Sunday, March 19, 2017

Money



Post Disclaimer: I don’t usually write about money. Actually, I’ve never written about anything financial. I understand that money is a private subject for most people, as it is for me. God though, has done so much for us this year that I really felt the need to write about it...yes, to write about money.

To give you a little background…Six years ago, I resigned from teaching and felt called to go into a consulting position so I could be home with my son. I remember thinking,

“Okay Lord, I am taking a huge leap of faith financially because I have NO IDEA how much money I am going to make.”

He always took care of us by providing plenty of clients for me. In fact, I really only had to work 3-4 days each month and I could be home with Wes the rest of the time. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank Him for that time.

Six years later, last summer, my son was headed to kindergarten, so I began praying about teaching again. I applied and interviewed at a private Christian school and when they offered the job, I felt God’s hand move me forward. I was really, very, nervous about taking it though, and I distinctly remember thinking,

“Well, here we go again – another giant leap of faith…but this time it’s because I DO KNOW EXACTLY how much money I’ll be bringing home each month and I have no idea how I am going to make it on such a small income.”

God never disappoints. It brings a huge smile on my face to share these tangible ways God has undoubtedly given to us this year. Some of these could be defined as needs, but others could be defined as God being just plain generous. Wes and I have relished both.  

My Building: All around our school, God’s various names are written on outside pillars. My classroom is located in a part of the building so that I come in the front office doors, while most teachers come through the side doors of the building. As I walk through these doors each morning and afternoon, the outside pillar that I walk by is written, “Jehovah Jireh, The Lord Provides”. That message is what I read twice a day, every day, coming in and out of my building…certainly not a coincidence.

Gap Grant (School Scholarship): There are some very generous families at our private school. They give to a fund called the “Gap Grant” and this money is used for families who might need a little extra help with tuition. I applied for this grant before school began, but was worried if they would give anything to me since I was already receiving some money off of his tuition as a teacher. I applied anyway. I knew I needed about $2000.00 more in order to shave off tuition to an amount that was financially doable for me. If I didn't pay it off before the summer ended, money would come out of my paycheck each month. Several weeks later, I received an email that said, “You have received the following amount of money in order to help towards Wesley’s tuition - $2000.00.” I was able to pay his tuition all off the summer before he began school, so that each month, I would bring home a full paycheck.

The random check in the mail: Wes has a dog, “Spy”. When Spy turned one, he needed a heartworm test, which, come to find out, would cost us $75.00 We did not have the extra $75.00 that month. I had to leave the vet that day without having the test done. They wouldn’t give us our monthly heartworm and flea pills without first having this test done though, so I knew I couldn’t put it off for long. I was praying about what to do. Should we get rid of the dog? Is this an “extra” thing that we need to trim away? I didn’t know. Wes loves that dog so much, but I was preparing myself to have the “We can’t afford Spy anymore…” talk with Wesley. It would be awful, but I knew it was a possibility. I continued to pray. The next day, I got home from work, checked the mail and inside was what looked like a check. I took it inside, set the rest of the mail aside and opened it first. Yes, there it was, a reimbursement check from an energy company that I had used 7 years ago in an apartment before I had Wes. Apparently, I had a credit with them and they were just now sending me my reimbursement check, 7 years later. God even gave us a little extra… It was for $85.00.

Groceries: Back in September, my parents sent me a card in the mail with five grocery gift cards inside. They were very generous with their help and I put them up on the kitchen counter and would use them each time I went to the grocery story. Somehow, supernaturally, those cards lasted us from September all the way through February. Not sure how to explain that, but it happened. 

Random Tickets: Wes and I have gotten to know our neighbors really well. Mr. and Mrs. Monroe have been married for 60 years and are godly people. They love each other and they love the Lord. This past Christmas, Mrs. Monroe came to me and said, “Hey guess what? I have tickets to Six Flags in the Park. Would you and Wes like to go?” “YES! We would love that! Thank you so much!” Those tickets were $60.00 a piece. We had a date with another family and we all spent an evening riding rides, watching shows, and seeing all the great holiday lights…for free.

The recall: The steering column in my car has been gradually getting worse with a rattle inside. I had not taken it in because I was afraid of how much it would cost to get it fixed. After some pressing from my mom, I called the Hyundai dealership and told them what was going on. They replied, “Good news! We just had a recall on that part for Sonatas last week. Is yours a Sonata?” “Why yes, it is.” “Great! Just bring it in, we will replace it with a new one, for free.”  

The new tire:  While the steering column was being replaced, the dealership called and said I had a hole in one of my tires and it needed to be patched. I took it in to Discount Tire and let them take a look. The man came up to the front and said, “Well, we can’t patch it. It needs to be replaced.” I could feel the worry begin to rise up from my stomach. “Okay,” I hesitated. “How much will a new tire be?” “Let’s look it up. I see that you bought this tire here. It is actually still under warranty, so it will be free. Would you like for us to put on your new tire now?” “Yes, please.”

My new clothes: I am five feet tall and weigh 100 pounds. Everything I’ve ever purchased, I’ve had to get altered. Pants, shirts, dresses, doesn’t matter, it gets altered. I’ve gotten to know my sweet tailor over the last several years and she knows us well too. Before teaching at Covenant, I loved shopping at Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, J Crew, and The Limited.  I haven’t shopped at all this year since re-budgeting my new income. This hasn’t bothered me too much, but occasionally I do get the shopping itch. God continues to chisel away at me.  I purchased some clothes with a Christmas gift card and had just taken them in for my tailor to alter. As I was leaving, she said, “Hey, I have some clothes from my daughter. She is about your size. Would you like to see them?” “Sure, I said.” She has very broken English so I wasn’t sure if she was asking me to buy them or just see them? It was a bit confusing. She brought out a big stack of clothes. She said, “I want to give these to you.” “I’m sorry, what?” “Yes. My daughter doesn’t want them anymore. I want to give them to you.” As I began to look through these clothes, I could not believe it. They looked brand new!  I kept thinking, these look like clothes I would have literally picked off the shelf myself. This is so crazy! I began to check the tags… Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and The Loft. Really? Unbelievable. God just handed me new clothes from my favorite stores…for free.

Wesley’s clothes:  Wes has been passed down so many uniforms from other families, his closet barely has space to hang anything else. He’s been given so many play clothes that his drawers will barely shut. I am currently making the least amount of money I have ever made and simultaneously, Wes’s closet and his chest of drawers are the fullest they have ever been.

We are learning to never doubt His loyalty in providing for our needs and even some of our wants. He is Jehovah Jireh. 


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