Friday, April 24, 2009

The God Chronicles - 04/24/09

It makes a girl feel good about herself when others encourage her. You can encourage me in this journey (life, blogging, etc.) by participating in The God Chronicles.

Click here to get the backround story of TGC.

Click here to get the details on how to join in.

For a number of years, we struggled financially. Many of our struggles could be attributed to living beyond our means. I was beginning to feel hopeless and helpless, that creditors would never stop calling.

I had prayed about our finances before, but it was always more of a "rescue me" prayer filled with hope that God would provide through a surprise source of funding. And many, many times He did. But this time, my prayer was one of repentance. I was desperate for God to change our financial situation in a permanent way, and I knew that would require sacrifice.

God provided me with a friend who had experienced "being broke" in a way I could never understand. She was (and is) incredibly wise in money management and budgeting. She took many hours of her time to build me a budget that worked - within our means - and had me paying off the debt we had accrued over the years. Though I felt we couldn't "afford" it, I had her build in a section for tithing in that budget.

Some of the rules of this new budget included making a meal plan, NEVER eating out, praying over every purchase, shopping several stores, paying bills first and groceries last, using cash only for things like entertainment and beauty. It wasn't easy, but it was what I knew God had called me to do, and I was finally ready to obey. Thanks to frugal living and following the rules, we dug ourselves out of the hole. And because of God's miraculous provision for months on end, even though our budget showed a red $800 at the bottom of the "estimated" column, with all bills paid the "actual" column each month showed a beautiful black $0!

We decided this financial obedience thing had something behind it. So when God called us to pay for a friend to have a sitter once a week for a few hours, we created a new budget line for that expense. The red number grew bigger, yet the black number held steady at $0.

Next step - move from "giving" to the church when there was extra to "tithing" to the church and considering the rest our extra. The red number grew. I kept on with the crazy grocery shopping in four stores and saving money for three months to get my hair coloured. The black number remained.

Then, the most unusual thing happened... A man who we barely knew took my husband to a quiet corner of the church one Sunday and handed him a card. It was a fuel card. No - NOT a gift card for fuel, but a credit card for fuel. He and his wife had been praying about who to bless, and God brought us (near strangers) to their minds. The credit card, he said, was ours to use for the next year. Wow, God, you are wild! Given the vehicle we have, changing our fuel costs to zero brought that red number waaaaaay down. I am not even surprised that the bottom of the page still reads $0 at the end of the month. So humbled, thankful, and blessed, but not surprised.

God's love is so extravagant. He provided a blessing to help us out of a nasty situation that we deserved to be in. The definition of grace.

Let me just say, when we feel that gentle nudging to provide for someone else's needs, whether it be money, a meal, coats, childcare, prayer...we have learned to stop and listen. Not every thing we do is rewarded in turn. Not every dollar we put out is replaced. In fact, sometimes we sacrifice what we want and what we think we need in order to obey. But never, ever have we suffered, because it's impossible to suffer when you have the joy and peace of being in the centre of God's will.

God has trusted us with His money, and nothing gives Him greater pleasure than watching us give it away. Just try it, and bask in the warmth of His delighted smile.

The God Chronicles Participants

1. Bobbie

2. Judith

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1 comment:

  1. Tyler I am so proud of you. I know what it is like to have to go without cause it is a want and not a need. I am so happy that you have been blessed with a fuel card. You and your family deserve so much happiness.


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