I can remember it like yesterday. My husband had been let go from his job due to restructuring, I was just starting a master’s program while working full-time in ministry, my kids were barely teens and we were struggling to make ends meet. The disappointment of saying no to drum lessons, the checking of the bank account and putting a few groceries back on the shelf, the hurt in my daughter’s face as I said no to a play date because I didn’t have the gas to get her there and still get to work the next day were very real. The reality of humbly borrowing money to make the mortgage, trying to make the simple, inexpensive gifts seem more than they were.
Financial change is hard. It’s amazing how many things in our world depend on money. As I sat in my chair one August morning, I remember feeling overwhelmed. We had gone from living comfortably to just keeping our heads above water in a matter of months. I watched other families take their kids school shopping without thought, while I had to figure out how to explain that this year we would be shopping at the thrift store and making the shoes last a bit longer. Don’t get me wrong, thrift store shopping can be fun, unless it’s the only place you can shop…that changes everything.
On that morning, God brought me to Matthew 6.
“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.
Today’s trouble is enough for today.
The questions were so real – what will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These were my actual worries. How would I find the money for groceries that week? My kids were growing and needed new shoes, where would the money come from? God whispered to me through those verses, I know your needs. I’ve got you and your family. Seek me, let me show you how I can care for you. The tears flowed as I let the truth of Jesus’ words sink into my heart. It was a new level of trust for me in my walk with God.
I’d love to say my husband got a job the next day, but he didn’t. He felt God calling him to start his own business which meant many more months of schooling and training before he would begin to make an income. Yet, we sought to remain faithful. It wasn’t easy but I can tell you God knew our needs. Brand new boots in just my kids’ sizes showed up at my door, a check in the exact amount I needed to pay for a school bill came in the mail from a source we didn’t expect, a loan was forgiven, and I could go on and on.
I learned a lot through those years of pinching pennies and sacrifice. Humility, understanding, budgeting, and how to take joy in small things. Change brings new perspectives, and this was no exception. I understand how easy it is to find yourself homeless, I know the feeling of returning bottles for groceries and standing in line at the food truck, asking for help to pay for a prescription. May I never forget what that feels like as I walk with families that are walking that journey today.
A few months ago, my now grown son and I had an interesting conversation in the kitchen. Somehow the conversation came around to when he was younger and I said, “I’m sorry we weren’t able to give you more opportunities during those years.” I was feeling shame over all the things that we couldn’t give him. He said this, “Mom, don’t feel that way. You taught me that God provides.” Wow, who knew? I sure didn’t. It was a shame and hurt I had carried a long time and God reminded me in that moment that shame isn’t how he works – that was all me. That simple kitchen chat healed a long time hurt that I carried even though my son didn’t. Oh, how God provides!
Financial change can really challenge our trust in God’s provision. Maybe you’ve found yourself feeling forced to put your faith where your pocketbook is, and that’s often a hard place to give up control. Yet, I encourage you to hold onto Matthew 6. Jesus meant it when he said, the Father knows all you need. Seek him first and he will give it to you.
God is faithful. He hears you. You are loved.
If you are in a time of financial change, are you remaining faithful in your tithing? What kind of attitude do you bring to your day as you learn to live with less?
We tend to lean out rather than in when life gets hard. I’ve watched people blame God or withhold from God during seasons of hardship and I’ve wanted to do the same. How about you? Do you find it easier to blame God then trust him? If you’re in a season of struggle, with whatever issue it is that you face, are you staying in the Word?
One of the most important things I learned from that season, is the power of God’s Word to speak into our lives and I found His Word to be trustworthy and true. He has promises for you as well. Lean in, ask, see what God will do.