I want to thank God for always providing for my needs.
There is never a day that goes by that He hasn't given something to me.
The past month I have really been struggling with money. I haven't been worried about the day to day cost of living; it's the future that's had me afraid. I see all these bills and things piling up in my head; the amount that we're spending is growing higher and higher.
I spent two days earlier this month worrying myself sick. I couldn't sleep at night, and in the morning I didn't want to get out of bed. I would think that I had the total of everything we had spent, and then something would drop into my head. There's another $50 I forgot. It was never a fear that we didn't have the money today, it was a fear that because we were spending it all today, tomorrow we were going to be left with nothing.
I kept quoting the scripture to myself Philippians 4:19 "And my God shall supply all your needs..." I know in my heart that it's true, but I think my logical brain takes over, and I see the facts. What happens if...?
God has never let me or my family down.
When Titus and I were first married, he lost his job and didn't find work for almost a year. We never in that time were without. God always provided everything. We still could eat out for dinner occasionally, and we could buy movies, or toys for our daughter. We never borrowed money from anyone. God came through for us every time we needed something.
A month ago our pastor issued a challenge to us, The Freedom Challenge. Each of us needed to make a giving goal for the next 6 months. The church has been behind in the finances for too long, and our pastor said we were through with that. We are not supposed to be living paycheck to paycheck, or offering to offering anymore.
There is a giant thermometer on one of the walls in the auditorium with the word Freedom over the top. Under it is a block for every family unit in the church. As people have turned in their goals, blocks get colored in. The thermometer has two sides to it, the goal side, and the side that money is actually coming in. In order to have our church move forward, we need to bring in $200,000 in the next 6 months. Right now our goal bar is a little over $100,000.
As I listened to the message, to be authentic with you, I was very skeptical. Our church has been struggling for so long, and to me it always seems like it's the same people carrying it along. Only a little over half of the church has been giving, and probably the half that isn't giving isn't even sitting there listening to the message. So how are things ever going to change?
Rather than waiting for other people to change, we need to look at ourselves. There is always room for growth. It's so easy to judge other people, but do we judge ourselves so easily? The change has to start with me.
When we were challenged to come up with an amount, I knew mine would be different than my husband. They say you can't out give God; well, I can't out give my husband. God made him with a very generous heart, and I believe he has the spiritual gift of giving.
I love to give ... but I don't always love to give when it hurts me. I trust my husband, and I try to go along with his plans even when it goes against everything in me. Sometimes I may hold a small grudge, or I'm waiting for that moment when I can say, see.. I told you. But that moment never comes.
God always blesses us when we are obedient.
When I looked at the Freedom challenge, I wanted to see what we could give, not what we should give. This isn't something I realized until later. My husband had an amount he felt like we were supposed to give, and fear took over me. I kept thinking of all the things we were going to have to do without. There was no way we could afford to give that.
I have to admit, I was even a little angry. I thought, GREAT! The church isn't going to be living paycheck to paycheck anymore, but it's going to be that way for us now. It sounds horrible to me now that I was so selfish at the time. But sometimes our fears bring out the worst in us.
Since we have started giving towards our goal, money has been coming in from all different places.
I remember one time I was complaining to God about our money, and how the only time we ever get blessed is through my husband's job. And how much extra can a job really give? A paycheck that comes twice a month, maybe a bonus once or twice a year?
When we got our heating bill from February the first week of March, I was blown away. The gas bill totaled $39.96. We don't have level pay for our gas bill. When it's cold outside, we pay dearly for it. February has historically been our most expensive month. We have no idea what happened to make it so inexpensive. I thought it must be an error, and we would pay even more for March. But March came and it was fairly normal.
During the week that I was completely losing my head, and worrying for days straight about money, we received that bill, and my husband's paychecks were altered for his raise from January. I was so stressed out over the money, and when it actually came down to it, the checking account balance was exactly the same as before all those bills and things kept adding up. I felt so childish that I had wasted so much energy over something that God was in absolute control over.
Half-way through March we got a check from our credit card. We finally cashed in our points, and received a large amount of money from them.
You can never out-give God. This past weekend, my husband received a large bonus from a job he'd been working on, and today his boss called him into the office to put the paperwork through for a very large raise. That job that I said couldn't provide that much extra opportunities for blessings is proving me very wrong.
I just want to encourage you, if you ever feel like God is leading you to give something and you're afraid of what you'll have left, give it anyways. My God is so big, and blesses beyond anything you could ever imagine.