(this is a re-post with follow-up. i’ve got stewardship on the brain, so this post was a natural to include in this series.)
A couple of years ago, just before Thanksgiving, Beth Moore ( of Living Proof Ministries) asked a very interesting question on her blog. I answered it in a way that surprised me. So when Brian asked me to write something for the stewardship campaign I felt a nudge to let you in on my answer.
What are you grateful for that you NEVER thought you would
be grateful for?
Well. That one got me thinking. The usual stuff is easy – health, home, family, Jesus. All the pat answers. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being grateful for those things. But what, in my life, that would normally be viewed as a negative could I turn on it’s head and view as something to be grateful for?
If Beth had asked this question in years past, my answer would have been my infertility that led us to adopt Ginny. Never in a thousand lifetimes would I trade. Ginny has been a huge blessing. I can never thank God enough.
But when Beth asked this question it was 2009…..Alright. The thing I never thought I’d be thankful for in 2009 was that my husband lost his job in August. August 4th as a matter of fact. On my mother’s birthday.
I was so sour about it at first. He was my Bible study partner on the way to and from work for 5 years. We loved our commute together. So I was seriously bummed when that ended. I said all the right things. “God will take care of us.” “It will be okay” and I meant them. But deep inside, even while I knew God would take care of us, I was resentful. And to be honest, I kinda of imagined that God taking care of us would mean us scraping by on ramen noodles and finding ways to cut corners on everything.
I envisioned a life of constant restriction. Nothing extra to enable us to help others. No joy. Just getting by.
Apparently that is not what God had in mind.
Even just the first 4 months after the layoff was filled with blessings. First, to hear my man say that he wanted to continue his tithe through the end of 2009 AS IF HE STILL HAD HIS JOB. Wow. I don’t know how to be grateful enough to God for sending me Martin. When I think of the background we both come from. The sin, the darkness of our respective pasts……..and now to see Martin, how much he really does love God, and know that he is the real spiritual head of our home. That in itself is a blessing.
We grew in our relationship. Our relationship had gotten lazy. We depended on that commute to keep us connected. We had to learn all over again to find (or MAKE) time for each other.
Martin got to spend lots of time with our baby girl, which was very good for them both.
Four members of our family extended family were sick and needed lots of time and care in the Fall of 2009. If Martin had still had a job they likely would have had to let him go because of all the family emergencies we went through. We never had to face that though.
God sent a job opportunity to Martin that he never would have been able to take on if he had been tied to the old routines. It changed our whole dynamic.
So spiritual growth, learning, new patterns, time with family……But what about money? How did we get by? did God provide?
The big bug-bear. The nightmare of all who are “downsized” in this economy. God had sent us a clear message that we were not to worry. There were two (not one, but TWO) out of the blue, un-asked for, financial gifts to our family that, are you ready for this? enabled us to continue our tithe all the way to the end of 2010 as if Martin still had his old job ! When the checks came, the first thing on Martin’s heart and mind was the tithe. Wow. After all I have been through in my life and put others through, to finally be married to a real Christian MAN OF GOD is just blessing me right down to the tips of my boots. So there you go. In 2009 I was thankful that my husband lost his job.
Well since we were so ultra faithful in 2009 and trusted God for his good provision, did we receive a huge blessing in 2010? Absolutely! I got laid off in October of 2010.
No, I’m not being sarcastic. We got a chance to trust God to provide again. I’ll be honest, we did look at that money already set aside for the tithe for 2010….shook our heads and said “Nope. That money already belongs to God.”
But it was sitting there, tempting us. So we decided to go ahead and instead of writing a check out once a month, we just moved it all to the charity account. That helped a lot. With a combination of blind faith, deliberate actions and lots of heart to heart discussion my little family got through a couple of years that look rough on the ledger books. But in my heart, these have been three very good years.
We have become much more focused on relationships. with God, each other, family and friends. Life is not about presents, or activities anymore. We’ve had a spiritual attitude adjustment.
Now, if you ask me about my life, I will generally say “I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams.”