. They don't have the same hang-ups as the non-bar people. They're more open to the gospel. They don't act highfalutin or stuffy. Maybe because some of them are at the lowest point in their lives? I don't know. But God is using you bigtime, that much is obvious. You are a gifted writer!

Helen said...

I was worried about finances when it came time to stay home and take care of my mom. But the money that I saved by cooking many more meals at home, not driving, not needing professional clothes and dry cleaning, not needing to buy supplies for my classroom really turned out to be more than I expected. My husband also got an unexpected promotion and raise at the time. Being home has actually raised my family's standard of living (I consider home cooked meals and stuff to be of a higher standard than take out :-)

Bridget Chumbley said...

God is good... and when we Trust Him, anything is possible!

Thanks for sharing, Michelle.

R. Holloway said...

Nice. Great post.

katdish said...

Some lessons are learned the hard way, but those are the ones that stick aren't they?

Great lesson on trusting God.

Anne L.B. said...

I always leave your blog smiling. You're a great inspiration, Michelle! I loved this post.

Sarah Salter said...

Hey Michelle! Some months ago, I was window shopping with a group of girlfriends. My budget was very tight and I knew I couldn't afford to buy anything, but I was enthusiastically giving my opinions to my girlfriends as they made their selections. One of the men working in the store walked up to me and said, "Ma'am, you're not going to buy anything?" And he seemed quite puzzled. I answered, "No, sir. I don't need anything. I've got my memories." He walked away shaking his head. But honestly, the memories of that day are far more valuable than anything my girlfriends bought that day.

Kudos on recognizing that God's blessings are far greater than money can buy! :-)

 

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