I’m convinced that God does things for far bigger reasons than we may ever know. The other night, I couldn’t sleep so I was just going through every thought in my head, and I thought back to the prayer that I prayed about a month before I met Mark. I had given up on dating, decided that I’d tried every type of guy, done every method of dating, and was completely unsuccessful. So it was up to God to bring the right guy. I asked the Lord that if there was one guy out there who suited me perfectly, then could He please bring him to me, even if it was from another country or the ends of the world. 🙂 I really, truly believe that my prayer opened the door for Mark to come. But more than that is the fact that Mark really does suit me.
I always thought I’d marry a guy who grew up in church like I did, but instead, I married a guy who grew up in the Catholic church and walked away from it. And even this fact suits me. Mark is very against the train of thought that says that you have to earn your way to heaven, work your way to God, try to get into His good graces. My husband fully knows and dwells in the fact that Jesus did it all for us, so we simply receive. I, on the other hand, being a first born perfectionist who grew up in the glass house of being a pastor’s kid, have struggled to grasp the fact that I don’t have to earn my way. God loves me the same – whether I trip and fall or whether I obey Him perfectly. And more than that, He simply wants to be in relationship with me. In that relationship comes the obedience, the changed thinking, the right behavior. It does not come in my trying harder (in my flesh), working more (from my own strength), or praying harder. It comes in my resting and walking and being with Him. This is truly my lifelong lesson, my daily progression in my walk with God.
And lately, I’ve realized that this realization of resting in Him also applies to the area of our finances. I could easily worry all day long, every day about our finances. I can budget, budget, budget, pinch, pinch, pinch, and stretch, stretch, stretch our pennies every day (which I do), and yet we still have days of falling short. And I keep telling myself that we’re not good enough stewards of our money. I even said this to my sister the other day, and she goes Mic, for real? How could you guys be better stewards? I had no answer. She then said some things that were hard for an older (and I’d like to think wiser – ha!) sister to hear. She was right though. I can work myself to death, Mark does work himself to exhaustion, and we can pinch so much that we have and do nothing extra, and still come out short. So when do I just give it all over to God? When do I say Lord, we are working hard, we are good stewards, we tithe, we give extra, we give to missions, and we do not hold tightly to our money, yet we’re struggling still, so please help. Please be our Provider! It’s taken me this year to come to that.
And in all actuality, God is taking me even further than that. A few months back, I realized that I was looking to our savings account as our provider. I got convicted about hoarding and about always thinking too far ahead. Yes, it’s wise to have savings, and it’s wise to make sure that your family will be clothed for the winter. But it is not wisdom to look to your savings (your strength) as your provider. And funnily enough, we had a series of events that took a huge chunk out of our savings. Yet the Lord, in His wisdom and grace, warned me and prepared me. So I don’t look at our savings anymore, and I’m day by day starting to look at Him more than I look at our bank account, our work, or our budget. I’m catching myself when I worry, and I’m reminding myself that God clothes the lillies of the field. He will clothe my children. He will prepare a table for us. He has never let us starve, and He won’t start now. But even more than that, He wishes to fulfill the desire of my heart. And my heart is not for wealth or things. My heart is to be in a place where I can serve Him with my time; He knows that. He knows that my husband has gifts that need to be used yet aren’t being used. He will make room for our gifts.
So I’m letting go of worry, of being obsessed with budgeting, of working so hard that I never enjoy life, never have time for Him. The year 2011 will be a year of enjoyment for me. I’m claiming that and predicting it. 🙂