Well, after having lived as missionaries at the House of Prayer for the past 3.5 years, I feel like it is a never ending learning curve that I am on in the realm of finances. Back in the early days it was never a pretty thing, even when we did have 'enough' it never felt like enough because I had so many false standards. In my mind I knew what my life should look like as an American, and especially an American with babies. Oh the stress of those early days.
A brief snapshot into how the Lord broke me out of a lot of my false mindsets and showed me how faithful He was to provide.
My life looked something like this for over a year.
- Use up our bi-weekly check within 48 hrs of receiving it.
- Live for the next week and a half on next to nothing.
- Bills would be due soon after, but we wouldn't have the money.
- I would fret, freak out, cry and doubt the Lord's word.
- He would come thru at the last possible moment and pay our bills somehow (even now I don't remember exactly how the money showed up every month) Then I would praise the Lord with my whole heart.
- Then we would pay our bills, have nothing left for food for the next two weeks.
- I would fret, freak out, cry and doubt the Lord's word.
- He would provide food and money for household items like diapers and I would thank Him with a true sense of gratitude.
- We would be out of money again before the next paycheck, and we would always need something in that time (I learned to live without a lot of special things like my favorite kind of coffee creamer or pre-made snacks and crackers)
- Again I would fret, freak out, cry and doubt the Lord's word.
- Then He would provide for our needs at the last minute and I would thank Him with a true sense of His nearness.
Are you seeing the pattern? Freak out and cry, He would provide in the knick of time, and I would be thankful again, but I would only trust His goodness as long as there was a cushion of money in our bank account. The cycle was meant to break that false sense of security that was based on our bank account and it did over time.
It is hard to maintain a sense of panic after you have been on the same roller coaster 10-12 times. You know where the ups and downs are and where the big breath-taking drop is, and so you anticipated it and it doesn't make you afraid anymore. After a while more you actually learn to enjoy the major breath-taking drop because you know at the last minute the car you are riding in will pull up and you will be saved and soaring into the air again, and its just plain exciting to experience.
So now, 3.5 years later, I wish I could say that I am always enjoying the ride, but as I have grown accustom to certain roller coasters the Lord has graciously upgraded me to larger and more scary circumstances... I mean roller coasters.
The good news, I still understand the concept that it is a roller coaster and although the breath-taking drops on this new one are a bit more frightening, I also know that when I'm the most afraid the best policy is to hold on tight to my companion in the car with me. No, it's not Ken. It's Jesus.
I've learned He really is the best Person to hold tightly to when I feel like I'm falling too fast. When I cling to Him the hardest though and grip the sides of the car, He sometimes whispers, "its just like all the other roller coasters, so put your hands in the air and enjoy it, I'm right here."
I wish I could say I threw my hands in the air in wild abandonment in the midst of the biggest falls, but most of the time I still cry and cling, even though I know the Lord will save me at the last moment, because He always has.
Right now I am on the edge of one of those really big drops (the move to SC), and this is a new one that I have never been down before. It feels so high, and I'm not convinced that I can see the bottom of the drop, but my faith is stirred to trust that it is there. Almost daily the Lord has been reminding me of all the other roller coasters that I've learned to ride successfully which builds up my faith. There are still days though where all I can do is just cling to Him and wait for it to be over.
I know I won't die (financially, don't take this out of context) and I know the Lord won't let me fall and be injured, but it is still scary because there is still obvious potential for failure. It is daily staring me in the face. There are also those people around me that can see the danger of it and are always pointing it out or telling me not to ride that roller coaster.
The Lord has put me on this roller coaster though, and I know He is faithful to finish the work He has started in my life. No matter what it looks like, I know He is good and faithful and we have history together so I know I can trust Him more than I trust what I see. So many times He has saved us from financial ruin, and so many times He has provided for our needs. Might I add that He never does anything partially, He always goes all the way and provides extravagantly, throwing in a few wants as He provides for the needs.
Remember that coffee creamer that I really liked, well plenty of times He made a way for me to get some without the aid of spending the money for it. People would give me some, or it would be at the community food drop, or whatever. Another really cool thing. As I have walked this journey with Him, He has been slowly changing my appetites toward the things that I need, and I don't even drink that coffee creamer anymore. Silly, eh? Well its for real.
Hope this encourages some of you today. The Lord is the designer and builder of your specific financial roller coaster and He is totally trustworthy to keep you safe as you ride. I would rather ride on His ups and downs than those of my own making.
So throw your hands in the air and try to learn to enjoy the ride.......or you can just cling like me, that works too.