Over the past few weeks, I’ve really felt this strong impression of God’s goodness. Like everything I read, everywhere I look, every other thought I have all goes back to the goodness of God. It’s foundational. We have to know, in our very being, that God is good, and He is good to us. As our Father, He adores us, He desires our best, He loves us. I don’t really know any other way to say it, but I do know that everything around us tries to point to the opposite of His goodness. Even well meaning theology will try to point us away from God’s goodness and instead to His sovereignty, the mentality that says “God won’t give me more than I can handle,” or even to having your own Job experience. And personally, I feel very yucky about all of that and would rather just dwell on His goodness. We can’t go wrong when we just dwell there. So now that I’ve cleared that out of the air . . . I want to share my own up and down week, which was topped off with His goodness.
As one who has read a zillion missionary biographies, taken graduate level classes on missions, been on multiple mission trips, lived on the mission field, and one who teaches a class on missions, you’d think that I would have it down. And yet I don’t have it down AT ALL. We’re very much in crunch time as we aim to move to Scotland in June. Things are starting to feel a bit pressured, to say the least. I’m realizing that a.) I really hate dealing with passports and visas and b.) I am clueless as to how to fundraise. So let’s tackle the reality of point a.):
We mailed off the kids’ British passport applications before Thanksgiving. And lo and behold as the hot water heater died, we received notice that the kids’ paperwork had to be resubmitted because it wouldn’t scan. What on earth does that mean?! So I won’t go into the ins and outs of it, but it’s complicated. We had to redo paperwork that was costly and complicated and do the costly and complicated all over. It irritated me a bit. Then the hot water heater bit the dust completely, and pay checks were short, checks from our cleaning jobs were late, and let’s just say that we were living on remnants from the freezer, eggs, and pasta. By the time the week of Christmas arrived, and all the kids + myself had been sick from a stomach bug, I was feeling stressed, hungry, and a bit mental. Not a good combo. But I kept reminding myself of all the times when God has provided. Ezra and I even prayed together and asked God to pay for the hot water heater as we had tapped the savings and couldn’t put another dime on the credit card.
Meanwhile, we’re supposed to be saving every penny; we need to buy Ryder’s homeschooling curriculum which is on sale until January 31; we found out that we’ll basically have to pay a full ticket fare to take Zoya on the airplane with us; we still need to do more updates to get the house ready to sale . . . and if you dwell on any of that for too long, the result is stress.
Then blessings started to pour in. A dear friend of ours surprised us and bought each of us a Christmas present, and each family member loved what we got. I got a bonus at work, which allowed for us to purchase our family gifts. The cleaning checks arrived so that bills could be paid. So the stress was decreasing a hair. Then two days before Christmas, I had a young lady pay for our meals at Chipotle, and when I felt all the tears of thankfulness, relief, peace (that God knows exactly what we need) come, I knew that He had it. I needed to fully trust Him. So the Sunday after Christmas came, and I obediently put cash in the offering, even though we still needed grocery money. Then I went to share about our Chipotle blessing in front of the church and instead sobbed and totally humiliated myself.
Yet that moment of getting up to share about the kindness of someone else and exposing my emotions that had been pent up all week was the moment that God showed the most provision. Before I even made it back to my seat, a dear lady came to hug me, tell me that she loved me, and put money into my hand. By the time we left church, four other people had done the same. Almost enough money came in to pay for the purchase of the hot water heater itself. I could have cried the rest of the day. And truthfully, I probably needed to, because God was teaching me and showing me so much from all of that.
So what I’ve learned through this experience is that God sees and knows all. He loves when we say, “Hey Lord, we are flat out broke, we don’t know how to pay for this hot water heater, how to get any groceries, or how to buy anyone any Christmas gifts, but we know that You do. So we’ll wait on You.” He loves when we can share our hearts with the Body of believers who do love us and who are so readily willing to help. And as embarrassing as it was for me to cry over a gift of a Chipotle meal, which really meant so much to me, it exposed our need. How often do I look for the needs of others – with a heart to help – and yet don’t act because I can’t see any need? Yet there’s so much need everywhere. We just live in a society that doesn’t show it. And how does any of this relate to fundraising? It completely answered my dilemma of how to fundraise as it showed me the heart issue behind my struggle of fundraising.
And it also requires me to humble myself more and be very honest. As Mark and I both work two jobs and as I’ve struggled with why we have to work so hard while others don’t, I’ve realized that I’ve carried a lot of pride about how self sufficient we are. I’ve been proud that we’ve slowly chipped away at our debt; that we’ve had enough to pay the bills. Yet in my pride, I’ve also envied those who have more than enough; those who don’t live paycheck to paycheck. I’ve resented those who have never been hungry because they’ve always had enough grocery money. Those who can go out and get a new computer, new iphone, new clothes, and on it goes. Even though I don’t want any of those things, I’ve envied that they can do that. And I’ve been quite stupid and foolish and I’ve repented of all of that. I know that God has blessed us with so much. My kids have not been hungry at any point in their lives. They are always clothed, and we’ve been given so much of their clothing. They never lack, and Mark and I have always had plenty of work. Yet it’s by God’s grace that those things have been there; either one of us could have lost our jobs at any point. God’s grace has kept us; even in my foolishness and pride. And as I’ve wrestled with not wanting to fundraise, not wanting to make our needs known, not wanting to ask for help, I’ve felt convicted that my attitude has not been one of faith. Fundraising to allow for doing a ministry that you know God is calling you to should be Spirit-led, Spirit-dependent, and done out of faith and humility. Hesitantly or stubbornly refusing to make our needs known is just more foolishness. We’re dependent on God our Father, and if He leads others to give to our ministry in Scotland, then Lord bless them for their obedience. My jobs is to just put the need out there, trust the Lord, and be a good and faithful steward. My job is to look at Him only and walk forward. He will provide, and I can receive graciously and with the right heart.
So now that my heart is sorted out, it’s time to fundraise. And that will be quite the adventure itself, but He’s got it.
And I’ve hit about 8 topics all at once, but this is where I’m at. I hope that someone followed where I was headed with all of this . . . 🙂 I am excited about the New Year; I’m fully expectant and looking to God, my Provider, my Guide, my Enabler. I have a zillion emotions and no idea of where this new year will take us, but I know we’ve said yes to God. We’re just headed where He’s leading, and as long as we keep humble, keep saying yes, and keep in alignment, He will work it all out. And as always, I can’t leave without saying that HE IS GOOD!!! All the time.