Here is Part 2 of our Matthew 6 Dare diary from September. If you haven’t read either of the first two entries, we suggest you go to them first.
Part 3 will be published tomorrow!
August 28, 2012
So we already blew the grocery budget WAY out of the water. But we kind of had to. August was a tight month financially and we had stretched out as far as we could. I put the Canadian pay check of $1218 in the bank. We should be getting the US one of about $700 in a few days. Yikes. Those numbers are even smaller than I expected. OK. So $1900 for the month of September, and we had to buy $100 of groceries even before September started. We’ll have to get a tank of gas in the van ($60) tomorrow and some school supplies for the kids. And in order to try and fight all the negative that I am already feeling, I will now state “I guess the first miracle is coming soon!”
Seriously though, I was reading in one of the MTS books today (The Master Plan of Evangelism) how Jesus sent the disciples out two by two. Typically we teach a lot about the “Person of Peace” part of Jesus’ instructions. Go into a town, find the first person who accepts you and stay with them. This is the person of peace and most likely the person through whom the Gospel will spread.
But the writer also brought up another part of that commission. The disciples were instructed to take nothing much more than the clothes on their back and what they needed for the first day. And as they were obedient to God they would be provided for. The book wanted to make it clear that as we set out to obey Jesus, we would always have enough. That struck me good today. A reassurance that I don’t need that savings account or even enough money for food and gas for the entire month. I need to focus on obeying the command I received to come here. God will provide.
It was also difficult for me last night when Michelle had me read the blog of a friend whose son has been fighting a bad cancer for a few years. They thought the cancer was gone, then it came back and it looked like their son’s time was up. The post was about how they were in their last minutes with him and then God did a MAJOR miracle in surgery and the boy is cancer free! I hated reading through that post because it looked like it was going to end with his death, and then there was life.
And here’s me worrying about money. My kids are healthy. I’m not facing a fear like the loss of Chelsey, Jared or Katria. It hurts even thinking about it now.
Oh God. Forgive me for putting so much value behind something so meaningless.
August 31, 2012
And it begins. The final numbers are in. We have $1650 in our bank account for September and with rent ($1431), electricity ($190) and health insurance ($240), we already need a couple hundred dollars to avoid bouncing automatic payments. Michelle and I are not sure how to approach this in prayer. Do we stay silent and only speak to God about it? Logic and faith (they usually don’t work together!) would state that if we truly trust God to provide then we can stand firm and let Him do the work. Of course, there is also the option of engaging our prayer warriors to pray for provision. But I don’t want to run the risk that our “asking for prayer” will be taken as “asking for money” and then people give out of guilt rather than a direction from God. My concern is that then it can be conceived as me creating the miracle of provision rather than God alone making it happen. I want this all to be of God.
I’m glad for Michelle. She is standing by me in this, and she has the right as my wife to push me to provide for the family. She wanted us to get the need out to the prayer chain now but agreed to wait until Sunday afternoon. I just know what our parents and family will do when they hear about the need. It will be an automatic “we have to take care of them”. God forgive me if I am being prideful in this. But please also show me how wanting only You to be glorified in this can be seated in my own pride. Is it that my own desire to look “holy” is making me think that I should be quiet and “let” You do it? Do I have a nature that in some way wants to be hurt bad in the next month so that I can essentially guilt people into finally giving to us? Ugh, I hope not.
September 1, 2012
I woke up this morning feeling pretty optimistic. Which is kind of new for me! I had confidence in His ability to provide the rent money we need by tomorrow.
Michelle and I were getting ready to take the kids to the YMCA to go swimming. It’s something we’ve been doing the past few Saturdays. As we were getting ready I remarked about my optimism and that I was thinking of opening the front door of the apartment expecting to see the answer to our need right there! My beautiful wife replied, “what I bet it will be is a puppy.”
I thought, “huh?”
Then she elaborated, “a puppy with a note on it that says ‘here is a free puppy for you. Here is also all the money you will need to pay the pet deposit and any other expenses for its lifetime. ‘ And there will be $10 000 dollars attached.”
“OK” I said, “I can handle that.”
So I went to the door and looked outside. The three younger girls sitting on the sidewalk outside gave me a strange look as I quickly looked down (for our new puppy) and then closed the door. I related the incident to Michelle and she quickly replied,
“They’re probably playing with our puppy! They’d better leave the money…”
Turns out the girls had found a dead lizard and were dissecting it on the sidewalk. I’m not quite sure how to take that when we were “expecting” a puppy with 10 G’s attached.
After that we left for the “Y” in Richmond. We got there and remarked on how empty the parking lot was. And it was closed for repairs. Crap. So we drove for another 20 minutes to a different one we’d never been to. When we got there we quickly noticed that the pool was mostly used for some swimming lessons and the only spot open was the VERY shallow area. I also forgot our lock for the lockers in the van and there were a few other frustrating parts. It was apparent how hard the devil was trying to steal any type of joy or optimism we had. I was able to get out of the funk these events caused but the kids turned up the annoying on the way home and while we were trying to get lunch ready.
We must be doing something right here. Why would the devil try to hit us like this if we weren’t causing a stir? I wish it would be a little easier to get through the wait for the rent money provision, but as I repeatedly tell the kids “if it’s easy, it’s probably not worth doing.”
Sometimes I hate it when I’m right.