My clock is telling me that today is turning into tomorrow, which means I should be hiding behind closed eyes, but I’m hen-pecking away at the keyboard on my phone. I’m yawning. It would take too much energy to crawl out of bed and reach for my laptop that is no more than 3 feet from me. And my body is heavy. But I can’t sleep until I tell you about something amazingly cool. I tried to promise God that I’d tell you everything in the morning at a decent hour. He told me that was a nice try but that I best be getting my pecking finger ready to bust it out tonight. Peck. Yes, Sir. Peck. Peck.
It seems hyper personal to discuss money. And, frankly, we learned it was just good manners to not do it. I’ve argued with Jesus over the personal nature of this post for a solid week now. Basically, He told me to get over myself and just give Him the glory.
Peck. Peck. Yes, Sir. Peck.
Money has been tight since the husband went away. I realize I am fortunate in that he is still providing for our needs and bills, even though he isn’t here. (I’ve met and talked to so many women with deadbeat men on the other end of this nightmare, and it does make me so thankful for a man that, though absent emotionally and physically, is still present financially). BUT. I say all that to say, money just became tighter. The Cliff’s Notes version is that I rid myself of using and adding to any and all means of credit due to heavy conviction that I had been (and still am) dealing with. Credit cards had been a go-to for me if a grocery bill needed a little extra coverage or if my van needed a quick fillup. And I stopped. Cold turkey. Also, the belt on the cash flow tightened up several notches just by details that come with people living in different places. Plus, I’ll give credit to Satan. He likes to complicate things and worm his way in to try and throw us off our game, and He spared my checkbook and nerves no mercy.
There were many days and nights that my prayers were for glitches in the bank computer system just so that certain checks wouldn’t bounce. I don’t know if God is in the business of hot check coverage, but I know He’s in the business of miracles.
Since being hurtled into this new normal, I have been blessed and received gift cards in the mail. Checks written for exactly the amount needed to cover a bill. A money wire. Meals bought by friends. A Walmart card slipped quietly to me by a sweet lady at church on a sweet Sunday. And utility bills miraculously written for less than seems utilitarianly possible.
God has been good.
And, really, for the first time in my life, I’m playing witness and receiver to not only the beauty of the Body of Christ, but to modern day miracles. People say God doesn’t work that way anymore? Then they don’t know my God.
He showed up at Walmart just last week. Yes. Walmart. At the time, I had exactly $88 in my checking account, which somehow needed to cover a necessary trip to the grocery store, a tank of gas, the cost for a Bible study book, and a ticket to an event that was probably not a must, but that I felt was something that I needed to do. Exactly….the math doesn’t add up. No matter how many times you chew $88 up and spit it out on paper.
God decided He didn’t really care about my frail accounting attempts.
And I’m so glad I let Him do His thing.
Or I would have missed out on a 2012 miracle of widow’s oil multiplication.
Surely you’ve heard the story from 2 Kings 4. The widow woman was about to lose her sons to slavery to a debt collector, when she turned to the prophet Elisha for help. He guided her through a miracle of God which instructed her in filling countless jars, bowls, and jugs with oil. Precious oil that had been multiplied from only the droplets she had remaining in her own small bottle. With the haul that she was then able to sell, she paid her debts and released her children from the sentence of slavery that had been dooming them. God came through. Not early by any means. And not late. But right on time.
I don’t know much about oil other than I like to eat stuff fried to smithereens in the stuff. But I do know my grocery bill.
And like a fine oiled (smile) machine, I’ve been running my buggy through the conveyor belt checkout aisles each week and forking over $120. No joke. If you were a gambler, my receipt would be a sure bet every time. The kids and I have a system of what we eat and when we eat it and when we buy laundry soap and when we buy toothpaste…and we have it down pat. $120. It’s an art, really.
But, I only had $88. With a list of other stuff that needed to be done, too. $88 is pretty close to $120. Until it’s not.
I put off the trip as long as I could because I was dreading it. Almost anguish. But, we were down to meal choices of stick butter and ranch dressing or a can of tunafish that expired in 2005 that I keep only for posterity.
I spent time in prayer before I went, claimed the widow’s oil story, and in kindergarten faith asked that it would be just as such for me. I believe in mustard seed faith, but, in all honesty, I had nowhere else to go but God.
I had thoughts of pruning our list way down. Could we get by on 2 gallons of milk that week instead of 3? Maybe we didn’t really need cheese dip to eat with taco night. And did I really need my favorite brand of paper towels?
After walking in a slight panic through a few aisles, I settled down and was overwhelmed with the need to shop as usual. Fill the list. Cheese dip. Coffee and creamer. Even the Diet Mt. Dews. Fill the list.
And so I did. I shopped our $120.
And slowly pushed my buggy to checkout. Whispered a prayer and forced myself to remember to breathe.
That’ll be $66.43, Ma’am.
That’ll be $66.43.
Um. Uh. Stammer. Stutter. Look bewildered and confused.
I fumbled around dumbstruck for the sweet Sunday gift card. Minus $25.
Your total is now $41.43.
I paid and grabbed the receipt like it was made of gold. I searched it for any clue as to how my very predictable bill was just reduced by half. Couldn’t find a discrepancy on the thing. Prices looked normal. But the total was $41.43. It did not make sense. Like drops of oil filling countless vessels.
After picking my chin off the cold Walmart tiles, I moved toward the car. Tears streaming. My God had just multiplied my oil. Because I asked Him to. And because He loved me enough to do it.
You say my God doesn’t work miracles? Again, I say you don’t know my God.
That was just last week; not even 7 days fresh. And here’s the math (if you care about stuff like that):
Groceries — $41.43
Bible Study book — $16.00
Event ticket — $10.00
Gas — $20.00
TOTAL — $87.43
Yep. I had $88 even.
God is the coolest ever.
And before you worry about us, like I know my parents who hang around here do, the husband surprisingly dropped a few extra hundred dollars in my account over the weekend. And bought me a new phone.
I know…I was as surprised as you.
Each night, one of the prayers of thanksgiving that I pray with the boys is that of provision. I’m so honored that my boys are first-hand witnesses to God’s real miracles of faith. They are watching God be very present and real in our lives, and I’m thrilled about it, as I’m sure the widow was. Her sons fetched the containers to be filled. My boys helped drag the macaroni-and-cheese boxes off the shelves.
God is real, my friends. And He is real to real people like you and me. I’m not super holy. And I’m about as basic as they come. I sometimes say bad words and watch stuff on tv that isn’t ok. I let my kids play some violent video games, and I like to have a glass of wine or a margarita when I’m out at dinner. I’ve chosen to watch American Idol over reading my Bible, and I have a bad habit of running my mouth. So, I’m red-blooded proof that He doesn’t just show up to the super-awesome Bible beaters.
Because stuff like $66 Walmart bills doesn’t happen to girls like me.
But it does.
God just says Trust me.
And then we wait and watch Him show up in ridiculously amazing ways.
If you’ll hold on to me for dear life, says God, I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know me and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw a party. I’ll give you long life, give you a long drink of salvation. —-Psalm 91:14-16 (Message)
Amen. And Amen.
…..the pecking is almost done. And now God is allowing me to close my eyes. May you be reminded of just how awesome God is and claim His truth for your own lives. He can’t wait to slather you in His beauty. Take Him up on His promises.
(PS: God slathered on another miracle today for me and a precious friend. Can’t wait to tell you about that one! Jesus is spoiling me something fierce! And I’m madly in love with Him for it!)