>Please hear my heart as you read this post and know that this is a work God has done in my heart and my life. This is all for His glory, to His glory, because of His glory…I am just a clay pot, there are runs in my paint, I droop at the sides, but I am on the Potter’s wheel, and when I let Him do the molding, and let Him add and take away water, I turn into something beautiful in the Creator’s hands….too often though, I seem to be a clay pot with the notion that I can form myself…
Stacy and I started dating in 2002, in November. By February of 2003 we had moved to Oklahoma, and were attending Journey Church. We joined a premarital small group, lead by Brad Baker, and were attending church regularly. I’m not sure I even know why we ended up talking about tithing, heck I don’t even remember the conversation. I do remember we decided to be intentional about tithing the first 10% of our income, all sources, and it became a priority.
As two kids, out on our own, living together unmarried, I think back and think we probably didn’t have much to give. I was waiting tables, Stacy laid tile a couple times a month. We certainly weren’t walking perfect Christian lives (I did say we lived together, unmarried, didn’t I?), but we had decided to honor God with our money. I saw God do a miracle then, that got our insurance paid, and literally involved money appearing in thin air. I was there, it happened, I swear. I checked the INSURANCE envelope three times. THREE times. We didn’t have enough for the insurance….then Stacy said I should check again, and as pissed as I was, I did. We were $18 short…and there was a $20 in there…in my book that was $2 for a 10% tithe…and the $18…and I knew God put that money there. I kept my envelopes very secure, and only Stacy & I knew we didn’t have that money.
I cried. A lot. God paid my insurance, and I really wasn’t sure He even noticed us. I was sure then….for a minute.
We moved back to Colorado in February of 2004, and as such weren’t plugged into a church home. We began mailing our tithe to K-love Radio, since that was about the most Christian thing in our life. We got married in June, and that four months out of church was taking its toll on us. We were still sending our tithe to K-Love, but it was getting harder to be more intentional about it.
As a newly married couple, we decided to move back to Oklahoma. We had friends in Colorado that we needed to get away from, and we wanted to get plugged back into church. We continued being intentional about tithing, and we attended small group, and I was volunteering in the children’s ministry at Journey Church.
Stacy got blessed with a phenomenally great job, and I got to attend City College and get my Medical Coding certificate. Our life continued to move forward as we grew in love, and in faith. We also took on some credit card debt – but let me make certain that you know it was not out of need, it was just instant gratification at its best. Our credit card never kept us off the street, it just kept gadgets at hand…unnecessary, expensive gadgets.
I finished up school summer of 2005, and right about the time of our first anniversary we found out we were expecting our first kidlet! What a joy that was, and I got to start staying home right away. So much for all that education and those loans….but we were going to be parents, and I was on top of the world.
Fast forward through a second pregnancy, and we have two kids, and life goes horribly wrong. Stacy and I get a divorce. For the first time since 2002, I had my “own” finances. I got a job. My kids went to daycare. And I knew I must continue tithing. I had to trust God to get my through. There was some time in there that I didn’t think I’d be receiving child support – but Stacy always came through with it. I don’t think he had a choice. I mean, I’m sure with free will and all that he did…but I think God made sure it was there.
I got promoted, I started making more money at work, I got my own apartment. Still forward progress. Still tithing.
My point is, God has ALWAYS made sure our bills were covered. This is the most uncertain time I’ve ever faced, financially speaking. Not to mention I almost died…. but God took me to the verses in Malachi where He promises His blessing, and promises to rebuke the devourer, and those promises are to me. I have been obedient.
This doesn’t mean I won’t waiver again, and I’ll have my doubts and my fears, because I am still human, and I’m not very good at trusting. However, honoring God with my money will still be my priority, and when I’m writing about the answers to this financial crisis, you will get to see with me just how faithful our God really is.
And if you think tithing seems crazy, know that it works. It is an act of worship, where we get to lay down our money before God and make Him more important then everything else in this world…and for those of you that know how I am about paying my bills, and my money, and never being without it, and all the careful planning and yes, even stress, I put into my bills, it is also one of the areas that God continually grows me, in faith, in trust, and in knowing Him, and knowing His desire to clothe, feed, and protect me.
And He does so much more! I’ve never picked between groceries and electricity….or electricity and a car payment….or a car payment and the credit card bill. I believe God is calling me to use the 90% better, and wiser, and to get rid of the debt, but that is another post. This post is dedicated to saying, He makes sure those bills are paid too…and I’m scared right now, but I’m holding my bible in my lap, reading in Malachi 3:7-15, and I’m going to stand on my solid Rock and Redeemer and trust Him again this month….even when mathematically it doesn’t make sense….