God's provision is sometimes so surprising and humbling! Last week, I was crying out to God, feeling like He had forgotten me. But, wait...wait...wait, I'm getting a head of myself. Let me start over....
Ok. So, I've written a lot about my weight loss struggles, and I've also shared about my faith. But, I'm just not sure if I have shared enough about how much God has been growing my faith. I can't help but think about a year ago, how frozen with fear I was. How disobedient to my precious Lord I was. How, "self-sufficient" I thought I was. Y'all, my life has changed. God is redeeming me. Step by step, choice by choice, He is redeeming me.
One of the ways He has been asking me to be obedient is in my finances. Now, whether we like it or not, one of the great spiritual disciplines God asks us to commit to is to tithe. When David and I were first married, we were good little tithers. We were committed to giving whenever we could. I look back and I'm amazed at the faith we used to have to give rather large amounts, when the income we had coming in was a rather smallish amount. And somehow, as we've grown "older and wiser" giving became harder and harder. Simply put, we began seeking our will, buying what we wanted, when we wanted, by whatever means was necessary (including racking up a sizable credit card debt). I am ashamed at how we've lived our financial life the last two years especially.
The Bible is very clear when we are not giving to God, and when we are pursuing our own interests, and earthly treasures that we are robbing God. I was robbing God. And, as I've realized that awful truth, I just began wanting to give everything back to God that I could. I felt so sorry. (Even now, Lord, I hope you know how badly I feel, and how sorry I still am.) But, I can not control what I've done in the last two years. I CAN control what I do now. And I'm so thankful for God's forgiveness and His redemption! And for the last four months, I have been trying very hard to give to God what is His, and to even take steps to give to other people whenever I could, whether it's my time, a meal I have cooked, or an encouraging Word.
Well, as April came, things began to get really tight. I was asking God if maybe He had forgotten the promises to provide for the things we needed. I was wondering if He knew how much of a sacrifice tithing was at this point in my life (yeah, as if God doesn't know about sacrifice...). What's worse was that with my 3rd shift weekend job, I would come home Sunday morning, barely awake, get my self prettied up from church, and accidentally leave my money that I sat aside for tithe tucked in my wallet. It was so tempting to spend that money on our families necessities or to buy a new shirt to fit my shrinking body. But, I left that money safely tucked where it needed to be until the next week. And then, I did the same exact thing a second week in a row. Last week I determined that NO MATTER WHAT I was not going to forget that money! I was going to give to God what was His and I wasn't looking back...
Until I counted the money. It was a little more than I had anticipated. I still think maybe an extra bill got stuck in there somehow, because I know how much I make, and that did not add up to 10% of what I had made the the last three weeks. But, I figured if that money had ended up in my tithing wallet, safely tucked away, well, I guess it belonged to God. But, as I thought about the amount I realized it was the remaining amount that I needed to pay for my summer bootcamp that I so badly wanted (and needed) to join.
I went back and forth in my mind...but I knew in my heart, I just needed to suck it up and somehow I would pick up some extra hours to pay for bootcamp. I had enough of robbing God and wasn't about to start again. Well, after church that day, David started talking about how our water bill would have to be paid out of my paycheck, along with a couple "small" medical bills. Well, there went that plan to pay for bootcamp.
So, anyways, enough lamenting over those crazy money troubles. I figured bootcamp may have to wait a month longer than I had anticipated. I was sad, but knew that was the reality of our life right now. UNTIL...I walked into Bible study. My dear sweet friend Barb handed me an envelope. It had a sweet note tucked in there that really encouraged me AND it had the exact amount of money I needed for bootcamp...also the same exact amount of money I had tithed last weekend. HOW AMAZING!!! COINCIDENCE?!? NO WAY!!!
I just do not know how people can not believe that God exists! His provision! His mercy! His forgiveness! The friends He gives us! I hugged her so hard, and I still feel bad about hugging her because I had just worked out so hard, and I'm sure I was a bit "ripe!" But, how grateful I am that she followed God's leading! And how excited I am to be encouraged to listen to God's leading for how I can give too! It's just so amazing! I'm so encouraged! I feel like God is telling me I just need to keep being faithful..whether it's in giving, or losing weight, or just daily disciplines of my faith.
So, what do I hope you get from reading this? First, if you are not a Christian, please know that God sacrificed everything for you! Jesus died on a cross to pay for my sins and yours. If you want to know more about that, please email me at email@example.com. I LOVE telling people about how precious they are to the God of this universe. Secondly, if you have already begun a faith journey with God, and haven't committed to the discipline of tithing, can I encourage you to start? It's awesome to surrender "our" possessions to God! What a way to live out your faith! And maybe you are already doing that...well, just listen to God, and be faithful to His calling. I have so much growing to do in this area, but let me tell you, I'm loving what I am seeing as I grow closer to Christ through obedience.
And, as for bootcamp...I plan to start May 14th. Between a "scholarship" from my sweet cousin Marcey and Barb's gift, bootcamp is not the financial strain I thought it would be, and I can focus on "MELTING AWAY!" I'm sure I will be giving many updates about progress, as I anticipate it being a very lucrative time for weightloss and obedience as well!
As always, thanks for reading!